I'LL NOT GO QUIETLY: Mary Fisher Speaks Out by Mary Fisher

I'LL NOT GO QUIETLY: Mary Fisher Speaks Out

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A second well-intentioned collection of speeches by an HIV-positive artist and mother who first gained national attention by addressing the 1992 Republican National Convention. AIDS activist Fisher (Sleep with the Angels, 1993) has a straightforward message: Everyone is at risk for AIDS, and everyone with HIV or AIDS deserves compassion and support. There are no ""innocent"" or ""guilty"" means of HIV transmission, she admirably insists; the only thing ""evil"" in the AIDS crisis is the ignorance that allows HIV to keep spreading. Fisher delivered the book's first speech at a September 1993 memorial service for her former husband, from whom she contracted the virus (she was diagnosed after they were divorced). Over the subsequent 14 months documented here she spoke to an impressively diverse array of audiences, including Christian and Jewish congregations, female convicts, AIDS caregivers, an FDA committee on home testing for HIV, and a capacity crowd at a San Francisco Giants game. Even in a talk given at an American Jewish Committee tribute to her father, industrialist Max M. Fisher, she deftly works in her compassionate message about AIDS. As polished by her collaborator, A. James Heynen (credited in the acknowledgments, if not on the title page), the speeches have some eloquent moments. But many of the rhetorical devices that might work when said aloud seem stilted on paper, particularly when recycled from speech to speech: Fisher's awkward description of people with HIV as ""pilgrims on the road to AIDS,"" for instance, becomes no more graceful after a half-dozen repetitions. The inclusion of photos of the author's two small, cute children at the start of each speech is sentimental overkill. Fisher can only be applauded for pursuing a necessary humanitarian mission; readers with a fairly high tolerance for the tics of inspirational lit should find her testimonials touching.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1995
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scribner