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What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: A Memoir

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“In many ways writing saved my life. It’s my hope that sharing my experience will give hope to others who are learning to deal with their “difference.” I want them to know they don’t have to live their lives in a permanent “don’t ask, don’t tell” existence. Truth is a powerful tool. “But my hope for this book doesn’t stop there. I think there is a message here for anyone wh “In many ways writing saved my life. It’s my hope that sharing my experience will give hope to others who are learning to deal with their “difference.” I want them to know they don’t have to live their lives in a permanent “don’t ask, don’t tell” existence. Truth is a powerful tool. “But my hope for this book doesn’t stop there. I think there is a message here for anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of self-esteem, felt the pain of loneliness, or sought love in all the wrong places. The lessons I have learned are not limited to race, gender, or sexual orientation. Anyone can learn from my journey. Anyone can overcome a broken heart.”--E. Lynn Harris


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“In many ways writing saved my life. It’s my hope that sharing my experience will give hope to others who are learning to deal with their “difference.” I want them to know they don’t have to live their lives in a permanent “don’t ask, don’t tell” existence. Truth is a powerful tool. “But my hope for this book doesn’t stop there. I think there is a message here for anyone wh “In many ways writing saved my life. It’s my hope that sharing my experience will give hope to others who are learning to deal with their “difference.” I want them to know they don’t have to live their lives in a permanent “don’t ask, don’t tell” existence. Truth is a powerful tool. “But my hope for this book doesn’t stop there. I think there is a message here for anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of self-esteem, felt the pain of loneliness, or sought love in all the wrong places. The lessons I have learned are not limited to race, gender, or sexual orientation. Anyone can learn from my journey. Anyone can overcome a broken heart.”--E. Lynn Harris

30 review for What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    De

    I've loved E. Lynn's books from the beginning and have read them all. This book can break your heart. To think of someone so talented who thinks so little of himself. You just want to track him down and give him a hug. And now he's passed. Re-reading to find inspiration in the self love he found before his death.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Les

    I don't delve into memoirs too often, but E. Lynn Harris was really groundbreaking in terms of popularizing black, gay, urban fiction. It was my first experience reading about black men - in and out of the closet - that was normalized. I, and so many others, will forever be indebted to him for that. (I was a entering my teens when his books first dropped, so I'd only read "Blackbird" and "Giovanni's Room" before Harris's books). He died so suddenly and so young (54) that I felt this was my best I don't delve into memoirs too often, but E. Lynn Harris was really groundbreaking in terms of popularizing black, gay, urban fiction. It was my first experience reading about black men - in and out of the closet - that was normalized. I, and so many others, will forever be indebted to him for that. (I was a entering my teens when his books first dropped, so I'd only read "Blackbird" and "Giovanni's Room" before Harris's books). He died so suddenly and so young (54) that I felt this was my best shot at hearing about him from him. Everything leads up to him writing Invisible Life and getting some traction as a writer at the beginning of his career. I wanted to know about his life as an author, but I'm guessing he thought maybe he'd get to write a second memoir or perhaps he was too busy living that life. His upbringing and his closeted, corporate life - as well as his unending search for being loved and valued - is what comprises this book. It's enlightening and heartbreaking and just makes me more grateful for what he did while he was here. Wishing that the world could have been better to him and understanding all the reasons and excuses that it wasn't.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    This was a rough book for me. I understood what he we thru with depression. I loved E Lynn and he got me into reading many years ago. He lived a rough life. I'm glad he was happy at the end with where he ended up. I was devastated when I heard of his passing years ago while I was at work. I'm so glad this audio was in his voice. RIP E Lynn you are missed so much.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Miss Trini

    I've been a fan of E.Lynn Harris from day 1 and the memoir just endeared him even more to me. The memoir allowed me to look in on the difficulties of his childhood and see how he struggled to come to terms with his identity and to remain true to himself. I've seen his writing style improve with every novel and this memoir was the icing on the cake.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    A memoir of a depressed gay black man that grew up in Little Rock in the '60's. He lived life mostly in the closet hoping for a pill to make him happy, in love, and straight... How sad! But a great inspirational read that proves the human spirit can overcome the obstacles of life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    RYCJ

    Read this one in one sitting. IT IS A PAGE-TURNER. It wasn't always easy agreeing with his emotions and choices, but I couldn't disagree with the way he moved his story. I really loved the way E.Lynn told this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane Rembert

