An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

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NURSES ON THE INSIDE

STORIES OF THE HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC IN NYC

In this debut book, two nurses show how the advent of the HIV infection permanently altered a vulnerable minority and the boundaries of global health care.

Based on actual events in their lives, career clinicians Matzer and Hughes begin their intensive, exquisitely moving narrative at the end of the 1970s in a Manhattan hospital where rapid-onset, opportunistic infections like pneumocystis carinii pneumonia first began immobilizing gay men at alarming rates. From the first hints of a “Gay Cancer” to future milestones in disease developments and pharmaceutical intervention, the authors diligently and compassionately narrate firsthand how a community joined together throughout the ’80s and ’90s to care for the dying, to inspire solidarity through candlelight vigils, to extinguish stigma and shame, and to fight for the right to die with dignity. With seamless ease, the book’s timeline smoothly oscillates back and forth from Matzer’s and Hughes’ historical trajectories through their grueling nursing school years into their close friendship and essential work with AIDS patients. Supplementing this poignant chronicle are reflections from both authors on the positive and negative aspects of that indelible era. As an open lesbian who was closeted when the epidemic began, Hughes remarks that she used to view the entire period of death and disease “through my identity as a gay woman, but lately, I think I have viewed it as a New Yorker. I felt that way especially after 9/11.” For lay readers, clinical footnotes are sprinkled throughout, offering explanations and specific terminology on disease symptoms and medical procedures. Structured in an intensely personalized manner with heartfelt prose and intimate, exacting details, the work ushers readers right into the authors’ AIDS ward, where sick men and women lay dying, at the mercy of homophobia and cruel bias, as disease researchers rushed to demystify and mitigate the medical carnage while perplexed politicians vacillated. The book is also a touching tribute to the resilience of a community; its unified, unconditional allies; and the human kindness that continues to interconnect everyone in times of horrific atrocities. “Despite all the bullshit that happens,” Matzer declares, “most of us come together when we need to.”        

An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951072-01-8

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Tree District Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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