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Reviewed by Eileen Johnson for Readers' Favorite
Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends by Victoria Noe is one of a series of books about techniques for handling grief. This particular book speaks to a generation of people who lived through the beginning of an epidemic that has killed a generation of young gay men. Those of us who were there will remember the beginning of the ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) group that was one reaction to the grief we were feeling. The world has learned about the AIDS quilt that has been added to until it is too large to display in one place. Noe identifies both of these reactions as very real techniques for handling the grief – one reaction was very political and the other more artistic. However, both of these techniques addressed the frustration and grief we were feeling.
I was a nurse in a city with a large population of gay men during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Gay men were my co-workers and friends – and I watched most of them die before we even knew much about the disease. Friend Grief and AIDS very clearly identifies the frustration and fear all of us felt during this time. Noe provides a perspective on this time that needs to be shared with those who want to be infected, intentionally seeking partners who are infected. These young people need to read about a time when the infection they want to get was an absolute death sentence. Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends by Victoria Noe should be required reading for those who would dishonor the memory of those who have died from AIDS.