Author/Narrator: Elton John
Publication Year: 2012
Pages: 256 (audio length: 5 hours 6 minutes)
Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com
From the cover:
In the 1980s, Elton John saw friend after friend, loved one after loved one, perish needlessly from AIDS. He befriended Ryan White, a young Indiana boy ostracized because of his HIV infection. Ryan’s inspiring life and devastating death led Elton to two realizations: His own life was a mess. And he had to do something to help stop the AIDS crisis.
Since then, Elton has dedicated himself to overcoming the plague and the stigma of AIDS. The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised and donated $275 million to date to fighting the disease worldwide. Love Is the Cure includes stories of Elton’s close friendships with Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and others, and the story of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
This is the first book that I’ve read from the non-fiction category of the Audie Awards. I kind of expected the book to be a personal reflection of Elton John’s experiences during the AIDS crisis (particularly in the beginning, since he was probably at his peak of popularity then). It is this, in part, but not completely. A large focus in the book is on the AIDS policies of governments, especially the United States, and on the politics surrounding the epidemic.
I found certain parts of the book more engaging than others. For example, I enjoyed the bits where John discussed the personal connections he had with people who had dealt with AIDS, such as his relationship with Ryan White. It really felt like it put a specific face to the issue. Personally, I was also happy that John dealt with the stigma that certain HIV/AIDS sufferers have to deal with because of not being seen as “innocent” by the general public, such as intravenous drug users. I also found it interesting that John has taken such a strong view on the responsibility that the US – and other countries – play in the fight against the disease and the failure to have eradicated it. He makes it very clear that he holds certain groups more responsible than others and lays out things they could have done to halt the spread of AIDS but have chosen not to do.
Having said that, I would recommend this book to people who are interested in reading about John’s foundation and the contributions that are being made to help support people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, and to those who want to know more about how the US responded in the beginning of the crisis. It’s not as much of a comprehensive view of things as I had thought – and hoped – it would be, though. Love is the Cure is an interesting personal statement, and I enjoyed listening to it, but I’m sure there are other books out there that are more interesting, detailed, and useful regarding the topic, and that don’t rely quite so much on “star power” for promotion and interest.