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Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS' Wildfire Days

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When they met, David was a 41-year-old heroin addict, homeless and dying of AIDS. The author was a 27-year-old, self-absorbed, bar-hopping would-be poet--and his caseworker. In 1989, in New York City, there was nothing "manageable" about AIDS, and David would have only eight more months to live. Something about him drew her to him until the boundary between "caseworker" an When they met, David was a 41-year-old heroin addict, homeless and dying of AIDS. The author was a 27-year-old, self-absorbed, bar-hopping would-be poet--and his caseworker. In 1989, in New York City, there was nothing "manageable" about AIDS, and David would have only eight more months to live. Something about him drew her to him until the boundary between "caseworker" and "client" dissolved, and she fell in love with him. Living together in secrecy in his little Lower East Side studio for those final eight months, they hoped for the impossible until it was impossible to hope any more. In the short time they had together--a time that would change them both--they formed a relationship that would, sixteen years later, unexpectedly and with ferocity come back to haunt the author, send her into the full-fledged grief that she had denied herself when David died, and change her life once again. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-...


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When they met, David was a 41-year-old heroin addict, homeless and dying of AIDS. The author was a 27-year-old, self-absorbed, bar-hopping would-be poet--and his caseworker. In 1989, in New York City, there was nothing "manageable" about AIDS, and David would have only eight more months to live. Something about him drew her to him until the boundary between "caseworker" an When they met, David was a 41-year-old heroin addict, homeless and dying of AIDS. The author was a 27-year-old, self-absorbed, bar-hopping would-be poet--and his caseworker. In 1989, in New York City, there was nothing "manageable" about AIDS, and David would have only eight more months to live. Something about him drew her to him until the boundary between "caseworker" and "client" dissolved, and she fell in love with him. Living together in secrecy in his little Lower East Side studio for those final eight months, they hoped for the impossible until it was impossible to hope any more. In the short time they had together--a time that would change them both--they formed a relationship that would, sixteen years later, unexpectedly and with ferocity come back to haunt the author, send her into the full-fledged grief that she had denied herself when David died, and change her life once again. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-...

30 review for Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS' Wildfire Days

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paltia

    A wise friend once cautioned me about reading books like this one. They re open old wounds. Nah, I replied, I’m past that. Nope, I’m not. I approached this book with several defense mechanisms firmly in place. Or so I thought. I wasn’t too far in before that recognition set in and all my defenses crumbled. I found the recognition that sees in Nancy Bevilaqua a sister traveler along the past paths, cluttered with experiences, that one had hoped to have cast off along the way. She tiptoed down tho A wise friend once cautioned me about reading books like this one. They re open old wounds. Nah, I replied, I’m past that. Nope, I’m not. I approached this book with several defense mechanisms firmly in place. Or so I thought. I wasn’t too far in before that recognition set in and all my defenses crumbled. I found the recognition that sees in Nancy Bevilaqua a sister traveler along the past paths, cluttered with experiences, that one had hoped to have cast off along the way. She tiptoed down those same hospital corridors, stumbled up back stairways in anger, and crossed into that place of pain that tears you inside out. She left to put on his favourite blue dress - her mourning apparel - to look her best for him as he lay dying. I conjured up images as I read of a solitary eagle hunting for food or a vine searching for a wall - some kind of support. I was humming a traditional song , “down in the valley, the valley so low; hang your head over, hear the wind blow.” As the waves ebb and flow so does our grief. There are those we meet along the way, those angels that enfold us in their understanding wings and hold our breath when it hurts, till we are ready to once again breathe on our own. I took a walk when I was done against the mild protests of visiting friends as it was pouring rain. I knew that when I came back I wouldn’t have to explain my tears as I’d have the ready made excuse of simply needing to dry the wetness from outside off my face. Because any explanation would feel inadequate. It’s too big a story, far too big for my words. So I find myself grateful that Nancy, dear soul, has done the talking for me and for many of us. She matched the pace of my sorrows. We should all strive to be kind as her particularly to those least among us. There was that last promise. Will you stay with me till the end? I promised and I stayed. Oh, where have you gone to wildest spirit? I’d like to imagine you in some other dimension, still smiling and laughing. I miss you so much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos)(RK)

