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Desperately Moving and Inspirational Book.,
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This review is from: Holding the Man (Penguin Viking Plays & Screen) (Paperback)
I have had this book for some time and had forgotten it was on my `to be read' pile, when I picked it up it turned out to be one of those books that you just can't put down. It is the moving and very personal auto biography of Timothy Conigrave. He tells of his fifteen year love of his boyfriend and husband, John Caleo.
They both attended the Jesuit St. Xavier's college in Melbourne where John was the captain of the footie team and Tim was the more wistful would be actor. They finally get together and even though Tim at first thought it was a schoolboy crush, it turned out it was the real thing, especially so for John. They met in the late seventies and this was clearly pre AIDS days when no one much bothered with contraception. Despite their underlying feelings they both had other lovers.
The book deals with coming out especially to a Catholic family, not so easy as I had to do the same thing. Then the acceptance of friends and then the worst of all imaginings and that was contracting the AIDS virus. Medicine was so far behind then that this really was a death sentence and Tim pulls absolutely no punches in his telling of all the trials that he and his lover had to go through.
This is a beautifully written book that is as open and frank as it is possible to be. There is detail here that left me slack jawed as I had no idea about some of the possibilities that go with HIV. It is unflinching in its naked representation of the truth both in terms of the physical problems and the emotional. To say I was moved is an understatement, I actually cried on public transport - never a good look. I was even more upset to find that this book was published in 1995 after Tim's death from an AIDS related illness. He was an inspirational man, both as an actor playwright and human being a great and sad loss.