If This World Were Mine
By E. Lynn Harris
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385486569, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 15, 1998
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Four friends, all graduates of Hampton Institute, keep a collective journal they call "If This World Were Mine," and share their personal diaries each month at a gathering filled with humor, gossip, and affirmation. The four group members are as different as the seasons, yet they all share a love of one another. Yolanda, a media consultant, keeps it going on with a no-nonsense attitude and independence that are balanced by the theatrics of Riley, a former marketing executive whose marriage has reduced her to a "kept woman with kids." Computer engineer Dwight's anger at the world is offset by the compassion of Leland, a gay psychiatrist whose clients make him question why God ever invented sex.
But after five years, the once-strong bonds of friendship are weakening, and the group must handle challenges of work, lost love, and a stranger in their midst. As the group members confront their true feelings toward each other, resentments and long-held secrets surface, and the stability of the group begins to disintegrate. Is their past friendship strong enough to survive the future?
"So much humor is sprinkled through E. Lynn Harris's warm and timely new novel that we almost miss the pain lying underneath or the significance of its theme: Harris, who has written poignant love stories about African-American life before, turns eloquently again to the question of how people--black people in this case--learn to love in a tough and toughening society. What we don't miss is the complicated political dilemma that Harris weaves quietly and seamlessly through the lives of the four protagonists, all of whom, as the book opens, find that their star is rising."
--Pat Holt, San Francisco Chronicle
"A breakout bestseller that features a sizzling mix of fast-paced storytelling...and lyrical sexuality."
--Paula L. Woods, Dallas Morning News
"It is rare to read a novel with African-American characters as refreshing as these. Harris keeps the dialogue lively and the action zipping along while fully developing story and characters. Ultimately both fun and moving, the book has something to impress nearly any reader."