A Young Man's Journey with AIDS: The Story of Nick Trevorby Luellen Reese
The mother of a young man with AIDS tells his story based on the journal which she kept throughout their experiences with his illness.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyReese puts a face and a name on PWAs (persons with AIDS) through her brutally honest account of her late son Jonathan's long struggle with the disease. A songwriter in a rock band, Jonathan changed his name to Nick Trevor, ran away from home and experimented with sex and drugs; his experiences took him to a foster home, a juvenile hall and a psychiatric facility. Then, at the age of 19 when he was just starting to see a steady girlfriend and go back to school, Nick was diagnosed with AIDS. Readers will see glimmers of Nick's charismatic and magnetic personality via an article he wrote for Static, the newspaper he edited, the occasional song lyric and from quotes Reese recalls in dialogue, but the majority of the book is from his mother's perspective. The facts in themselves are compelling, but, unfortunately, the adult point of view may deter teens (e.g., when Nick wants to sleep with his girlfriend in his home, "To Nick, it was a matter of trust and not of his parents' responsibility for his 14-year-old visitor"). This chronicle of Nick's daily struggles and background on various treatments for PWAs will likely be most informative for those seeking information on AIDS. Ages 14-17. (Mar.)
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 7 UpA disturbing story, and not because it is about AIDS. In a third-person narrative, Reese presents her son's life story based on her personal journal and the young man's writings. The result is a highly controlled view of a troubled youth that substitutes rationalization for insight. Enough information is presented for readers to know that there are problems with alcohol in the family, but the effects of this disease aren't explored in the narrative and the context for Nick's drug and alcohol abuse is lost. The idea that a teen who runs away from home continually and moves from foster home to juvenile-detention center to psychiatric ward is merely working out his need to be his own person or is restless, is an example of the kind of rationalizations given here for extreme behaviors. The mother is particularly off-putting. She always has the answer for everything from prescribing medications, to helping her son define his sexuality, to gauging his spiritual growth. This presentation doesn't come across as much as a struggle with AIDS as a struggle for control. The human insight and understanding expected from a biography is all but absent. While one does not doubt that Trevor was a talented and intelligent young man, readers cannot help feeling that this isn't the whole story. Michael Thomas Ford's The Voices of AIDS (Morrow, 1995) and Ryan White and Ann Marie Cunningham's Ryan White (Dial, 1991) are more compelling biographies about teens infected with AIDS.Melissa Gross, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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