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Book Review: 'First Comes Love'

Posted on

First Comes Love

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Marion Winik
publisher:
Pantheon
genre:
Memoir, Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

The vivid autobiography First Comes Love combines two familiar genres: the feminist confessional (”How I outgrew my first husband”) and the elegiac AIDS memoir (”How my partner was cut down in the prime of life”). Marion Winik — an author and NPR commentator — married Tony knowing he was gay, HIV-positive, and interested in drugs. Her own drug interest waned when their two healthy sons were born. For a while the happy family (she’s HIV-negative) defied the odds and expectations. But Tony’s AIDS, his drug addictions, and Winik’s betrayals wrecked their marriage. They separated; he came home only to die. The feminist confessional feels too quick and breezy. But the AIDS memoir sweeps all before it, with headlong honesty and courage. Winik admits her failings: ”I never really believed he was dying … and therefore couldn’t empathize.” However, she empathizes posthumously, with a heartrending chapter written from her husband’s point of view: ”She will see his children grow up and he will not.” B+

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