Just As I Am
By E. Lynn Harris
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385469708, 384pp.)
Publication Date: February 15, 1995
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E. Lynn Harris's blend of rich, romantic storytelling and controversial contemporary issues like race and bisexuality have found an enthusiastic and diverse audience across America. Readers celebrate the arrival in paperback of his second novel, Just As I Am, which picks up where Invisible Life left off, introducing Harris's appealing and authentic characters to a new set of joys, conflicts, and choices. Raymond, a young black lawyer from the South, struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and with the grim reality of AIDS. Nicole, an aspiring singer/actress, experiences frustration in both her career and in her attempts to find a genuine love relationship. Both characters share an eclectic group of friends who challenge them, and the reader, to look at themselves and the world around thern through different eyes. By portraying Nicole's and Raymond's joys, as well as their pain, Harris never ceases to remind us that life, like love, is about self-acceptance. In this vivid portrait of contemporary black life, with all its pressures and the complications of bisexuality, AIDS, and racism, Harris confirms a faith in the power of love -- love of all kinds -- to thrill and to heal, which will warm the hearts of readers everywhere.
E. Lynn Harris is a former computer sales executive with IBM and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He self-published Invisible Life, with great success. It went on to become a Blackboard bestseller and a 1996 ABA Blackboard List Outstanding African American Novel Nominee. In 1996, Just As I Am was awarded the Novel of the Year Prize by Blackboard African-American Bestsellers, Inc. If This World Were Mine was a finalist for the 1997 NAACP Image Award and winner of the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. His new novel, Not A Day Goes By, will be published by Doubleday in summer 2000. Harris currently divides his time between Chicago and New York.
"Just As I Am more than delivers on the promise of Invisible Life. Harris gives his readers a refreshing view of African-American achievement, a touching characterization of a man living with AIDS, and a sensitive depiction of gay/straight friendships that is much to be hoped for in the world outside the book's pages." -- The Atlanta Journal Constitution.