Mama Dearest


Author: E. Lynn Harris

Genre: African American/GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2009

Number of  Pages: 387

Geographical Setting: New York City

Series: Yes. Third in the Basil and Yancy Series

Plot Summary: Singer and actress Yancy Harrington Braxton is finishing a low-budget tour of Dreamgirls, but she is determined to reclaim her stardom. She thinks the best way to achieve this is to star in her own reality T.V. show. This is not easy when she is surrounded by people who will stop at nothing to make sure she does not succeed. Her scheming, conniving, just been released from prison, mother Ava, does not want Yancy to succeed in anything, which is not surprising as it was Yancy who sent her mother to prison when she testified against her in a shooting incident, and Ava is not about to let Yancy forget it! Ava lets Yancy believe that she has set her up with a T.V. producer, but it turns out he is a drug dealing criminal. Yancy’s involvement with this criminal lands her in prison until an unknown benefactor posts bail for her. Yancy is amazed that somebody would make such a kind gesture and it makes her even more determined to change her diva ways and become a better person. Yancy is surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, including Dani, one of the young gay men in her Dreamgirls cast. Dani and Yancy have a strong friendship and are always there for each other. We meet other lovers and ex-lovers of both Yancy and Ava along the way, one of them being Basil Henderson a bisexual NFL tight end who appears in the other books in this series.

When Yancy was in college she fell in love with Derrick, but when she discovered she was pregnant she gave the baby up for adoption. Unbeknown to Yancy Derrick adopted their baby daughter, naming her Madison B. Madison B is now a very popular and successful young singer. Yancy and Madison B discover their relationship during the making of their own realityT.V. shows. Yancy discovers she has strong maternal feelings for Madison B and realises she would really like to try and be a mother to her. But is it too late? Will the sins of  Ava and Yancy carry on from one generation to the next? Will Madison B give Yancy a chance?

Subject Headings: African-American actors and actresses; African-American women singers; African-American Fiction – 21st century; Entertainment industry; Mother and daughter.

Appeal: character centered, strong secondary characters, multiple story lines, fast-paced, dramatic, sexuallyexplicit, strong language, steamy, romantic, family relationships, friendship, glbtq, bisexual, plot twists.

3 Terms Best Describe this book:  hopeful, dramatic, character-centered

Similary Works/Authors:


1. Baby Momma Drama by Carl Weber (strong characters, plot twists, relationship issues, drug dealing, dramatic).

2. Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins (although not an African-American author, her books have strong similarities to the entertainment world as Mama Dearest. They are full of steamy sex, family relationships, hopefulness, powerful female characters, fast-paced).

3. One in a Million by Kimberla Lawson Roby (dramatic, hopeful, plot twists, family relationships, steady pace).


1. Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television (biographical, stardom, television,entertainment world).

2. Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner (family relatsionships, hopefulness, rise to fame, parent-child relationship).

3. Freedom in this Village: Twenty-five years of Black Gayt Men’s Writing by Isaac Jackson (black, gay male literature, authors, biographies, essays).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: