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Mama Dearest Hardcover – September 22, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yancey Harrington Braxton returns in bestseller E. Lynn Harris’s (A Love of My Own) latest novel (the author died in July but happily for fans this is not his last book) for another sex and betrayal–filled romp. Diva Yancey, fast fading into Z-list territory, is nearly broke and acting in a traveling production of Dreamgirls, reprising her role in the original theater production with a bunch of hacks. Then she meets and is immediately impressed by wealthy S. Marcus Pinkston, who wants to produce a reality TV show he claims will rejuvenate her career. Simultaneously, Yancey’s mother, Ava, is released from prison with a devious plan for revenge. And when Ava’s on the scene, it means deception, trickery and the revelation of Yancey’s innermost secrets. Throw in some ex-lovers along with Madison, the daughter Yancy gave up years ago who’s now back on the scene as her mother’s major show biz competitor, and ride the wave of high drama to Yancey’s redemption and ultimate happiness. Nobody ever said entertainment had to be plausible.
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About the Author

E. Lynn Harris, a #1 national and New York Times bestselling author, wrote twelve acclaimed novels including Basketball Jones, Just Too Good to Be True, and I Say a Little Prayer. There are more than four million copies of his novels in print. He died in 2009 at the age of 54. Visit

Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Confessions of a Video Vixen, On the Down Low, and Wendy's Got the Heat. She is also an assistant professor in the Film & Media Department at Hunter College

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing; First Edition edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439158908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439158906
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

E. Lynn Harris (1955-2009) is the author of ten previous novels and the memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. His recent novels Just Too Good to be True, I Say a Little Prayer, A Love of My Own, and Any Way the Wind Blows hit the bestseller lists in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. He founded the E. Lynn Harris Better Days Foundation, a nonprofit company that provides support to aspiring writers and artists.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Marcel L. Emerson on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was so glad to hear that we would get another dose of Yancey and Ava the mother and daughter that you love to hate. Mr. Harris did a fine job in developing the story and allowing us to see a character that is not mainstream or seen in a lot of stories. The ruthless way that Ava dealt with her daughter and the jealously was classic. I found myself laughing and crying at some of the treatment. Ava was a villain to the nth degree and I was so happy when she got hers at the end. I had the opportunity in getting an advance copy and I couldn't put the book down. The drama and the plot twists of the story were brilliant.

E Lynn Harris definitely knew how to keep you guessing and wondering what was going to happen next. I hope this will not be his last book even though he is no longer with us. I am praying that there is more books out there that just have not been released. I recommend this book as a must read, there was even appearances by Raymond Tyler and Basil Henderson that was very compelling in the story. I loved the way it ties up a lot of loose ends from previous books. I am the author of My Eyes Are Green and this author pushes me to become a better writer.

Very entertained and satisfied, after a long week this was a refreshing getaway from all the stress of life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mama Dearest by E. Lynn Harris is the final known book by the famous author, who recently passed away. Avid fans waited with anticipation and in many ways they are given what they want. Mr. Harris has brought back, uber-diva, Yancey. Though she is a bit hard on her luck, she is still playing the system and has amazing belief in her talents and looks. Yancey's hope is that she will get one last big break. On the other hand, her mother, Ava, has been released from prison and shows up on Yancey's doorstep. Though Yancey tries to be a good daughter, she soon learns that Ava only has Ava's best interests at heart. As usual, Mr. Harris brings drama and scandal to the pages to keep the reader interested. There are also a few new characters added to the lineup to help the story along and a few surprise players as well.

Though, the book read quickly, and was filled with drama and shenanigans, there was something missing that did not quite read E. Lynn Harris. The narrative was done in a style somewhat different than his usual style. The difference was enough to slow the story down for me. However, I recommend this book to all E. Lynn Harris fans to complete their library of works from a very prolific author. I also recommend it to those who have never read his work. They will be able to enjoy it as a stand-alone novel without making comparisons.

Angelia Menchan
APOOO BookClub
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Juliette D. Mine on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of E. Lynn Harris's novels and just finished Mama Dearest. I must say that he will truly be missed. Although the story was a good one. I noticed an abundance of typos throughout the novel. This has never happened in any of his other books! The mistakes were so bad that some parts hindered my understanding of the book. Two paragraphs are totally in the wrong spot. And on the page where Cale is introduced. He is first referred to as Cole Cantwell. Then a few lines down he was called Cantrell. The at the bottom of the page and for the rest of the book he is called Cale.

I am not sure who edited this book but they should be fired. This is not of true E. Lynn Harris caliber.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Literary Marie on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover

First of all, rest in peace to a very dear author who has paved the way for many others. E. Lynn Harris will be truly missed. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet him in person and for the years he blessed us with literary works and memorable characters. And those characters are back in Mama Dearest.

Mama Dearest is bittersweet. Yancey Harrington Braxton tries to revive her singing and acting career. Being a has-been and doing Broadway isn't enough to pay the bills in her New York townhome. Then she gets an unexpected roommate: Ava Middlebrooks, the mother she helped send to jail. Ava is released early and sets out a plan of revenge on her own daughter. Ava teams up with a mystery man to bring Yancey down and give her a dose of undeserving medicine. With the plan in motion, a whirlwind of events happens and the past becomes the future. Basil and Raymond return as the heroes we love them to be!

The editing and proofreading is not up to par. Chapters are out of sequence. Typos are freckled throughout the pages. However, it doesn't diminish from the story. ELH fans should read and purchase this novel to complete your collection, but keep in mind that he may not have completed this book himself.

The beginning and middle of the story is written in true ELH style. The characters are well developed; the plot is suspenseful, and it's a page-turner. Towards the end, the book changes as if a different writer took over. I am skeptical whether E. Lynn Harris actually wrote the ending. It seems unfinished, and not in a suspenseful way. Was S. Marcus found and charged? Did Ava rat him out? Did the Pinksney family realize the real home wrecker was Ava? And the most pressing unanswered question: who is the father of Yancey's twin boys? These are questions that readers will have to answer on our own...unless ghostwriters continue writing in ELH name.

October 6, 2009

' L Marie '
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