The memoir is divided into roughly two halves: before Mike's death and after Mike's death. The narrator is one of the dying man's circle of gay and lesbian friends, and becomes, for unclear reason's, his most involved caregiver. She goes to his apartment on summons at any hour, flies to Memphis when Michael is hospitalized after collapsing, loans him money, and endures relentless psychological abuse as his cognitive powers fade.

In the second half of the book, the writer reflects. Her anger toward Mike's disease, AIDS, and Mike himself does not seem tempered by the passage of time. She is still struggling at the end of the tale, more than two years after Mike's death.


This narrative is somewhat unusual among those contemporary works that reside in the genre of memoir, or the category illness narrative, in that it is a not entirely sympathetic exposure of the dying man, Mike. His primary caregiver, the author of the memoir, continues to allow herself to be bullied by the sufferer as she carries out incredible duties which she resents, both at the time, and in retrospect. The work raises interesting questions about motivation, love and hate, guilt and anger in the complex relationships that arise in the gay/lesbian culture in a time of devastation by disease.


Duke Univ. Press

Place Published

Durham, N.C.



Page Count