In Publisher's Weekly April 23, 2001 issue, the industry magazine
spotlighted the LGBT book scene in 2001. In his article prefacing a list of
nearly 200 selected Gay and Lesbian titles, Charles Hix stated:
"Significantly, the number of...
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God Doesn't Make Trash

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In Publisher's Weekly April 23, 2001 issue, the industry magazine
spotlighted the LGBT book scene in 2001. In his article prefacing a list of
nearly 200 selected Gay and Lesbian titles, Charles Hix stated:
"Significantly, the number of books dealing primarily with AIDS is down
compared to 2000 . . . AIDS is now more likely to be treated as an incidental
fact, not a focus." Indeed, scanning the titles and descriptions of the
books listed in the article, I counted only eight titles that spoke of AIDS

There appears to be little interest anymore in the personal
stories of those lost. Indeed, it takes the stature of an Edmund White to
even interest a major publisher in another collection of cenotaphs. What
then do we make of Barbara Rose Brooker's brave little book recounting the
stories of friends and acquaintances long dead from AIDS?

The book's title comes from a conversation Brooker had with former Marlboro
Man and later AIDS model, Christian Haren. Brooker, a struggling novelist
with two young daughters had been a reluctant but loving witness to her next
door neighbor's early agonizing victimization and discrimination preceeding
his death from the virus and its complications.

In an effort to fulfill a
promise to her friend, Brooker sets about taping interviews with AIDS
patients in a half-hearted attempt to document their stories. Christian
Haren was her first interviewee.

Galvanized by anger and illness, co-opted by the nascent AIDS response
movement as a poster child, Haren is in a unique position to usher Brooker
to the Castro and San Francisco General Hospital's earliest AIDS ward in the
rapidly blackening early days of the pandemic. Constantly, Haren pushes her
to listen, to record, to write. Alternately cajoling and hectoring, the
dying Haren manages to inspire the straight, Jewish, liberal Brooker to
undertake a project which was to haunt her for the following fifteen years.

The product of that haunting, some twenty-nine chapters profiling men and
women, gay and straight in the grips of a time and a disease, is really as
much a portrait of middle class America's dawning awareness of and helpless
witness to the pandemic as it is of the dying's.

The dying themselves are
vibrantly recalled in Brooker's tender, elegaic chronicalling, but it is the
portrait of Brooker herself that is most compelling. Her journey from
sympathetic bystander to paralyzed witness to stoic promise-keeper is a
genuine document of a time and a place that seems, unfortunately, to have an
expired shelf-life.

That is the pity and the promise of this fine little book. Pity that it
might easily go unread and ignored for now, but it promises to be a classic
for the times to come. I have written before that history is most intimately
experienced by small people in small places. We are lucky to have this small
history now and waiting again in a huge unknown future.

-by Jay Quinn

Lambda Book Report

July/August 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amy Kobeta
"Thank you very much for sending PFLAG a copy of God Doesn¹t Make Trash. We will keep the copy in our resource library so others can learn from your powerful experiences. Thank you for the work you do and we wish you great success with the book."
Director of Communications, PFLAG
Willie L. Brown Jr.
"In the fight against AIDS, we often hear and read about statistics and medical diatribes. It is rare when deeply moving and personal accounts of the disease bring the epidemic so close to home, as God Doesn't Make Trash does so engagingly. Whether you have been active in the struggle against HIV and AIDS, or are new to the fight, this book is essential reading.
San Francisco
Douglas MacKinnon
"God Doesn't Make Trash is a must read for all those who wish to better understand AIDS, homophobia and society in general. I¹m convinced that the more people who read this most worthwhile effort (especially those blinded by hate or ignorance) the sooner we will comprehend the dignity and beauty of all human souls."
Author of First Victim and Director of Communications for Senator Bob Dole
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781465317599
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 3/21/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 230 KB

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