Stephanie Nolen has crafted a series of haunting, absorbing and deeply moving profiles of people from many walks of life and circumstances (from a truck driver to a doctor to a beleagured grandmother to Nelson Mandela), all dealing with the scourge of HIV/AIDS in their lives and communities. I anticipated that this book might be a depressing read, but the individuals profiled are engaging and inspiring, even as their stories wrench at your heart.
Still, the societal forces that continue to allow the disease to spread through neglect, fear, prejudice, ignorance and worse are infuriating, and *that* is depressing. What the 28 individuals exemplify and what Nolen exhorts at the end of the book is that the most vital thing we can all do to fight this pandemic is to fearlessly and persistently talk about it. She also details and personally endorses AIDS care and treatment organizations in Africa that probably deserve everyone’s support.