    Holding Breath is a story that operates at many different levels. It is, as the subtitle says, a memoir. However, it is just as much a disquisition on the fallibility of memory. The story is a scrapbook of notes, poems, letters, conversations and scraps of paper with scribbled moments. Memory, aided by imagination, fills in the rest. It strikes me that more than anything else, Holding Breath is a book about a search, like a mystery novel, wherein the writer, Nancy, is going off in search of some Holding Breath is a story that operates at many different levels. It is, as the subtitle says, a memoir. However, it is just as much a disquisition on the fallibility of memory. The story is a scrapbook of notes, poems, letters, conversations and scraps of paper with scribbled moments. Memory, aided by imagination, fills in the rest. It strikes me that more than anything else, Holding Breath is a book about a search, like a mystery novel, wherein the writer, Nancy, is going off in search of someone from her past, David...and Nancy herself. The book is also a confession: a confession of illicit, unfulfilled, uncertain love; a confession of guilt, remorse and obsession. Is it all driven by "disenfranchised grief", a rather clunky term for grief that we cannot share, cannot express because we have the sense that society has not given us the right to grieve? From the beginning of Holding Breath, the object of Nancy's search is almost skeletal, both figuratively and literally. David, rather than becoming a more complete character, seems to be slipping between Nancy's fingers and between the lines. Her memories of David are spectral, uncertain. For the reader, there is a struggle to understand who David is and why Nancy seems to be so taken with him. We discover a great deal about Nancy and her inner struggles, her caring and devotion, but until David's death we have few solid objects to hold on to. Like Nancy, we want to know more. It is only after David's ashes are in the ground that Nancy goes in search of the real David...and the real Nancy. Nancy becomes obsessed with the search so that she might know who and what they were so many years before. Nancy's unresolved, "disenfranchised" grief seems to take over her life as the reader is taken through the scrapbook of David's life from birth, childhood, parenthood and final days as drug addict and AIDS victim. Through these scraps a life is brought into view. Like all of our lives, there are still uncertainties about the past. Vagueness, forgetfulness, and deception all play a role in putting our personal pasts together. Trying to trace the life of another, especially the life of someone like David who had no real roots, no lasting family connections, is never perfect. Nancy has done an admirable job of solving many of the mysteries. Perhaps most importantly we come to understand her obsession and her love for David. One can only hope that Nancy has found peace and has been able to let go. She has paid a high price in her personal life during her years of searching and writing. She deserves the rewards that she has brought to her readers. As I finished this book yesterday, I received news of my mother's death. I am now sorting through my imperfect memories of my unhappy childhood with my mother and my children's delightful grandmother. The first didn't seem to know how to hold me or to say "I love you". The second was all hugs and kisses, games and desserts. After reading Nancy's book, I realize how likely it is that my memories are distorted and full of gaps. I have some exploration of my own to do. Thanks for the book Nancy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Marie Gabriel

    Grief is grief whether we are allowed to feel it or not; it is intense whether a sexual relationship exists or not; it is real whether the relationship is open and sanctioned by marriage, blood ties or other formality or whether it is kept hidden for personal or professional reasons. I was moved to buy and read Holding Breath by a poem that Nancy Bevilaqua had shared on Goodreads. The poem made me cry which is unusual. I am often moved to tears by sad films and classical music, but rarely by poe Grief is grief whether we are allowed to feel it or not; it is intense whether a sexual relationship exists or not; it is real whether the relationship is open and sanctioned by marriage, blood ties or other formality or whether it is kept hidden for personal or professional reasons. I was moved to buy and read Holding Breath by a poem that Nancy Bevilaqua had shared on Goodreads. The poem made me cry which is unusual. I am often moved to tears by sad films and classical music, but rarely by poetry. Initially I thought I was going to buy a poetry anthology because I wanted to read more by this poet. When I read the description I realised I was buying a memoir. Memoir and biography are genres I dip into occasionally so I thought “What the hey! Let’s give it a try!” It was only sleepiness that prevented me reading the whole thing in one sitting. It was not so much the short length as the power of the story and the depth of skill in Nancy Bevilaqua’s prose. It was almost like being her- certainly like being with her-as she performed the daily tasks of looking after David who was an AIDs sufferer. The first half of her book held me wrapt, the second half had me curious to learn more and share her journey of discovery into David’s background. The theme of disenfranchised grief is one that resonates with me personally. The total isolation, lack of understanding of others and difficulty of sharing with those closest to you is therefore a familiar theme. This is intense and intimate writing about a personal loss that is not for those who are easily upset. Nevertheless there is a brutal honesty in this story that will strike a chord with anyone who has a heart and the reality of the AIDs epidemic before drug treatments controlled symptoms and prolonged life is certainly something I well remember. This is a book that I will hold in my heart for some time to come and that I can heartily recommend to anyone interested in this period of history or tragic personal memoirs that are beautifully stated.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mal Gormley

