Mama Dearest

Mama Dearest

Contributions by: Karen Hunter

Diva supreme Yancey Harrington Braxton is working her way back to Broadway and beyond—and stirring up drama in and out of the spotlight—in the acclaimed New York Times bestseller from E. Lynn Harris.

After being out on tour, the ambitious singer and actress is fired up to move past her recent setbacks—including an explosive romance with NFL tight end John Basil Henderson—and prove her talents are stronger than ever. What Yancey really wants is to star in her own reality TV series, and she’s even found a rich and well-connected lover to make it happen. There are, however, two women fierce enough to derail Yancey’s comeback dreams: Madison B., a hot new bombshell taking the music industry by storm, and Ava Middlebrooks, who happens to be Yancey’s own mama dearest.

Not even a stint in prison for attempted murder has curbed Ava’s competitive nature. Now she will bring down her #1 rival—her own daughter—by using Madison B. to turn Yancey’s world upside-down. . . .
  • Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439158913 | 
  • June 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Mama Dearest by E. Lynn Harris includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Yancey Harrington Braxton is trying to make a comeback. She’s a has-been singer/actress working with small theatre productions and even smaller budgets. Yancey has lost the status, but she hasn’t lost the attitude. Her world begins to change on the evening she meets a sexy stranger in Miami and when her mother Ava is released from prison on early parole. When that stranger helps Yancey get her own reality show and Ava starts wreaking havoc on her life, Yancey will have to decide between facing her past for real or for show. 


Questions for Discussion

1. When Yancey’s producer Cale begins to ask her about Madison she says: “I come from a long line of bad mothers and [that is] most likely the reason I was so afraid to be one myself.” What do you think the author is saying about the importance of mother/daughter relationships? 

2. Describe the men in the novel. How do they interact with Ava and Yancey? What do the men in their lives tell us about their see more

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About the Author

E. Lynn Harris
Photograph © Matthew Jordan Smith

E. Lynn Harris

E. Lynn Harris, a #1 national and New York Times bestselling author, wrote twelve acclaimed novels including Basketball Jones, Just Too Good to Be True, and I Say a Little Prayer. There are more than four million copies of his novels in print. He died in 2009 at the age of 54. Visit