I did not know what heartbreak was, nor did I understand its power. A heart that has endured so much pain and sorrow that I oftentimes find myself utterly surprised that it has not physically crumbled to pieces by now. The girl who knew nothing about the consequences of giving her heart to someone. Someone who envisioned herself as an open book for that person because, well, they were a page of her story too.
Sign up for the Thought Catalog Weekly and get the best stories from the week to your inbox every Friday. You may unsubscribe at any time. By subscribing, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Statement. By Courtney Ciandella Updated February 16, Turn your dreams into a reality. Read more articles from Courtney on Thought Catalog. Breaking Up Heartbreak. More From Thought Catalog. If only the characters had more realistic names lol.
Apr 21, Violetta Vane rated it really liked it Shelves: mm , multicultural-or-interracial , mf. I used to see E. Lynn Harris books in the African-American section of local bookstores, decades ago, and have leafed through several. I was always captivated by the chatty language and frank discussions of sexuality but never actually bought one. He's something of a local legend, having gone from selling books out of the trunk of his car because publishers were scared of stories about black bisexual men to finding his audience and becoming a NY Times bestseller.
When he died a few years ago t I used to see E.
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When he died a few years ago too young sadly and I read the eulogies I remember being very impressed at his achievements. So I decided to remedy my lack of E. Not at all. It's centered around the relationship between a bisexual man and a straight woman, and it's a romance-in-reverse: it starts off with a happy couple and ends with them… not so happy. I don't consider that a spoiler, by the way, since the book opens with a wedding being called off.
All these characters are well-off ex-sports-stars and entertainers, and the whole Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous vibe turned me off in the beginning, especially with the long interior decorating lists I had to suffer through. But I still got hooked. Our two leads, Basil and Yancey, are not nice people. I kept wanting to hate on them for being such soap-style villains, and then a little character detail would pop up to humanize them, and I'd feel sorry for them.
Each has an acquaintance who's just a little bit worse—Basil's homophobia-spewing partner Nico, Yancey's raging narcissist of a mother—and also one who's a little bit better. Basil, for example, meets someone who's reconciled his sexuality with his religion and morality, and is determined to live his life with total integrity. And Yancey has her roommate Windsor. The part where she tells Windsor to lose weight if she wants to be a bridesmaid, and Windsor calmly replies, "No thanks, I'm happy with my body," was awesome.
Even with the telegraphed conclusion, the plot kept up a fantastic amount of suspense. And the voice, of course, is charming. The book reads like someone sitting next to you gossiping in your ear. The intimacy and conversational tone allowed me to excuse a lot of defects in the writing—the interior decorating lists, the dated references to celebrity hairstyles—because they're so in line with how someone would actually speak. Although the storyline is, yes, a bit frivolous and a lot melodramatic, there's also enough sense of humor that it's not pretentious, and the book does have some pretty serious things to say about sexuality and gender roles.
There's not any preaching by the author—some characters do the preaching, sure, but it's in their natural voice. A compassionate but unflattering light is cast on gender expectations and sexuality for African-Americans. Strengths and weaknesses. Misogyny, homophobia.
Unfortunately, this kind of ethnic literature—it's a problematic phrase, but I'm using it to reflect that E. Lynn Harris was a black man writing pretty much all-black characters and not particularly marketing his books towards a white audience—is stereotypically supposed to only refer to its own ethnicity and not be "universal".
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Sorry for side rant. OK, back to the book. The last refreshing thing is that E. Lynn Harris writes about good bisexuals, bad bisexuals, and everyone in between. There's a warning to "lock up your sons and daughters" at one point! A lot of portrayals of bisexuality in fiction suffer from the "sneaky bisexual" stereotype: either they're lying liars who lie—or, to escape the stereotype, they're utterly and unrealistically saintly.
It's very enjoyable to see a more three-dimensional and fictionally entertaining portrayal. Basil is pretty bad. Will he turn himself around? I don't know. I think I'll have to follow up with some more E. Lynn Harris books to find out… View all 4 comments. Nov 28, Tina rated it liked it Shelves: fiction-general. Lynn Harris's preceding books where Basil makes an appearance, that I would actually like this character. I've always kinda despised Basil.
But in this book, I couldn't help but like him. And I think he is basically a very weak person. But, bless his heart, he is trying in this book. He believes he is in love with Yancey so he works at it and he really does try to make it all work. So I give him a lot of credit.
Unfortunately, Basil really is the only major character who is in this book Although a very minor character, Windsor, is also very admirable. I disliked Yancey a lot.
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I applaud Mr. Harris for creating such a seriously flawed character who, unfortunately, rings true. Yancey is supremely selfish and self-absorbed. She is jealous, manipulative, materialistic and completely dishonest. Yes, the book addresses why Yancey is such a messed up person, but in my opinion, the little glimpses of humanity we see in Yancey are a little too little to late. And don't get me started on her mother Altho there are some real unsympathetic characters in this book, it is a page turner!
It is a very entertaining and fun read. Basil is the bisexual ex athlete who is currently in denial about who he is and why. His fiancee Yancee is a selfish, self centered, conniving woman being led by a mother who is only capable of teaching her how to come up in the world.
View 1 comment. Apr 10, Valerie added it. John "Basil" Henderson, a former football player who has started a successful sports agency with a friend, is a gorgeous, arrogant, bitter, woman-hating, homophobic, African American bisexual who is used to people staring at him. Instead of attending her year high school reunion, Yancey sent signed photos of herself and press packets. Basil feels that his love has rescued him from the shallow life of a player, and he allows himself to believe that she is a good person, and that when they marry, she'll settle down a little and provide him with children.
