The Prettiest Star

The Prettiest Star

Book - 2020 | First edition
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"Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die. At eighteen, Brian, like so many other promising young gay men, arrived in New York City without much more than a love for the freedom and release from his past that it promised. But within six short years, AIDS would claim his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape. Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death shifted the public consciousness of the epidemic and brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, The Prettiest Star is part Dog Years by Mark Doty and part Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. But it is also an urgent story now: it a novel about the politics and fragility of the body; it is a novel about sex and shame. And it is a novel that speaks to the question of what home and family means when we try to forge a life for ourselves in a world that can be harsh and unpredictable. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, and zeros in on the moments where those two forces reach for each other, and sometimes touch."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Spartanburg, SC : Hub City Press, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781938235627
Branch Call Number: SICKELS
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 24 cm


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Apr 25, 2021

I finished this book in just two sittings. It's a beautifully written, but incredibly heavy book that I just could not seem to put down.

LunaLibraryGirl Apr 21, 2021

This book is set in the 1980s, a time when I was an older teen. I remember the AIDS crisis and how terrifying it was. No one knew what caused it and people were dying. This book brings back all these memories of that time. It also reminds us of how the LGBTQ community was shunned by everyone, including their families (still happening today.) The story reminds us of the humanity and the common need for acceptance, especially in your family. The Prettiest Star is a heart-breaking beautiful read with a soulful look into the pain and agony of LGBTQ people just wanting love and acceptance.

Mild sexual content, drug use, and TW for LGBTQ related slurs.

IndyPL_ChaseM Jan 23, 2021

Set in 1986, “The Prettiest Star” by Carter Sickels tells the story of a young man dying of AIDS who returns to his childhood home in a small Ohio town for the last moments of his life. The story borrows heavily from an infamous episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where Oprah visited a community that had made national news when an AIDS afflicted man had swam in the town’s public pool. It’s a brutal episode to watch as the man faces the anger and fear of a town filled with ignorance and no compassion. (This episode can be found online, and I recommend watching it after reading this book.) This fictional account is a heartbreaking tale told from the perspectives of the young man, Brian, his mother, and his little sister. These characters feel real as they reveal their weaknesses, prejudices, and eventually growth. Even though this book tells a story about a disease we’ve grown to understand better, it still holds relevant in today’s current atmosphere as we once again face a different type of pandemic where misinformation, paranoia, and loss are prevalent.

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