Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Love the One You're With (B-Boy Blues, Book 5)
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on September 8, 2005
The main problem with Love The One You're With - like others in this series - is that it takes itself too seriously. The plot - such as it is - is pure soap. Mitchell's partner, Raheim, is out of town, and Mitchell is suddenly faced with an onslaught of attractive men vying for his attention. Naturally, they're all super-attractive, big-booty bruthas desperate for Mitchell, and either hyper-masculine or hyper-groomed. This could have been funny, but is handled with such a lack of modesty by our 'hero' (who is attractive and talented in equal measures) that it rapidly becomes both tedious and unreal. Such conceit and self-importance are a turn-off to most people, and these suitors would turn on the haughty Mr. Crawford as rapidly as the reader does.

In fact, the unappealing characters who fill the pages particularly grate on the nerves. Never before have a pool of such arrogant, vain, judgemental, bitching queens been assembled. Hardy's work has been called `the black gay Sex And The City' by some, a serious slur on that show. At best, Hardy's brand of `razor sharp wit' is a sort of banal carping. At worst, it's a dangerous, unnecessarily vicious attack on those whom Hardy judges as either traitorous, or the enemy, in his war on integration. What are young men of mixed black/white (or any other mix) parentage to make of a book that tells them they are born of a fraud? Or the multitude of men in interracial relationships, who are told they are immoral? Hardy has set himself up as the ultimate authority on issues of race and sexuality, and from his position on high, has decided what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, in his world, everything is black and white. No room is left for men who don't fit his limited view of black or white. It's wrong for a black man and a white man to love one another, apparently, because the white man will always use the black man to live out slave fantasies. Okay, so what if two mixed-race men love one another? Is that allowed in Hardy's world? Or doesn't mixed-race count as black? How black do you have to be, one wonders, if you are only one or the other? It seems that Hardy's characters prove their `blackness' by denigrating Caucasians at every opportunity. It's utterly cringe-inducing that every Caucasian encountered in the book, or referred to, is either an out-and-out racist or worse still, liberal (Hardy sees no difference between the two. A liberal is merely a redneck in disguise, or one attempting to salve their guilty conscience).

As an aside, it's worth noting that Hardy considers it wrong for white men to fetishise black men (it's BAD AND WRONG if they find large lips, dark skin or a big booty attractive), yet Hardy has deemed it okay for his middle-class, sanctimonious lead, Mitchell, to fetishise the down-low, straight-out-tha-ghetto lover, Raheim.

Hardy over-estimates his own intellectual stature. Take the scene in which Mitchell interviews a black (gay) republican. Mitchell floors the republican with some cutting questions. I'm sorry, but reality check, Hardy! Almost any politician would have a slick comeback rehearsed - politicians know how to deal with difficult questions, and those Hardy (I'm sorry, Mitchell) puts aren't rocket science. Has Hardy ever actually spoken to a black republican, or read one of the many books penned by them? Hardy wishes to establish Mitchell's, and by extension, his own intellectual standing, yet everyone he meets who dares to have a different opinion is a babbling idiot, unable to make any argument once Mitchell opens his mouth. The reader is left with the distinct impression that Hardy his so righteous that he has never listened to anyone who might have a different point of view.

His style of writing itself is peculiar. Desperately trying to be hip and trendy, he comes across as patronising and holier-than-thou. If his target audience is young black men (which it clearly is) then he clearly has a low opinion of them. At times it's rather like reading a lecture by a boring do-gooder. Even his fans have criticised his long, tedious digressions into politics, education, or whichever issue happened to cross his mind on that particular day. There's a particularly bad chapter in a supermarket where Mitchell is standing in line, which tries to come across as a Jerry Seinfeld "have you ever noticed how..." moment, and fails miserably.

There are seemingly endless pages of filler. Trying to up the word count from his last effort, the wafer- thin The Day Eazy-E Died, Hardy gives us lengthy catalogues of the songs played in whichever club the characters found themselves in. He describes in minute detail the menu every time a character has a meal. And there are whole chapters of meaningless fluff, in which Mitchell and Raheim have late night, long distance "I miss you" calls. None of this furthers the plot, or character development, and served only to antagonise this reader. It's another indication of the author being so in awe of his creations, that he expects his readers to be intrigued by every detail of their lives.

