Thursday 31 May 2007

Before All Dignity is Lost: The Living and Dying of an AIDS Victim by Norman R. Beaupré

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Llumina Press

Before All Dignity is Lost is one man's journey through life, which is often a struggle, traumatic, disheartening even. We are introduced to Drew by way of his letters to the author of the book. We witness his hopes, his dreams, his fears and the many hurdles he overcomes in his life. It is a true story based on real letters.

His mother and sister leave home, leaving him to care for the rest of his family including an alcoholic, suicidal father. He discovers that a kind act on his part has left him infected with HIV, a job he had worked incredibly hard at was taken away from him and he was given no backpay or severance, plus his girlfriend of 3 years abandons him. These are just a few of the experiences which seem to always knock Drew back a few steps but, incredibly, he always bounces back and inspires the reader with his strength of will and determination.

In the later pages, he describes life with the HIV disease and his disappointment in the medical system. All too often the medical system comes across as having the attitude that as someone with HIV, Drew's future is already carved in stone and that it's pointless even trying to do anything. He is given doctors with little or no experience with the disease, rather than someone who could really help improve his quality of life. It's truly disturbing in that aspect.

This book is a very quick yet deeply impacting read. It achieves so much. For me personally, it encouraged me to deal with my own outlook on this subject. It taught me that as much as people seem to let their fear of this disease win out, we need instead to remember that we are still dealing with a person, like us, with their own fears and insecurities. Compassion is often lacking and many people, whether they will admit or not, seem to believe that those suffering this disease are either gay or drug using.

This book is a wake up call that HIV sufferers should not be stereotyped, avoided, or written off. It's an incredible little book that will touch your heart and soul and give you much to think about. I liked it a great deal and I am thankful that the author felt able to share Drews story.

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