    Everette Lynn Harris suffered emotional and physical abuse as a child, along with his mother…at the hands of his step -father Ben. He found solace in his aunts, uncles and cousins. He always felt a little different, and fought hard to be accepted amongst his peers and teachers. His comedic relief often took the place of his above average academics, but one administrator took him under his wing and steered him back into the right direction. One Summer, he went to stay with relatives and had the o Everette Lynn Harris suffered emotional and physical abuse as a child, along with his mother…at the hands of his step -father Ben. He found solace in his aunts, uncles and cousins. He always felt a little different, and fought hard to be accepted amongst his peers and teachers. His comedic relief often took the place of his above average academics, but one administrator took him under his wing and steered him back into the right direction. One Summer, he went to stay with relatives and had the opportunity to meet his biological father and additional siblings. Lynn (as he was lovingly referred by friends and family) at one point, had just about anything he wanted, but still suffered with severe depression. For some reason, he felt like people only wanted him for what he could offer them and in some instances…he was right. While in therapy, he started to write down his feelings and the rest, as they say…is history. He actually attributes writing with saving his life. I learned so much about this phenomenal author, and I regret the fact that I never had ever opportunity to meet him. I highly recommend this book and give it 💎💎💎💎💎.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Blackwood

    Someone recommended this memoir to inspire me to sell books because of E.Lynn selling books from his car, and for me to see his process of marketing. There was very little of that here. His career as an author was like an afterthought in the last couple of chapters of the book. It started on a recommendation as opposed to him seeing it as a career initially. Prior to that was a lot of whining about not having love in his life and when he did find it, before this book was published. He said nothin Someone recommended this memoir to inspire me to sell books because of E.Lynn selling books from his car, and for me to see his process of marketing. There was very little of that here. His career as an author was like an afterthought in the last couple of chapters of the book. It started on a recommendation as opposed to him seeing it as a career initially. Prior to that was a lot of whining about not having love in his life and when he did find it, before this book was published. He said nothing about his partner but one sentence of them being in a ten year relationship. It's been years since I've read some of E. Lynn's books and give him much props for being a pioneer in this genre. This memoir read like one of his books. There was a whole of crying, everyone was beautiful, a lot of name dropping of inconsequential people and a lot of drinking that lead to depression and attempted suicides.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina Packard

    First I am amazed to see 2 star ratings, and maybe it is because they do their rating against classics, and award winning books. I see this book as a very honest telling of one individual. I found it written well enough for me and easy to read and I wanted to keep knowing what was going to happen next. For me, it certainly was eye opening to view life about a gay man, and interesting to see how he turned himself into a writer. I probably before never would have picked up this book to read except First I am amazed to see 2 star ratings, and maybe it is because they do their rating against classics, and award winning books. I see this book as a very honest telling of one individual. I found it written well enough for me and easy to read and I wanted to keep knowing what was going to happen next. For me, it certainly was eye opening to view life about a gay man, and interesting to see how he turned himself into a writer. I probably before never would have picked up this book to read except that it is on the 100 best Afro American book to read. I am glad that I did. I actually listened to this book which I felt added to my interest and liking of his story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    W. D. Herstun

    It was a really good time to read this book because I'm pretty brokenhearted. Lynn is honest in this memoir and he tries to stay positive despite the many challenges he encountered. I love the time spent in NY and Chicago purveying the gay scene thru his eyes and I'm praying Atkanta I the home he deserves. #FILA

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    I've always enjoyed E. Lynn Harris's books (R.I.P.) and reading about his life and inspirations was very interesting. While I enjoyed the book, parts felt rushed and there were too many names to keep track of. He would mention someone and I couldn't remember who they were or where they'd met.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Guevara

    3.5 stars I love his work, ever since I read Invisible Life when I was 16. This one may be sad, and heartbreaking, but it has a happy ending. Trigger warnings: homophobia, suicide, death of a loved one(s), alcoholism, depression

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ramona Dukes

    Such a touching story. Mr. Harris was such a talented writer and his own personal story needed to be told.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    You became to know the real E. Lynn Harris.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Dreams do come true.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Missy Mills

    Life! Simply life. With all of its ups and downs. I felt every emotion possible. Thank you E Lynn Harris for this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ta

    I've read about 5 of Harris' books before reading this memoir. I enjoyed it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Robinson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While this was the #ourstory selection for October, I wasn't able to get to it until November. This book was recommended by one of our top book club members as she was listening to it. I'm glad I tackled it. I'm sad I didn't know of him prior to his death. E. Lynn Harris bares it all in his memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. No synopsis really needed on this one. He tells of his youth into adulthood. His struggles with his sexuality, child abuse, loss of his father, loss of close friends, While this was the #ourstory selection for October, I wasn't able to get to it until November. This book was recommended by one of our top book club members as she was listening to it. I'm glad I tackled it. I'm sad I didn't know of him prior to his death. E. Lynn Harris bares it all in his memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. No synopsis really needed on this one. He tells of his youth into adulthood. His struggles with his sexuality, child abuse, loss of his father, loss of close friends, and finding how to accept who he truly was. After reading his memoir, I went to the library to read his first book as my interest was piqued. He gives a lot of background insight on how he finally became a published writer. Many will not agree with his sexual preference but many SHOULD learn a lot from his story. This leads to what spoke to my soul. This is one of the saddest stories I read this year but it stressed to me the importance to accept who you are. Everyone won't understand you, support you, or even care about you! That's ok. Once we stop depending on others to make us happy and focus on self-care this entire world would be a better place. Self-care coupled with professional help are life-saving personal responsibilities to ourselves. As Always, #HappyReading Tracey Robinson Words For The Soul Book Club