    Alright, this is probably unfair, but I read because my sister wrote it. But I loved it because it revealed who my sister really is. For many complicated (but not altogether bad) reasons, Nancy & I have had an on-again, off-again relationship over the years. The period she describes in Holding Breath happened when we were out of touch. The last I'd known her she was still a teenager. I knew she was incredibly bright, funny and immensely creative. We got in touch again not too long ago, but befor Alright, this is probably unfair, but I read because my sister wrote it. But I loved it because it revealed who my sister really is. For many complicated (but not altogether bad) reasons, Nancy & I have had an on-again, off-again relationship over the years. The period she describes in Holding Breath happened when we were out of touch. The last I'd known her she was still a teenager. I knew she was incredibly bright, funny and immensely creative. We got in touch again not too long ago, but before she'd finished Holding Breath. Since I am also a sometimes-writer, she ran some draft portions of the book by me for some feedback. I was intrigued but she hadn't sent me enough to get a real sense of the story. I said what I hoped were encouraging words and we spoke no more about it for a while. I kept my fingers crossed that she'd follow through and publish the book. When Nancy published it, I bought a hard copy and well, loved it. Why? Because I now had an adult sister with a depth of compassion for her fellow humankind that is far deeper than mine, to be sure. And she's a far better writer than me. So I'm just proud as hell to say Nancy's my sister and she's written a helluva book. Other reviewers here have said all that I would and more, so I won't repeat that. Just read it. Check your judgement at the door. You're about to be schooled about love, kindness and commitment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Ok where do I start...? I entered a giveaway on Goodreads.com and actually won!!!! Well firstly I must point out that it is a well-spoken, well written book. . Some might be a little concerned about the counselor, client deal… (It is a little taboo).But hell the man was dying they were both adults let him have his dignity and not die with a home nurse who doesn’t even know him. How impersonal. I would be grateful to know my family was being cared for when everyone else could care less. He is someo Ok where do I start...? I entered a giveaway on Goodreads.com and actually won!!!! Well firstly I must point out that it is a well-spoken, well written book. . Some might be a little concerned about the counselor, client deal… (It is a little taboo).But hell the man was dying they were both adults let him have his dignity and not die with a home nurse who doesn’t even know him. How impersonal. I would be grateful to know my family was being cared for when everyone else could care less. He is someone’s Son, Brother, he was a person who deserved the respect There are times when there are places described and I Google and get a brief description of the streets not a whole lay-out but a brief description is it a busy road what part of town, things like that (always adds to my book experience) if it’s even still there after 15+ years (I love books that make me feel like I’m there with the author, or I've lived it)..There were times I was genuinely sad my heart ached, and then there were times that I was so happy that this woman took the RISK to help this man with a meaningful last gift in his life. In this book is a very emotional book I can almost tell you you are stone if you don’t feel just some emotion after finishing this book I know myself I was beat-down, my heart ached, I was crying and proud to know this woman if only on goodreads.com…. well I really enjoyed this book so much and hope you do to ALSO A REVIEW ON AMAZON.COM

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Biddle

    Nancy Bevilaqua has written a memoir of the last days of the 1980s as she lived them. She was young and in love with an older man named David who was a heroin addict and dying of AIDs. This story is tender, desperate, loving, searching, and quietly profound. Holding Breath is the best of what indie published books can be. It is raw, natural and unabashedly lyrical. The real virtue of independent writing is that it is informed solely by the author’s intent. The language is honest and direct, the Nancy Bevilaqua has written a memoir of the last days of the 1980s as she lived them. She was young and in love with an older man named David who was a heroin addict and dying of AIDs. This story is tender, desperate, loving, searching, and quietly profound. Holding Breath is the best of what indie published books can be. It is raw, natural and unabashedly lyrical. The real virtue of independent writing is that it is informed solely by the author’s intent. The language is honest and direct, the structure unpredictable and organic. A publishing house would surely look to “tighten” the structure of this book and maybe make the writing more concise, push the pacing. But that would reduce the honesty and diminish the immediacy of the emotion on Bevilaqua’s pages. One of the most important roles that memoir has is it's ability to mimic our consciousness of memory. This memoir is particularly interesting in that regard. Writing like that in Holding Breath reminds us that truly good books are about plugging into our common, unwashed humanity. Powerful indie writing is all about the nervous system fully exposed and tingling with the electricity of Reality — whether unexpurgated love, or the excruciating ache of loss and sorrow — mainlined from the writer’s mind directly into the reader’s heart.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom Harvey

