[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.

Rating: 5

* 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.

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§ 12 Responses to [GN] Pedro and Me – Judd Winick

  • Thanks for the review. I haven’t heard of the book, but after reading your thoughts, I do want to.

    Thinking about it I haven’t read anything that deals with HIV.

  • Kristen M. says:

    I watched the show when it was originally on and I still think about Pedro every once in a while. He was really such a good person and a very important role model at the time. I’m glad that you are still finding his example relevant!

  • Nymeth says:

    Wonderful review, Michelle. I’ll read it for sure.

  • Amanda says:

    I agree this was an amazing book. I read it last August. it was beautiful.

  • mee says:

    I must say that the cover didn’t convince me at all, but I check the other cover and it looks much better. I also wouldn’t’ve thought it’s a graphic novel from the cover above! Is it a movie tie-in or something? Anyway, the book sounds wonderful and I hope to read it in the future.

    • Michelle says:

      I know. I didn’t like this cover either. The other cover is way better.

      The book’s not a movie tie-in, but it is based on a TV reality show, MTV’s The Real World, where a group of strangers are put in a house and stay together for about 6 months. I didn’t know about this show until I read the book, but apparently quite a number of Americans followed the series.

  • Nikola says:

    This sounds amazing! I love books that make you go, oh if only EVERYONE would read this, the world would be a better place. 🙂

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