[GN] Pedro and Me – Judd Winick
March 7, 2010 § 12 Comments
Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned
This is not an easy book to write about.
Like all books, we start them with a certain kind of feeling, expectation. We might know the author, read some of their other work and loved them, and expect this book to be the same. Maybe it was recommended by someone whose taste you particularly trust. Or maybe you’re giving the author a second chance after not liking your first experience with them. Maybe it’s a book everyone’s been raving about, and you just want to know what it’s all about.
Or maybe it’s a book like this one. Starting it, I knew what the book would be about. It would be about being gay, being HIV-positive, and living with it. What I didn’t know, and had no way to prepare myself for, was how it would make me feel.
I still don’t know what it was about the book that touched me on such an emotional level. It might have been Judd’s honest portrayal of his own stereotypical prejudices, how he first reacted when he found out he’d be housemates with someone who was gay and HIV-positive. Or it could have been the warmth of how Judd and Pedro became friends so naturally. Or maybe it was how Pedro’s spirit was so present, his challenges so heart-felt, his pain so real.
The story was about Pedro and Judd, but it felt like it could have been a story about any one of us.
In my library, it’s categorised as a book for teens. I honestly feel that it’s a book for everyone. If you’re someone like me, who’s never known anyone living with AIDS, read this book, and afterwards, you’ll be able to say that you know someone who was HIV-positive; you’d know Pedro. If you’re someone who knows someone living with AIDS, read this book, and you’ll find a kindred spirit in Judd. If you are yourself a person living with AIDS, read this book and get to know Pedro, if you don’t already, and you’ll find that you’re not alone, and you’ll find the strength to continue living.
I almost never do or say this, but if I could, I’d make everyone read this book. If only just to learn a little about the life of Pedro Zamora, his friendship with Judd Winick, and to take something away from reading this brief account of their lives – kindness, compassion and love for common good.
* Note: This being a graphic novel qualifies it for the LGBT March mini-challenge.
* Note #2: It might not make you cry, this book, but it made me cry. That’s how deeply I felt everything.