    I came across this memoir by pure chance - Nancy was offering her memoir for free at the same time I was offering mine free - in one word: WOW! I'm the type of reader that can start 6 books and finish, maybe, 1 of them. Nancy's story of love - that's really what it is if you had to condense it to a few words - had me reading on the plane, in the rental car, before and after Christmas dinner, every chance I could sneak I snuck. And while Nancy's story is that of her love and adoration for a man dyi I came across this memoir by pure chance - Nancy was offering her memoir for free at the same time I was offering mine free - in one word: WOW! I'm the type of reader that can start 6 books and finish, maybe, 1 of them. Nancy's story of love - that's really what it is if you had to condense it to a few words - had me reading on the plane, in the rental car, before and after Christmas dinner, every chance I could sneak I snuck. And while Nancy's story is that of her love and adoration for a man dying of AIDs and her struggle to write his story after his death (a request he made and one she struggled with for nearly 2 decades), it really is HER story as well. I wrote a eulogy once for a friend of mine who died of cancer; he married his high-school sweetheart, a girl I'd also known since Jr. High. It went: "Together they radiated a genuine bond of love. When two good people come together, well, that's a pretty special thing." That little blurb kept playing in my mind as I read Nancy's story. Poignant, heartbreaking and beautifully written, Nancy kept her promise to David in an unforgettable story that deserves a mainstream audience. Beautiful and written from the heart...thank you Nancy. Tom Harvey author of "The Eighties: A Bitchen Time To Be a Teenager!"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    from beginning to end Holding Breath made words bring to life Nancy Bevilacqua's unselfish, heartbreaking, and committed love for David, an AIDS patient in the 80's. At 22 Nancy was a Counsulor for Medicaid. Against company policy Nancy found herself getting attached to David and wanted to take care of him as he was not going to live much longer. The writer conveyed love in so many ways and words bringing every moment to life. The struggles, the yearning, the happiness they brought each other - ev from beginning to end Holding Breath made words bring to life Nancy Bevilacqua's unselfish, heartbreaking, and committed love for David, an AIDS patient in the 80's. At 22 Nancy was a Counsulor for Medicaid. Against company policy Nancy found herself getting attached to David and wanted to take care of him as he was not going to live much longer. The writer conveyed love in so many ways and words bringing every moment to life. The struggles, the yearning, the happiness they brought each other - even if it was being silent together. Nancy was with a man with incurable AIDS for 8 months kn owing she could be stricken with the same fate. Fearless no doubt. Nancy was left with many years of sadness when she had to say goodbye to David. I felt all of her heartache, what-if's, good memories and bad... I can truly say that Nancy knew a love like no other and I am thankful that at David's request, she wrote about David and shared this story with us.

  9. 5 out of 5

    boekverslaafde

    I was really looking forward to reading this book, and a generous friend sent a copy to me, so I immediately sat down to read it. In the beginning of the book, the author states that she basically compiled all of her poems, journal entries, and other attempts of a somewhat fictional book, and put them together to create this book, explaining what she thought needed explaining, and leaving what she felt didn't need explanation to stand on it's own. Once I read that, I was worried that it would hav I was really looking forward to reading this book, and a generous friend sent a copy to me, so I immediately sat down to read it. In the beginning of the book, the author states that she basically compiled all of her poems, journal entries, and other attempts of a somewhat fictional book, and put them together to create this book, explaining what she thought needed explaining, and leaving what she felt didn't need explanation to stand on it's own. Once I read that, I was worried that it would have a disjointed flow to it, making it hard to read and/or follow. I'm glad I was wrong. Somehow Nancy managed to make these differences work well together. I never found myself wondering how something connects to something else. There were a few parts of the book that were separated, where she'd mention it at the front part of the book, then bring it up at the end, and while it seems that she should have put them all together, you realize if she had done that, it would have made the story very disjointed and confusing. I received the first edition of the book, so it was missing a "pivotal piece of the book" according to Mrs. Bevilaqua. She posted the chapter on her blog, and printed a second edition including the chapter in it. The chapter, as it turns out, doesn't hurt the story being left out, but it does explain the meaning of the title, and I can understand why she was "mortified" when she realized the first printing was without it. I don't want to spoil it for those who've not read the chapter, but if you have the first edition, you need to go here to read it. It took my breath away, to read it. 9 little words that make the whole situation explode in your mind. This story is one of love, and life, lived unspoken, but knowing no bounds. You understand, how at the beginning of the story, Nancy's reluctant to voice her love for David. At the end of the book, you realize, she didn't have to. I strongly recommend you read this book, for the story, the education, and maybe most of all, so David's story will live on. Thank you, Nancy for sharing his story with me. It was an incredible journey, and I wish I had known him, though I feel like I did! <3