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    After reading The Glass Castle, and being disappointed, I reread "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" by E. Lynn Harris. E. Lynn Harris has written a number of novels that deal with the theme of the bisexual/gay black man. His heroes are all handsome, wealthy African American men who have sexual relationships with men on the down low. He was ahead of the curve in exploring this issue. I picked up one of his novels on a trip to D.C. and then read them all. Harris was not exactly Shakespeare, but hi After reading The Glass Castle, and being disappointed, I reread "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" by E. Lynn Harris. E. Lynn Harris has written a number of novels that deal with the theme of the bisexual/gay black man. His heroes are all handsome, wealthy African American men who have sexual relationships with men on the down low. He was ahead of the curve in exploring this issue. I picked up one of his novels on a trip to D.C. and then read them all. Harris was not exactly Shakespeare, but his novels are very much page-turners. His own struggles with his homosexuality infused his characters. His novels are widely read by African Americans and gay men; I'm not sure how widely known they are outside those communities. This struggle with his own gayness included alcoholism, serious depression, and destructive behavior, and ended in his late twenties when he turned to God and asked for help, and began to write his first novel. He published his first novel himself, and then followed that up with another six or seven before turning to this autobiography. When I first read an interview with Harris in the NYT, I went right out and bought it. I loved it. He had a pretty abusive childhood, beaten daily by his stepfather, and becoming aware that he was a "sissy" early on, and trying desperately to change. His emergence from his pain is a wonderful story. The reason I turned to this book after reading the Glass Castle is that Harris's book is so personal, yet so self-knowledgeable. You don't feel like there's unfinished business. Harris died last summer of a heart attack in his early 50s. When I heard he'd died, I felt a personal loss.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leonora

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. WATCH OUT! SPOILERS BELOW! What saved this book for me was his descriptions of his (often disappointing) love affairs and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepfather. His faith was believable and did not take over the memoir, something I appreciated. He describes the process of becoming a writer (which I found inspirational) and how that pretty much replaces therapy and medication. That's exactly how I feel about writing. It's a salve for depression and anxiety. However, I feel this book WATCH OUT! SPOILERS BELOW! What saved this book for me was his descriptions of his (often disappointing) love affairs and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepfather. His faith was believable and did not take over the memoir, something I appreciated. He describes the process of becoming a writer (which I found inspirational) and how that pretty much replaces therapy and medication. That's exactly how I feel about writing. It's a salve for depression and anxiety. However, I feel this book lacks a real ending, or rather it only tells half the story. Most of the book has him searching for love. The book ends with him celibate and going to church. Fine. But in the Epilogue, he writes: "For almost a decade now, I've shared my life with a wonderful man who is good and kind to me. I have love in my life, and that's all you need to know..." What the @$#^? After years of crushes on straight boys, clandestine affairs with closeted men, and a few relationships that end in real heartbreak, Harris turns to writing, in part, to stay away from sex. Apparently, he has found love and refuses to tell us about it! I'm not asking for details or his lover's name but I'd be curious to know whether he is with an out man, how they met, and how his new healthy outlook contributed to being in a healthy relationship. That part of the book needed to be written.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Hagen