The first novel in this series, published a couple of hundred years ago, it now feels like, was fresh and original, and lacked much (if not all) of the spite and nastiness of its successors. But Hardy has proven himself to be a cynical opportunist, shamelessly flogging this dead horse for all it's worth. Worse still, a sixth (and apparently final) instalment is to follow.

And after 262 pages of righteousness, we're told that it's okay to cheat on your lover, so long as you don't actually kiss the other man. At least it's in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book.
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on September 23, 2002
I can't believe how much Hardy took from his first novel to write this one. Each and every major event parralels the ones in Blues, but in spite of this, LTOYW is a very poor imitation. The stale, uninspired, short novel is a series of unrelated, very mundane anecdotes. The flat material consists of, amongst other gems, the characters' favorite Roseanne episodes. And I got thoroughly sick of reading about men with plump cheeks. Hardy seems to have stopped badgering the word GAGGED to death but has taken to using this description repetitively.
The "plot"-whether Mitch is going to cheat with Montee- takes up less than a quarter of the entire book. What's on the rest of the pages, you may wonder? Once again, boring scenes recounting the daily activites of the main character, and insipid conversations he's having with his friends and beaufriend. Oh yes, and of course his savage rantings on anyone with a skin shade lighter than butter pecan (which makes one wonder why Mitch even stays in the good-for-nothing U.S. There are many places in the Carribean or South America to live. But of course these points will never be raised. It would put Mitch, and thus, Hardy, at a loss for a convenient, racially-charged, sounds-right-at-the-time explanation).
It's obvious this book was written to make money, no matter that it has definitely squeezed out the very last droplets of mystique these characters once had. Hardy has found a financially successful comfort zone and is intimidated by starting something totally fresh, unknown and untested. But I won't be sticking around to read another installment of the B(oring)-Boy Blues series.
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on March 2, 2003
James Earl hardy should've quit after 2nd Time Around and went back to journalism. Love the One you're with is very boring and unnecessary. There is NO tension whatsoever. I realize JEH feels compelled to depict positive Black gay relationships, but unfortunately by doing this he is sacrificing any conflict that will make his work engrossing and unforgettable. Raheim and Mitchell no longer have any grave issues to deal with in each other, nothing threatens to break them up, all they do is compliment and coo at each other. By the book's middle it was obvious that everything was going to end as neatly as it began. The UPS man is a very ineffective monkey wrench, I never for one second got the feeling he'd threaten R. & M.'s commitment because there is no build up of suspense. In fact, the story had no climax!
It's obvious JEH was grasping for straws while writing this. Some of the word choice is amateurish and downright childish: "Dr. Spock-ish ears", "skin color of a Planter's peanut", "Chipmunk cheeks". He also has a bad habit of beginning every scene with a character quote, too lazy to set things up with description or narrative. One of THE most annoying things is how he'd trail off.... there wasn't a page where his sentences didn't... I mean it gets pretty annoying... A lot of events he just borrowed from his original novel- cream of wheat burning, meeting the "love interest" in a gay social club, going to see a movie on the first date, running into the love interest as he makes a delivery. In fact, the entire plot relies on tired coincidence to move it along because JEH is apparently too lazy to brainstorm for less contrived ideas. In New York City, filled with millions upon millions of people, Mitchell and the UPS guy run into each other for no plausible reason on multiple occasions all over town, and yet strangely this has never happened until this novel.
To enhance the feeble plot, he creates a long chapter about his relationship with an old boyfriend mentioned in B-Boy Blues. In this novel the guy is a right-wing republican out of touch with his ethnicity. In B-Boy Blues this boyfriend was without any flaws or baggage and they were a match made in heaven, but again JEH is clutching for straws so he pulls this new info out of nowhere. In another attempt he spends a very long time describing a school call Knowledge Hall though it is not integral to the novel at all. Once the chapter ends the school is never mentioned again. The same can be said for the gay organization chapter, after the chapter ends the group virtually ceases to exist. To try and further characterize Gene, he talks about his daily grooming ritual, his interior design, and his favorite TV shows, but it adds nothing new to him. We already knew he was vain and grand. The scenes following Mitchell around doing typical activities add nothing interesting, either, because who doesn't shop for food/clothes and get occasionally hit on while doing so? In B-Boy Blues the original cast was fiery, flawed, and BUSY, in this book they are so contently settled and even-tempered it's as if this is being written by a completely different and less talented writer.
