Published by Grove Press on August 2nd 2016
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I had actually never even heard of this book until I read a friends review. Then I began to read other reviews on this book. Almost everyone on my friend’s list, who has read it, loved it. While I was cautiously optimistic about this book, I also thought “Oh Shit!” what if I don’t like it? Then guess what? I stared it and I didn’t care for it – initially. So I put it down after 30 or so pages and read several other books and I would pick up Christodora and read a page or two, here and there.
I have a 100 page rule. I have to read the first 100 pages before I decide it I don’t want to finish. It is extremely rare for me not to finish a book. So I decided to pick up Christodora once again and it give the old college try. By page 50 (which is about Hector), I was on board. I was like the proverbial fly on the wall. Watching the happenings of a group of people residing at/or who once resided at the Christodora in the Manhattan’s east village.
The novel jumps around in time from the 10980’s to the 2020’s. This book follows the lives of Milly and Jared, both young artists who adopted a young boy named Mateo and Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist who has become an addict. This book tells the story of AIDS, adoption, what makes a family, addiction, homosexuality, battling personal demons, identity, acceptance, loneliness and love.
As I mentioned earlier, the story does jump back and forth in time with the chapter headings informing us where and what time we are in. My favorite part was when Hector said “I did something right” in regards to another character. Be warned, this is not a happy go lucky tale. It is a raw look at NYC during the AIDS epidemic. It is both well written and moving.
So if this book starts slow for you as it did me, give it some time and a little patience as the story will build and enthrall you.