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Touching....poignant.... so emotional. I cannot imagine the pain and grief that Nancy experienced - at the time she was caring for David - or over the years as she tried to come to terms with her pain and love, but still operate in the realm of "acceptable". Reading Nancy's words - those written now, as she looks back and faces her emotions, and those she wrote during the time living with David and soon after his death - only provides a small glimpse into the love she felt and the pain of losing Touching....poignant.... so emotional. I cannot imagine the pain and grief that Nancy experienced - at the time she was caring for David - or over the years as she tried to come to terms with her pain and love, but still operate in the realm of "acceptable". Reading Nancy's words - those written now, as she looks back and faces her emotions, and those she wrote during the time living with David and soon after his death - only provides a small glimpse into the love she felt and the pain of losing someone that she was never supposed to love. Who can say why we fall in love with the people we do, and who has the right to say that someone does not deserve to be loved? Nancy followed her heart and gave something to David that he may not have thought he deserved... and perhaps made the last 8 months of his life better than the rest put together. I loved this book, although I shed some tears, and am very glad I received it for free through Goodreads.com.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    *goodreads giveaway* - this book was so lovely, and yet so difficult to read. on every page, i could feel the author struggling to deal with her loss, with putting the pieces of david's life together, and with the "what if's" of the 8 months she spent with him. i ached for her - for the things that didn't happen, and for the things that did. i'm certainly old enough to remember the wildfire days of AIDS - even in my little rural town, i knew enough about it to be afraid of catching it and worrie *goodreads giveaway* - this book was so lovely, and yet so difficult to read. on every page, i could feel the author struggling to deal with her loss, with putting the pieces of david's life together, and with the "what if's" of the 8 months she spent with him. i ached for her - for the things that didn't happen, and for the things that did. i'm certainly old enough to remember the wildfire days of AIDS - even in my little rural town, i knew enough about it to be afraid of catching it and worried for the people who had it. nancy's description of life for the people who had it in those early days was so vivid, it was heartbreaking. the layout of the story - bouncing back and forth in time, and shifting from her fictionalization of the story and her diaries was a bit uneven, but overall this is a very worthy read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Opal Mellon

    Sigh... One of those books I read the blurb and don't want to read because I know it will make me sad, but read anyway because I have to hear this person's story, sad though it may be. And it is sad. But love often has a sad ending, and that doesn't make it any less beautiful. I think this author was very brave, both with David, and after, and for writing this. It's an important look into David's life, and I think he would feel honored by it. I was touched by his story, and by the authors willingn Sigh... One of those books I read the blurb and don't want to read because I know it will make me sad, but read anyway because I have to hear this person's story, sad though it may be. And it is sad. But love often has a sad ending, and that doesn't make it any less beautiful. I think this author was very brave, both with David, and after, and for writing this. It's an important look into David's life, and I think he would feel honored by it. I was touched by his story, and by the authors willingness to bond with someone she knew she could lose at any time. Not all of us could be so brave.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    I have just finished reading this book, and very much enjoyed it. Ms. Bevilaqua writes about, what can be an emotive subject, with compassion and understanding, and not once did she point the finger of blame as can so often occur in this type of book. She treats David's story with all the compassion and dignity it deserves If you have very strong religious views about AIDS maybe this may not be the book for you. Also reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.wordpress.com/... I have just finished reading this book, and very much enjoyed it. Ms. Bevilaqua writes about, what can be an emotive subject, with compassion and understanding, and not once did she point the finger of blame as can so often occur in this type of book. She treats David's story with all the compassion and dignity it deserves If you have very strong religious views about AIDS maybe this may not be the book for you. Also reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.wordpress.com/...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Conny

    I was a First Read Winner of this book and I found it to be not only beautifully written but an extremely touching story. I had a hard time putting it down and I felt like I was living the story with the author. And I think I can say with certainty, Nancy you did David proud. I know that this story will stay with me long after I have put the book away.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert Mitchell