This is an exhaustive review but my point is how inferior every new installment is in this series. I didn't even bother reading The Day Eazy-E died but from what I've gathered from other reviews it's just as unnecessary as Love the One you're with and If only for one night. All three of these books could have been written as one novel or better yet incorporated into 2nd Time around, which also lacked substantial conflict but at least it was fresh and had some good dialogue. Nothing of any great importance was presented in JEH's last three novels. An uneventful high school reunion, an HIV test which comes back negative, and a sexual indiscretion- which although inconsequential is described in revolting detail-are too trivial to be main plots in a novel, especially when nothing else is happening. B-Boy Blues was such a rich, complicated book that warrants all the praise and controversy it gets. Unfortunately for us readers it was just a fluke. JEH is supposed to be writing the final installment of the series soon, hopefully in that one Pooquie, Little Bit, and Gene will get on an airplane with Basil Henderson and they are all killed in a fiery crash. In my opinion JEH has done a very big disservice to his characters by diluting them and making them less legendary with each new unsuccessful effort.
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James E. Hardy is back again with BD, Babyface, Gene, Mitchell, Raheim and his son Lil Brotha Man, a family of wonderful characters I've missed. Love the One You're with delves into the "black gay male" psyche. Topics such as gay republicans, young boys in school and how to mold them, black identity different mentality and thoughts on bisexuality are widely placed throughout the book. Initially I had a slight problem with this because I wanted to read more about the characters. As I continued to read I realized these issues were the characters and it gave them more life.
The novel is told around Raheim while he is away to make his first feature film. Mitchell is left at home with temptations coming from everywhere. There's an old cliché' when the cat is away the mice will play. Will Mitchell, aka "the mouse" play and risk the eighteen months he has thus far with Raheim.
Grab your favorite blanket, and pick up the book to find out. You won't be disappointed.
James E. Hardy still has that humorous and straight to the point style of writing. This is a definite page turner.
Missy APOOO Bookclub.
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on May 29, 2002
After having read all of James Earl Hardy's book I was a little disappointed with this one. I did not like how one chapter would be about his professional life and then it would pick up with Pooquie in the following chapter. I wish Mr. Hardy would have touched on Pooquie's reaction to not being able to catch up with Mitchell because he was with Montee. I could not believe that Mr. Hardy allowed every man in the book to be gay and one bisexual. This was not one of Mr. Hardy's best books but it was not one of his worse.
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on September 20, 2003
Mr Hardy is a fantastic writer. Shoot, I love all his work, but I find myself bored reading this book. Unlike B-boy Blues and 2nd time around, LTOYW does not have the suspenseful conflict that Raheim and Little Bit had back in the day. He just parallels a lot of details from the other books, which makes me think why is this called a sequel when it's just a repetition. I didn't appreciate much the content of Little Bit's republican encounter and how Mr. Hardy incorporated that as if it was the center of the story. Monty's Bisexuality is ambiguous... and Little Bit's encounter with him wasn't really hot. Raheim still plays the old boy... and it never continued on as to Raheim coming out. It's a great read, but don't be too thrilled with the money you spending. Spend on the Bboy Blues or 2nd Time Around.
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on March 30, 2014
Another great read from. I sooo feel the vibes between Mitch and Montee Though Gene is the epitome of me... something I got to watch from early. I think imma be calling my beau pooquie from now on... Thanks uncle Earl
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on February 16, 2006
This novel is horrible. Terribly written, cliched, and shamelessly packed with pointless filler. Don't waste your money on this thing.
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on July 23, 2008
The main problem with Love The One You're With - like others in this series - is that it takes itself too seriously. The plot - such as it is - is pure soap.

