Every time I am asked to recommend a book, I immediately spew out THE GREAT BELIEVERS without a second of hesitation. A book that’s made my hysterically cry, daydream about more than I’d like to admit, and lent out more times than I can count sure deserves its own post, right?
It’s been just over a year since reading this masterpiece and I still, to this day, rant and rave about it to anyone who will listen (which is mostly my fiance, let’s be real). The Great Believers holds such a special place in my heart and even though I am a straight woman living in a different decade, I felt so connected to the story because I live just minutes from where the story takes place in Chicago.
When HIV and AIDS hit the US hard in the 80s, it did not discriminate against Chicago. Boystown and the gay community truly did not know what was coming. The Great Believers follows a group of gay men living in Chicago in the 80s-90s, some of whom are friends and some lovers, as they learn what AIDS looks like firsthand. This disease was very new to the city and went without proper research, treatment, or funding. A disease that rolled through Chicago like a tsunami inevitably destroying whomever in its path, we learn how supportive the gay community was (still is) and how important it was for them to stay together when everything was destined to fall apart. The book switches between Chicago 80s thru 90s to Paris 2015 as we learn to understand the connection between Yale and Nico from the past and Fiona in the present. Two completely different yet related stories come together absolutely seamlessly in The Great Believers as we learn the impact this disease carried over decades of time.
Books that teach its readers a thing or two that they carry with them through each of their days is a special type of magic. Learning about the AIDS epidemic that stormed through the United States was utterly heartbreaking and eye opening. Knowing it happened in my back yard just a few decades ago is unreal.
Rumor has it that this book is set to become a TV series, and I am so intrigued to see how the story is pieced together. The Great Believers is a book that you must read for yourself and experience the emotions that flow through you. Run to your nearest local bookstore and grab this book, or if you’re local and need a lend – I got you 🙂
*for the full review on The Great Believers, click here*