Mini-Review: Living and Loving in the Age of AIDS by Derek Frost

This is the tale of a devastating pandemic, of lives cut painfully short; it’s also a love letter.

Living and Loving in the Age of AIDS. A memoir

Cover Design: Watkins

Derek, a distinguished designer and J, his husband, a pioneering entrepreneur and creator of both The Embassy Club, London’s answer to Studio 54, and iconic Heaven, Europe’s largest gay discotheque, met and fell in love more than 40 years ago. 

Their lives were high-octane, full of adventure, fun and fearless creativity. Suddenly their friends began to get sick and die – AIDS had arrived in their lives. When they got tested, J received what was then a death sentence: he was HIV Positive. While the onset of AIDS strengthened stigma and fear globally, they confronted their personal crisis with courage, humour and an indomitable resolve to survive.

J’s battle lasted six long years. Turning to spiritual reflection, yoga, nature – and always to love – Derek describes a transformation of the spirit, how compassion and empathy rose phoenix-like from the flames of sickness and death.

Out of this transformation also came Aids Ark, the charity they founded, which helped to save, amongst the world’s most marginalised people, more than 1,000 HIV Positive lives.

This is a story of joy and triumph; about facing universal challenges; about the great rewards that come from giving back. Derek speaks for a generation who lived through a global health crisis that many in society refused even to acknowledge. His is a powerful story chronicling this extraordinary time.13

My thoughts

Derek Frost presents his story in a beautiful lyrical voice. I felt like I was sitting at a poetry slam event and listening to the flow and cadence of his words.

“…a necklace of perfectly groomed white sand fringes an azure bay.”

Loc. 142

Frost moves back and forth in his timeline just as if he was telling you his story in person. He takes us on the journey from diagnosis to the search for a cure. How this disease affects them as a couple to how it affects the world. We get to feel the joy of meeting a healthier Benzeman which brought tears to my eyes as frost shares his joy of this day.

I think what I got the most out of reading Derek Frost’s journey is when we work together we can make miracles happen. This is not a story of sadness and despair, but of hope. The power we have when we work together. Frost shares his life without fear and with an openness that allowed me to learn not just about AIDS, but about people. Thank you.

I received a free copy of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 “As a Bookshop and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” at no additional cost to you.

Further Details:

Publisher: Watkins Publishing, 9781786784964, 13 April 2021

Narrator: Robbie Stevens

Pages: 288

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