Mitchell's partner, Raheim, is out of town, and Mitchell is suddenly faced with an onslaught of attractive men vying for his attention. Naturally, they're all super-attractive, big-booty bruthas desperate for Mitchell; they're all either hyper-masculine or hyper-groomed. This might have been funny, had it not been handled with such a lack of modesty by our 'hero' (who is, naturally, attractive and talented in equal measures) and becomes increasingly tedious and unbelievable. Conceit and self-importance are a turn-off for most people, and these suppsoed suitors would turn on the haughty Mr. Crawford as rapidly as the reader does.

It's the unappealing characters who fill the pages that really grate on the nerves. Never before have so many vain, judgemental, bitching queens been assembled. Hardy's work has been called 'the black gay Sex And The City' by some, a libellous slur on that show. At best, Hardy's brand of 'razor sharp wit' is banal carping. At worst, it's a dangerous, unnecessarily vicious attack on those Hardy judges as the enemy in his war on racial harmony.

What are young men of mixed black/white (or any other mix) parentage to make of a book that tells them they are born of a fraud? Or the multitude of men in interracial relationships, who are told they are living a lie? Hardy has set himself up as the ultimate authority on issues of race and sexuality, and from his position on high, has decided what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, in his world, everything is black and white. No room is left for those who don't fit his narrow world view. It's wrong for a black man and a white man to love one another, apparently, because the white man is using the black man to live out slave fantasies. Okay, so what if two mixed-race men love one another? Is that permitted in Hardy's world? Or doesn't mixed-race count as black? How black do you have to be, one wonders, if you are only ever one or the other? It seems that Hardy's characters prove their 'blackness' by denigrating Caucasians at every opportunity. Every Caucasian encountered in the book, or referred to, is either an out-and-out racist or worse still a cringe-inducing pseudo liberal (Hardy sees no difference between the two. A liberal is merely a redneck in disguise, or one attempting to salve their guilty conscience).

As an aside, it's worth noting that Hardy considers it wrong for white men to fetishise black men (it's BAD AND WRONG if they find large lips, dark skin or a big booty attractive), yet Hardy has deemed it okay for his middle-class, sanctimonious lead, Mitchell, to fetishise the down-low, straight-out-tha-ghetto lover, Raheim.

Hardy vastly over-estimates his own intellectual stature. Take the scene in which Mitchell interviews a black (gay) republican. Mitchell floors the republican with some cutting questions. I'm sorry, but reality check, Mr. Hardy! Almost any politician would have a slick comeback rehearsed - politicians know how to deal with difficult questions, and those Hardy (I'm sorry, Mitchell) puts aren't rocket science. Has Hardy ever actually spoken to a black republican, or even read any books penned by one? Hardy wishes to establish Mitchell's, and by extension, his own intellectual standing, yet everyone he meets who dares to have a different opinion is a babbling idiot, unable to make any argument once Mitchell opens his mouth. The reader is left with the distinct impression that Hardy is so righteous that he has never listened to anyone who might have a different point of view.

His style of writing itself is peculiar. Desperately trying to be hip and trendy, he comes across as patronising and holier-than-thou. If his target audience is young black men (which it clearly is) then he clearly has a low opinion of them. At times it's rather like reading a lecture by a boring do-gooder. Even his fans have criticised his long, tedious digressions into politics, education, or whichever issue happened to cross his mind on a given day. There's a particularly bad chapter in a supermarket where Mitchell is standing in line, which tries to come across as a Jerry Seinfeld "have you ever noticed how..." moment, and fails miserably.

There are seemingly endless pages of filler. Trying to up the word count from his last effort, the wafer- thin The Day Eazy-E Died, Hardy gives us lengthy catalogues of the songs played in whichever club the characters find themselves in. He describes in minute detail the menu every time a character has a meal. And there are whole chapters of meaningless fluff, in which Mitchell and Raheim have late night, long distance "I miss you" calls. None of this furthers the plot, or character development, and serves only to antagonise. It's another indication of the author being so in awe of his creations, that he expects his readers to be intrigued by every detail of their lives.

The first novel in this series, published a couple of hundred years ago (or at least that's how it feels) was fresh and original, and lacked much (if not all) of the spite and nastiness of its successors. But Hardy has proven himself to be a cynical opportunist, shamelessly flogging this dead horse for all it's worth. Worse still, a sixth (and apparently final) instalment is to follow.

And after 262 pages of righteousness, we're told that it's okay to cheat on your lover, so long as you don't actually kiss the other man. At least it's in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book.
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on August 20, 2002
LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH is the latest installment on the relationship between fan favorites "Pookie" Rivers and "Lil Bit" Crawford. This time around, "Pookie" has caught the acting bug and is signed to star in a motion picture in California. "Lil" supports him and hates to see him go, but doesn't have time to miss him. It seems that when we want love, it's never around or the wrong type appears. In "Lil's" case, it's many forms of love or lust that appears in men that he could have been involved with before his relationship that keeps appearing before his eyes that distract him, and not always in an annoying way. Enter Montgomery, musician & romantic catch-of-the-day who drives our Mr. Crawford to look deep into areas of his heart that may satisfy more that what he already has at home. Kinda wordy and may run-on in areas, this novel manages to remain a very interesting read and remains faithful to the core characters.
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