    What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: a Memoir, by E. Lynn Harris. Narrated by Richard Allen. Produced by books on tape and downloaded from audible.com. E. Lynn Harris is a New York Times best-selling author for his fiction written with protagonists who are usually gay males and African-American. This memoir details his own life. I haven’t read anything else by him so the memoir was somewhat lost on me. For some reason, partly due to the narrator, I think, this book made me impatient and felt too se What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: a Memoir, by E. Lynn Harris. Narrated by Richard Allen. Produced by books on tape and downloaded from audible.com. E. Lynn Harris is a New York Times best-selling author for his fiction written with protagonists who are usually gay males and African-American. This memoir details his own life. I haven’t read anything else by him so the memoir was somewhat lost on me. For some reason, partly due to the narrator, I think, this book made me impatient and felt too self-involved, except for the horrendous abuse he suffered from his stepfather. Here’s what the publisher’s note says: Now, in his most daring act yet, E. Lynn Harris writes the memoir of his life from his childhood in Arkansas as a closeted gay boy through his struggling days as a self-published author to his rise to New York Times best seller status. In What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, Harris shares with listeners an extraordinary life touched by loneliness and depression, but most importantly he reveals the triumphant story of a small town dreamer who was able, through writing, to make his dreams and more come true. With his signature compassion, raw courage and awe-inspiring honesty, E. Lynn Harris applies the same talents to his memoir that have made him a best selling fiction author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Being a fan of E. Lynn Harris, I was very interested in getting to know him on a personal level. His novels have amused and intrigued me all of my high school career, which is when I was first introduced to him -- so there is history there. Who would've ever thought that this story-telling genius had such a tormented past? In WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, Harris takes us back in time to Arkansas were he opens up about his abusive "step"-father, his fight with his sexuality & his desire to di Being a fan of E. Lynn Harris, I was very interested in getting to know him on a personal level. His novels have amused and intrigued me all of my high school career, which is when I was first introduced to him -- so there is history there. Who would've ever thought that this story-telling genius had such a tormented past? In WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, Harris takes us back in time to Arkansas were he opens up about his abusive "step"-father, his fight with his sexuality & his desire to die. Although the fact that much of his story focuses on the difficulty he faced growing up near penniless, as well as the ill-informed attitude of many who would not understand his battle with sexuality, Harris' core message is one pretty much everyone can relate to. I have read every one of his novels, and now after reading his memoir, I believe that it now serves as a catalyst to understanding his storylines and characters. Harris' story should motivate all readers to pave their own roads to happiness.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cindy s.

    Lynn E.Harris ''What becomes of the brokenhearted'' is a gloomy and yet a non-forgiving book. It is about secrets and shockness that will leave the readers with mixed feelings. Lynn as a young African-American has always been mis-treated. He goes to an all white school with no friends or teachers that treats him in a proper way. At home his father abuses him because he think it will make him ''be a man''. As time goes on, Lynn's mother divorced his father and she had to start working 2-3 jobs t Lynn E.Harris ''What becomes of the brokenhearted'' is a gloomy and yet a non-forgiving book. It is about secrets and shockness that will leave the readers with mixed feelings. Lynn as a young African-American has always been mis-treated. He goes to an all white school with no friends or teachers that treats him in a proper way. At home his father abuses him because he think it will make him ''be a man''. As time goes on, Lynn's mother divorced his father and she had to start working 2-3 jobs to support the family. All his life, not that many people accepted him beacuse he was black and gay. The author made it through by ignoring the negativities he went through and continued his life by following his dreams...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix

    E. Lynn opens the doors into his world in his memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. To me, this is more than just Harris telling us his story, he is also offering words of wisdom and encouragement along the way. I've read this book multiple times and each time I am moved by his story. The memoir will take you through a range of emotions but in the end you can't help but smile. If you are interested in knowing more about E. Lynn Harris, this is the book for you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mathis Bailey

    This was a fascinating read. The book talks about how E. Lynn Harris battled with self-depression, alcoholism, homosexuality and abuse. He goes into great deal of his failed relationships with men and women and the sudden deaths of his best friends. He also takes the reader through the darkest days of his life when he attempts suicide. Reading his memoir made me understand him much more as writer and as a person. Definitely a recommendable read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Harris's youthful navigation of straight maleness and its institutions, coupled with the problematic intersection of race & homosexuality, highlights the experiences of many a gay man before him and many a gay man after him. The loneliness, the search for respect and love, that come along with that navigation are emotionally adept here. While it is not amazingly or challengingly written, it is still a worthwhile read. Harris's youthful navigation of straight maleness and its institutions, coupled with the problematic intersection of race & homosexuality, highlights the experiences of many a gay man before him and many a gay man after him. The loneliness, the search for respect and love, that come along with that navigation are emotionally adept here. While it is not amazingly or challengingly written, it is still a worthwhile read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    After reading this book, my view of the author really changed. Not in a good way....read it if you want, but know that reading this memoir could very well shaking your head...like "wow"...I have to admit, I had read every single book by E Lynn Harris, BUT after reading this book, unfortunely, I didn't purchase any of his new releases.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tye

    I went on a search to read about a black author, and then discovered I had stumbled upon the memoir of a black gay author. The author talked a lot about his depression, and there seemed to be a lot of that in his life. Actually, listening to his story gave me some insight into a life that is different from my own. So, sure I would recommend it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannan Hicks

    Far and away the best memoir I have ever read. I love his fiction and miss his voice greatly. But this was so well-written and no-holds-barred that I felt that I was in some of the situations with him. Mr. Harris is gone, but his legacy and what he has done for the literature of our time will endure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deni Aria

    I am very dazzled with Lynn's works and I had been wondering what life he was through so we could bring such a very great books to our lap. This book has beautifully been revealing himself and I was right the author, Lynn Harris has great personality and mean quality on very piece of his work! Thank you for showing us on how life to be lived in our own uniqueness !

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