Yancey cares for Basil, too, but her career comes first. After that, sex and money. Babies aren't even on the list. Meanwhile, Basil, that pillar of integrity, listens in silence.
The deal is scotched when Zurich announces that he has been interviewed for an article on gay men in professional athletics. When Basil asks him why he is coming out, Zurich tells him about another young quarterback who tried to run from his sexuality by getting married. The day of the wedding, he shot himself. I had been there. But it had never gotten to the point where I wanted to kill myself. If I could have talked to Milo I would have told him, "Roll with it young brother There is a way to have your cake and ice cream, too.
Nov 26, Christa rated it liked it Shelves: african-american , fiction , series. I remembered reading this years ago. Harris had a way with making you face the reality of being bi-sexual. For many people, this is a very uncomfortable subject both personally and fictionally. However, Harris found a way to draw the naysayers into his grasp and get them to understand the plight of his character's sexual longings. I wouldn't go as far to say that Harris was poetic in his writing, but he had a way with creating situations that were shocking, yet readers kept wanting more.
Basil w I remembered reading this years ago. Basil was a dream for both men and women. A character that many people wanted to hate because of his indecisiveness about his sexuality from the previous novels. However, in this novel, Basil is broken, his dreams of having a normal life shattered.
I think this was a mistake. I didn't like Basil because he was arrogant, demeaning, and selfish. I didn't like him because he cheated, point blank, whether it was with a guy or a girl. Not because he was a gorgeous black man who just happened to be gay. I believe Harris decided to appeal to his African-American women readers who couldn't wrap their brains around a fine black man such as Basil desiring men over women. So, Harris made Basil the broken man to avenge this uproar from AA women who believed black men this fine couldn't possibly long for the back door!
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Although, I enjoyed his books, I think Harris made a mistake by rectifying the Basil problem many of his readers exclaimed against on a consistent basis by breaking the man down, bringing him to his lowest point, making him a martyr per se. The very reason why I didn't read the next book in the series. The breakdown of Basil was unnecessary and therefore to read the remainder of the series became that way as well. Jan 23, Trease rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wow - talk about skeletons in the closet!
This book was a clear illustration of just how deeply some people's backgrounds run and how unwilling people can be to face what's staring at them in the mirror. Unfortunately, there are far too many women out there like Ava and Yancey: selfish, cold, gold-digging and unfeeling. I do feel that Yancey could be "rehabilitated" if you will, because it appears she was very curious about the child she gave birth to. Ava, on the other hand, appears to be a los Wow - talk about skeletons in the closet!
Ava, on the other hand, appears to be a lost cause. Basil, unfortunately represents men of all races, although the stigma of being a gay Black man has plagued the Black community for ages. In the end, it appears that Basil was beginning to face the demons of his past and beginning to live his life again. From the epilogue, though, it seems that "rebirth" will undoubtedly contain LOTS of play things men and women!
Good read! May 16, Nikinnia Smith rated it really liked it Shelves: may-page-count-challenge , may-bookish-block-challenge. Basil Henderson is on the DL down low. Meaning he claims to be heterosexual while sleeping with men. He is very much bisexual, but does not want to admit it. He has a girlfriend, Yancy, that proposes to.
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Her mother finds out all of Basil's secrets, and wants Yancy to extort money from him. The book is very well written and gives a glimpse into the life of bisexual men who are not open about their sexuality. Aug 26, Daniel Severin rated it liked it. Not as good as Basketball Jones but still quite good. Looking forward to reading the sequel. Aug 25, Bronwyn Rykiert rated it liked it Shelves: audiobook , library-book , friends.
This book was a surprise, I have not read anything by this author before. I did not think at all that the main character, John 'Basil' Henderson would fly both ways depending. He ad decided to get married after all. I have to admit it was an interesting enough book, not somethin I would normally pick up. Jun 13, Lakecia Allison rated it it was amazing. Definitely a page turner!
I was just waiting to see how karma would whip Yancey's ass for being such a selfish, jealous, evil bitch! For what she did to Nicole, the negative energy boomeranged back on that ass! The more I learned about Basil, the sorrier I felt for him. Campbell and Cade is good for his spirit and soul. Their unconditional love has made him a better man. Though he omitted the truth of his past from Yancey, I truly believe he was in love with a woman incapable of returning true l Definitely a page turner!
Though he omitted the truth of his past from Yancey, I truly believe he was in love with a woman incapable of returning true love. Her deception will probably make the bad guy come back, but I think his sister will help him be that great guy again. She has managed to turn her daughter's life upside down with no care in the world. Now this made me feel sorry for Yancey Jun 22, Hannah rated it really liked it. Picked this up while scanning through an old library.
Not the kind of book I usually go for. Started very lightheartedly that I would have mistaken it for a comedy. This author has a way of painting characters that feel human. Something I haven't come across in a while. Yancey is a struggling diva, seeking validation from crowds and from people who never would love her. Basil is a women-hating bisexual sports enthusiast.
Never really fully empathized with LGBTs before nor Picked this up while scanning through an old library.
Never really fully empathized with LGBTs before nor with black people but this book put me directly in their shoes. Sep 14, Jayla rated it it was amazing. Love this book!!!! I basically read it in one sitting. Totally gonna read the sequel to this story. Apr 15, Michele rated it liked it Shelves: romance , self-identity , hollywood.
Had this on my shelf a number of years and finally read it. It was well-written though I'm not sure that the ending was satisfactory enough for me. A man and a woman are in love, or at least appear to be. But they're both keeping secrets from each other. Not sure how i managed to pick this up from the library.