LIFE IS NOT A REHEARSAL: A Memoir by David Brudnoy

LIFE IS NOT A REHEARSAL: A Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The curiously disjointed memoirs of a conservative talk-radio host who created a national ruckus when he came out in late 1994 as a gay man with AIDS. Brudnoy, whose late-night show on Boston's WBZ-AM is broadcast to 38 states, grew up in Minneapolis, an only child in an extended Jewish family (including one uncle imprisoned for killing one of his dental patients). He spent a summer in Japan during high school and majored in Japanese studies at Yale, where he also had his first love affair with a man. After graduate studies at Harvard and another brief but serious gay relationship, the young (infinity)ber-liberal Brudnoy taught for two years at a black college in Houston at the height of the civil rights era. While there, he encountered the writings of Ayn Rand, which converted him in alarmingly short order to the conservative cause. Moving back to Boston, Brudnoy embarked on a prolific career as an essayist and reviewer for the National Review and other publications. In an intriguing parallel development, the author discovered a voracious fondness for psychedelic drugs, and apparently spent most of the '70s tripping his brains out while churning out commentary for William F. Buckley and Boston public television. As with many troubling facets of his life, Brudnoy accepts responsibility yet tosses off any attempt at understanding what motivated his actions. His concurrent drinking problem and failure since his Houston days to have any romantic relationships outside of bar pickups are similarly shrugged off. Brudnoy's devoted radio audience and his colleagues and friends offered tremendous support after he was stricken by AIDS two years ago; he itemizes their kindnesses while thoroughly recounting the harrowing specifics of his medical condition. While Brudnoy's fighting spirit in the face of AIDS is admirable, he fails to offer us a handle on what his various struggles have meant to him.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1997
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday