Admittedly, when the review request came in for Elton John’s first novel, Love Is The Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of Aids, I didn’t focus on the latter half of the title — thinking I’d be reading more about his iconic musical career. Rather, what I experienced was an astounding story of John addressing the personal milestones and struggles of his life and career within the larger context of the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life.
John uses personal anecdotes of his close friends including Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, but starts with the story of Ryan White. The thirteen-year-old White was a hemophiliac who received a tainted blood transfusion, contracted the HIV virus, and was ostracized by his own community. Seriously, the horror stories of his treatment will blind you with rage. But White was not to be deterred, he lived an inspiring life, brought national attention to the disease, and his devastating death led John to two realizations: His own life was a mess. And he had to do something to help stop the AIDS crisis.
The singer makes a compelling argument using government reports and information from healthcare foundations to suggest that we are much closer than we thought to winning the fight against HIV/AIDS, but yet, there is still no cure. He contends a large part fighting the battle against the disease is rooted in love. John says, “This is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine, but by changing hearts and minds, and through a collective effort to break down social barriers and to build bridges of compassion Why are we not doing more?”
John has dedicated himself to overcoming the stigma of AIDS and finding a cure. For the past 20 years he has done this through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised and donated $275 million to-date to fighting the disease worldwide. His story is a powerful one of conviction and emotional force, which conveys the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life, and his infinite determination to stop its spread.
What you realize as you read this book is that while a cure would be magnificent — it’s more about fighting a larger battle of ignorance, fear, and hatred by our own peers, loved ones, and even more scary — our government officials and religious leaders. It’s pretty eye-opening.
The sale of Love Is the Cure will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation — thus furthering John’s commitment to the fight and raising awareness. Do you have to purchase this book to help? Not necessarily. You can do your part with love and tolerance, but purchasing this book does help you understand the larger struggle.