Douglas's Reviews > Basketball Jones

Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris
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's review
Feb 02, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: gay-blt, cultural-racial-issues

This is the closest thing I read to a beach read. I love E. Lynn Harris, but his novels have become more equivalent to soap operas over the years. This is the 1st time he's used Professional Basketball for one of his gay/str8/bi Af. Am. romances. In the past he has always focused on the closeted gay world of college & professional football. E.Lynn Harris use to play college and perhaps professional football himself, and started his literary career with the highly acclaimed novel "Invisible Life". His first 4-5 novels seemed to explore the subject of the Af. Am./White gay/bi relationships a bit more seriously. Then he started introducing some scandalous & dramatic "diva" characters that were fun, but seemed to make for a lighter read. I miss the early days of Basil Henderson, and his romantic exploits. Hopefully "Basketball Jones" will have more substance than your average diva, but it's reading very quickly, and I think I'm going to have to wait for his next novel to be really impressed again. Perhaps I'll be happy to say I was wrong with his newest novel.

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Reading Progress

February 2, 2009 – Shelved
February 2, 2009 –
page 54
February 4, 2009 –
page 81
February 6, 2009 –
page 147
Started Reading
February 9, 2009 –
page 205
February 9, 2009 – Finished Reading
July 18, 2009 – Shelved as: gay-blt
August 13, 2009 – Shelved as: cultural-racial-issues

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Good review, Douglas. As a reader of most of E. Lynn Harris' novels, I enjoyed them, and perhaps I've absorbed part of his literary style and incorporated it into my own writing. I've always maintained that fans of his writing will enjoy mine as well. I do have a couple of clarifications: 1) Harris never played football, not in college and certainly not in the pros. He was a cheerleader in college; that got him onto the sidelines, but that's as close as he came to playing. 2) I don't recall any "Af. Am/White gay/bi relationships" in his first 4-5 novels (or in any, for that matter). It was always black/black, as far as I know. You are correct in that the first four novels were more serious, and then the rest were lighter. I believe this is the result of pressure from his publishing house demanding he "sell out" to the lowest common denominator to increase mass appeal and, of course, book sales. To his credit, he never debauched his writing into one long orgy, even though sex sells, but he did frontline popular subjects of fashion, fame, and fortune. Also, the incomplete feel of his later books was in large part due to strict page count limits imposed by the publisher to keep the printing cost down. That is why there's insufficient resolution of many plot elements in them, and the readers are left wondering what happened with Character X or what happened with Issue Y. By self-publishing my debut novel, I am fortunate to be free of such restrictions, and its double length (200,000 words over 438 pages) allows plenty of room for exposition of detail.

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