Friday, August 1, 2008

Reading Corner: Just Too Good To Be True

I'm about halfway through Just Too Good To Be True by E. Lynn Harris and let me tell you, I'm actually eager to read it on the train or at home, something I never do! I prefer to read once a day, during my lunch period however, I occasionally read at school when waiting on a late professor or to kill time between classes. This plot has taken more turns and twists than my hair and while I was initially disappointed that the main characters were straight, Harris has made them "oh so juicy" and interesting enough for me to overlook that. As I said before, I'm biased. But with good reason.

The main character, Brady Bledsoe, is a college football star struggling to maintain his reputation and virginity all while juggling his academic and athletic career. His mother is extremely protective and supportive but is hiding some major secrets. As is Brady. I had most of the secrets figured out based on the opening letters but a few other surprises have since transpired.

For die-hard E. Lynn Harris fans who may be considering boycotting the book because it's not his "usual style", one simple word: don't. There are a few characters tied to his past books (I don't want to give it away) that make an appearance. I didn't even realize who they were because it's been a long time since I had read anything from Harris. On a side note, in an AOL article, he mentioned that he would be releasing a gay-themed book in January 2009 that focuses on basketball as well as several other upcoming releases that will get back to his original characters.

His writing is superb as always. He describes only the necessities and includes minute details which make you feel as though you're watching a movie or actually living this person's life. The story doesn’t drag or speed by, it moves at a steady pace. The fact that he's able to include the perspectives of an over-bearing sports mother and a seductive college cheerleader demonstrates his versatility. This is nothing new since he reflected the point of view of many female characters before (Nicole, Yancey, etc.).

The one issue I have with Harris' writing is character names. I understand that authors have to be creative and borrow from real-life individuals. Still, Brady Bledsoe? Come on! That is just excessively blatant!

The gay element is present in passing references as well as in a minor character's role. Nevertheless, the story continually focuses on the bond between mother and son and shows what can happen when everyone pretends to be something they're not. After the few plot twists I read today, I can sense the story preparing to climax and I'm really looking forward to the end result.

That is something I know Harris will bring hard and I’m more than ready!


fuzzy said...

Is it bad that I have a collection of his books and don't seem to crack a single one? Plus, having all the time in the world?

Q said...

Sounds like a great book...

Cash S. said...

Initially I was going to pass on this book because it wasn't gay, but I might check it out.