Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning through Art: HIV/AIDS in Books--Fade to Black, by Alex Finn

Learning through Art: HIV/AIDS in Books--Fade to Black, by Alex Finn

AIDS anxiety, stigma and prejudice, homophobia and hate crimes... Fade to Black, by Alex Finn, deals with these issues, issues so timeless and timely, especially and unfortunately in the recent days... Here's my review originally published in A&U Magazine--America's AIDS Magazine.

Hope you enjoy the review and the book. Thanks for visiting,

Alina Oswald
Author of Journeys Through Darkness

Fade to Black
By Alex Finn
Reviewed by Alina Oswald

AIDS anxiety and stigma, prejudice, homophobia, harassment and hate crime, guilt and shame, pretense always clutter the truth.  Unfortunately, they are all pieces of our reality and we find them in Alex Finn's Young Adult novel, Fade to Black where, the author-a former attorney-invites us to a small town trial where AIDS fills the courtroom.

The victim-Alejandro Crusan, or Alex-is a Florida junior high-school student attacked and hit with a baseball bat while waiting in his car at a traffic light.  The reason?  ...His HIV-positive status and the belief that he is gay.

The accused-Clinton Cole-sometimes shares the same classroom with Alex.  Clinton's existence is a cluster of homophobia, AIDS anxiety, and prejudice.

The witness-Daria-is a Down syndrome girl ignored and bullied by most students. 
We find parallels between the three main characters that link them to issues surrounding AIDS: each one of them deals, one way or another, with disabilities-physical or mental; each one of them has a secret that threatens to come out as the story progresses and, consequently, make them unfit for the small town society in which they live.  For that not to happen, they have to pretend that they are worth being part of their society. 

The verdict-guilty or not guilty-surfaces through alternating testimonies and stories of the three main characters; but for the truth to come out the characters may have to divulge their secrets, because each one has a well-protected secret he or she is afraid to share with the world. 

But are the characters of Fade to Black ready for the truth?  Maybe the more important question is: are we, the readers, ready to hear the truth and witness life-long hidden secrets we can rely on?  The answer waits for us between the pages of Fade to Black.  As for the verdict... it goes beyond the covers of this courageous and remarkable book.

No comments:

Post a Comment