Realistic, emotional journey through love from despair to a new hope
July 25, 2007
|By||Bob Lind “camelwest” (Phoenix, AZ United States)|
In autobiographical style, the author starts with his childhood, growing up in a conservative Quaker family in a small Southern Californiatown. He knew he was “different” than most of his peers early on, although he really didn’t have a word for it (homosexual) until his early teens. Involvement in singing and acting in high school plays, followed by five years of touring with The Young Americans singing group, were just diversions that helped him not to deal with his sexual orientation, until he left the group at 21 and moved to Hollywoodto explore a career in television production.
Randy knew that Joe was “the one” for him, the moment they met at a gay bar, when Randy was pushing 30. They moved in together immediately, had a commitment ceremony on their fifth anniversary, and were very happy … until a routine insurance physical revealed that Randy had HIV, contracted before he met Joe. Thankfully, Joe remained negative.
The book takes you through the years following the 1988 diagnosis of being positive, to the first of many opportunistic infections Randy suffered, which marked its progress to full blown AIDS about five years later. The author deals with the realities of such a diagnosis that aren’t often covered in such stories, including the financial uncertainties, the emotional and mental toll on the caregiving partner, all the while dealing with toxic medications that kept one alive, but at a great decrease in the quality of that life. The late 1990’s saw the advent of protease inhibitors, new drugs that – while not a cure – gave patients such as Randy a new reason to hope. They work on rebuilding the lives that had been put on “hold” for the past decade, trying to establish a more enjoyable and successful career path for Joe than the one he left behind, and also to negotiate Randy’s gradual return to the work force.
An emotional yet realistic journey from despair to a new hope, excellently written by a talented author. Much recommended. Five stars out of five.