ruuger: Freddie Mercury wearing a crown (Freddie)
[personal profile] ruuger posting in [community profile] freddiemercuryfans
Has anyone else read this book yet? I got it for Christmas and I'm not quite sure what I thought about it.

The biographical stuff was mostly second hand sources (only people really close to Freddie that the authors had actually interviewed themselves were Peter Straker and Jim Beach) so there wasn't much new there. The main premise of the book - putting Freddie's life into the context of the gay scene of the 60-80's and the rise of AIDS - was quite interesting, and it sometimes felt like the actual biographical parts were just padding.

My main problem was that there seemed to be a lot of speculation. There was a list of sources in the back, linked to the text with footnotes, but other times there would be long sections without any linked sources that were given just as much weight as interview quotes. Sometimes these parts would even contradict things that were sourced. For example, the writers clearly had their own theory on when Freddie contracted HIV and how long he knew about it, and ignored all the evidence contrary while latching on to the ones that supported their theory. The writers were also *really* obsessed with trying to connect Freddie with Gaetan Dugas (the much-maligned "Patient Zero" of AIDS).

I also got the feeling that the book had been rushed so that it could be published in time for the anniversary of Freddie's death. There was a lot of repetition, and several parts of the book could have used heavy editing.]

Date: 2017-01-03 05:43 pm (UTC)
egret: Capt. Janeway reading a paid (Default)
From: [personal profile] egret
I have the book but haven't read it yet. Hopefully will do so. Y the end of the month. I am sorry to read your description as I had hoped that the AIDS history was handled more thoughtfully.

Date: 2017-01-04 07:13 am (UTC)
egret: image of ailing Freddie Mercury (finally)
From: [personal profile] egret
In the US it was being reviewed mostly by LGBT media and was described specifically as an exploration of Freddie's life and its historical trajectory with the media AIDS panic/healthcare AIDS crisis. (Since many people are still dying of AIDS it is hard to write about this historically.)

Anyway, without going into my politics of AIDS rant right now, I am interested because many years ago I wrote a paper about Freddie as an AIDS artist. (Realizing he may have rejected that label for himself, he nevertheless fits the bill.)
I will post when I get a chance to read it :)

Date: 2017-01-03 08:51 pm (UTC)
swordznsorcery: (queen)
From: [personal profile] swordznsorcery
Medical science has absolved "Patient Zero" of everything that he was accused of anyway, so trying to link him to anybody seems rather pointless! Genetic analysis, and study of medical records, points to a much older origin of the AIDS epidemic in America. It just went unnoticed for a long time, being misidentified (understandably) as other conditions. It wasn't until it hit the west coast that people began to pay real attention.

As to Freddie, we know from what his doctors have said about their need to contact him with the test results, that he probably became positive in around 1987. Why try to make an issue of the date?

To be honest, any book that isn't official is something to be wary of. Especially with somebody like Freddie, who was a: very private, so there are less known details, and b: is a favourite subject for speculation and nasty rumour.

Thanks for the review!

Date: 2017-01-04 07:14 am (UTC)
egret: Freddie Mercury in drag (pretender)
From: [personal profile] egret
Thank you for laying out actual AIDS facts!

Date: 2017-01-05 08:09 am (UTC)
swordznsorcery: (Default)
From: [personal profile] swordznsorcery
:)

There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about AIDS. I try to keep up to date on research, but it's not always easy.

Date: 2017-01-05 08:15 am (UTC)
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
From: [personal profile] swordznsorcery
I don't believe for a minute that he was infected that early. He would never have been as powerful a presence on the Magic Tour if so. Nowadays people can be HIV+ and live more or less normal lives, but in the eighties that sadly was just not the case for the vast majority.

Did he take some silly risks in the early eighties, and behave in a reckless fashion? Yes, though that was his choice, and appears to have been an informed one. But he wasn't infected then. The fact that it seems to have happened later, after he had made the decision to live more sensibly, only makes it all the more sad (and ought to make for a better tale in a book, really, but what do I know!)

Date: 2017-01-03 10:36 pm (UTC)
heartonsnow: (freddie-pretender)
From: [personal profile] heartonsnow
Thanks for this review as it is exactly the book I would buy if I saw it and exactly the book I would hate on reading!

Freddie was a rock legend who was a very private person, I feel sure he would not approve of this book.

Date: 2017-01-04 10:06 pm (UTC)
heartonsnow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heartonsnow
The "Daily Fail" as I call it......