Title: All The Young Men
Author: Ruth Corker Burks
Length: 304 pages
Synopsis: In 1986, 26 year old Ruth visits a friend in hospital when she notices that the door to one of the hospital rooms is painted red. She witnesses nurses drawing straws to see who would tend to the patient inside, all of them reluctant to enter the room. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters the quarantined space and immediately begins to care for the young man who cries for his mother in the last moments of his life. Before she can even begin to process what she’s done, word spreads in the community that Ruth is the only person willing to help these young men afflicted by AIDS, and is called upon to nurse them. As she forges deep relationships with the men she helps, she works tirelessly to find them housing and jobs, even searching for funeral homes willing to take their bodies – often in the middle of the night.
All The Young Men was a book I’d seen some of my bookstagram friends have this book, so I was lucky to be sent a copy of from the publisher.
This is a tricky book for me to review because it’s a memoir and it’s always strange to review a memoir because it’s someone’s life. But unfortunately for me, this book just missed the mark.
I’m not saying it’s a bad book, but with it’s subject matter I just think it could’ve been really profound and moving but it was just meh. There’s a few reasons why it didn’t work for me, so let’s chat about them.
In this book Ruth talks about her experiences with gay men, that are often in the last hours of their life dying of AIDS, but I just found their was no emotional connection. Especially in the beginning, you didn’t get to know any of the men and it just felt a bit rushed. Towards the end of the book, you got to know the men a bit more and I found it more emotional, but it just didn’t work for me.
It was very informative about AIDS and it really highlights the horrific symptoms and the shocking treatment that AIDS patient received in the 1990. It does highlight how far we’ve come in our attitudes and science.
The book was mix between the men the author meet and her own personal life. For me the balance was off, but I don’t know why. Is it bad to say I just wasn’t that interested in person life? I know that does sound bad but it’s the truth. I just had no emotional connection to any part of this book.
And the ending was so strange and abrupt. I turned the page and couldn’t believe it was over. And then there was the epilogue that was packed full of the authors personal life but it was rushed. I just didn’t get it.
I don’t know if I’d recommend this one. Like I said it didn’t have the right balance for me, but I did like how informative it was.
Thanks to Orion books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest unbiased review. It’s out January 21st
Until the next review