In an extraordinary book, the wife of TV star Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky and Hutch) tells the harrowing story of her family's many-fronted battle with AIDS. In 1981, Elizabeth Glaser contracted AIDS through blood transfusions received after childbirth. Five years later, she learned that her daughter, Ariel, had developed AIDS; that she herself had the HIV virus (her milk had infected the baby); and that her 18-month-old son also carried the disease. "Along with this hideous medical diagnosis," she writes, "came instructions on how we needed to handle the rest of the world." Immediately, the Glasers enlisted friends "in a conspiracy of silence" to protect their children. Glaser writes of the "incredible isolation," then of the nightmare of watching the disease take possession of her uncomplaining five-year-old. Ariel is soon in great pain, unable to walk, eat, or speak, her brain "atrophied." Quickly, Glaser realized that doctors knew little about AIDS in children (why does the disease attack their central nervous systems?), that children with AIDS couldn't get AZT—then the only effective drug—and that they had no advocate. Keenly aware of her privileged position, Glaser began her indefatigable fight to raise research money, lobbying in Washington (speaking even with Reagan) and setting up The Pediatric AIDS Foundation; this funding fight has helped her transcend the devastation of her daughter's death. Aided by Palmer (Shrapnel in the Heart, 1987) Glaser speaks with candor of fear, rage (particularly at The National Enquirer, which forced the family to break the story), and grief so sharp that she can handle it only alone. She expresses (sometimes in understandably sentiment-filled language) her love for her family, and gratitude to constant friends, certainly "the real live angels." A powerful story of private and public dimension—sad, but not without hope—through which a courageous woman gives voice to the estimated 20,000 American children who now have AIDS.
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