IF THIS WORLD WERE MINE by E. Lynn Harris

IF THIS WORLD WERE MINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A journal-writing group helps four black college friends see each other through major and minor crises, in Harris's fourth outing (And This Too Shall Pass, 1996, etc.) Yolanda, Riley, Dwight, and Leland, all alumni of the Hampton Institute, gather regularly to read their journal entries and ask each other questions like ``What are you grateful for?'' Yolanda, a consultant who's extricated herself from a so-so marriage, has a take-charge attitude toward the many men who pursue her. Self-deluding Riley has an incredibly overbearing mother, a husband who's always away on business, and aspirations to be a poet and singer; her friends are gently discouraging, so she turns to the Internet for support. Dwight, a computer engineer, finds that his colleagues' racism and his exaggerated hostility toward whites cause problems at work. Leland, a gay therapist and Yolanda's best friend, is the gentle heart of the group; his chicken-wingmagnate uncle, also gay, dispenses homespun wisdom in abundance. Over the course of the story, the characters undergo cataclysms of varying intensity. Riley strikes up an E-mail relationship with a stranger who signs himself ``Lonelyboy''; he turns out, all too unsurprisingly, to be her own estranged husband. Dwight quits his job and contemplates going to work for a black-owned computer company in Washington. Yolanda, meanwhile, meets John Basil Henderson, an ex-football player with a high-intensity courtship style (limos, massages, surprise trips to New Orleans). But John is concealing a past that includes bisexuality and an episode of blackmail; Leland, who's learned from a client that John isn't all he seems to be, must wrestle with the ethical question of whether to tell Yolanda what he knows. What starts off as an amiable enough soap opera quickly becomes mired in byzantine subplots and friends-stick-by-each-other clichÇs. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-48655-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1997




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