    As it worked out, I read Nancy Bevilaqua’s Holding Breath immediately after rereading a bunch of Jack Kerouac. The juxtaposition of the two makes it easier to explain why Holding Breath is a “must read.” Both writers captured the essence of their subjects with a combination of autobiography and thinly veiled fiction (which they unveiled at the earliest opportunity). Both writers are permanently and inextricably intertwined with their art. We react not only to the story or memoir; we react to the As it worked out, I read Nancy Bevilaqua’s Holding Breath immediately after rereading a bunch of Jack Kerouac. The juxtaposition of the two makes it easier to explain why Holding Breath is a “must read.” Both writers captured the essence of their subjects with a combination of autobiography and thinly veiled fiction (which they unveiled at the earliest opportunity). Both writers are permanently and inextricably intertwined with their art. We react not only to the story or memoir; we react to the writers as people. As people, they unhesitatingly confess weaknesses and vulnerabilities that leave readers slightly uncomfortable because in America, it’s only cool to reveal enough weakness to make the inevitable happy ending seem poignant. While each writer firmly grounds their story in history, they take care to illuminate the street-level dynamics too often lost in the “official record.” In Holding Breath, you suffer the stares of passers-by, smell the trash in the New York gutter and feel the warmth of an appreciated cup of coffee. The comparison falls apart, however, when it comes to love. Aside from Maggie Cassidy, Kerouacs’ love interests tragically seem more like interests than loves. Nancy and David, however, strike us as 20th century “star-crossed lovers;” the long list of circumstances arrayed against them merely amplifying the longing and eventual grief. Fortunately for us, Nancy fought through and found peace for herself, her family and her readers. Holding Breath is absolutely a “must read.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Although the book was fairly well written, I feel the title was misleading a little bit. The story was only about the author Nancy and her client David. There were no other victims of AIDS in the book and in fact, they were reclusive for much of the time in which we read about. I have no question that Nancy loved this man, but what worries me is how much of that appears to be based on obsession and delusion. As a human services worker for over ten years, I am horrified as to the level that she br Although the book was fairly well written, I feel the title was misleading a little bit. The story was only about the author Nancy and her client David. There were no other victims of AIDS in the book and in fact, they were reclusive for much of the time in which we read about. I have no question that Nancy loved this man, but what worries me is how much of that appears to be based on obsession and delusion. As a human services worker for over ten years, I am horrified as to the level that she broke protocol-becoming that personally involved with a client- to the point where she moved in with him! Unethical and unprofessional. David may have wanted her company, but it really seemed like he was being kept prisoner (similar to Misery by Stephen King). He goes so far as to remove the ring before he dies! If that doesn't tell her how he felt, I don't know what will. And the other victim in the book- Nancy's husband. Poor guy. I'm sure every husband wants to deal with a wife who becomes so obsessed with a client that had passed years before that she emotionally checks out of her own marriage! I would rather read HIS memoir.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ona Gritz

    Nancy Bevilaqua's Holding Breath is a hauntingly beautiful memoir. It's a love story, and a powerful tribute to a man whose heartbreaking and hardscrabble life, and whose losing battle with AIDS in the days when the virus was an imminent death sentence, neither quelled nor masked his kind and tender nature. But what I found most compelling about the book is that it's also a grappling, a writer's grappling. How do we tell the stories that are entrusted to us? How much can we rely on memory, espec Nancy Bevilaqua's Holding Breath is a hauntingly beautiful memoir. It's a love story, and a powerful tribute to a man whose heartbreaking and hardscrabble life, and whose losing battle with AIDS in the days when the virus was an imminent death sentence, neither quelled nor masked his kind and tender nature. But what I found most compelling about the book is that it's also a grappling, a writer's grappling. How do we tell the stories that are entrusted to us? How much can we rely on memory, especially when it comes to the emotional lives of our younger selves? Bevilaqua asks these questions and takes us with her on her quest to answer them through letters, journal entries, and gorgeously written early drafts of an autobiographical novel she worked on closer to the time her great love, David, was alive and dying before her. Holding Breath is a brave and unusual book that I know will stay with me for a very long time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie and the Daily Book Dose

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  19. 4 out of 5

    Kameron Epps

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Morris

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diana Cook

  24. 4 out of 5

    janie fitzgerald

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  26. 5 out of 5

    April Crumpton

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kallie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  29. 4 out of 5

    ChuckyV

  30. 5 out of 5

    Graycie

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