General Fiction Nonfiction Teen Children's. The Prettiest Star Carter Sickels. And Brian narrates through a series of video recordings from the camera he carries with him, as Shawn asked, so those who die of AIDS won’t be forgotten. • I was glued to the page and wanted to find out what’s next. This story had a profound effect on me. This book is not a misery porn like it could have been in less skilled hands. *The Prettiest Star* is a tender, emotional story about a fraught homecoming but it is boiling with rage beneath the surface. Another elegiac novel about the height of the AIDS epidemic in America, this one set in a small Ohioan town, where Brian, an artsy white gay, returns from New York to his estranged family in the wake of his Black lover’s death and his own diagnosis as HIV positive. Carter Sickels is the author of THE PRETTIEST STAR (Hub City Press, 2020) and THE EVENING HOUR (Bloomsbury 2012), an Oregon Book Award finalist and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. I felt sorrow and anger for Brian. Science Fiction & Fantasy Mystery & Thriller Romance. The story is told from the viewpoints of Brian, his 14-year-old sister, and his middle-aged mother, who all sound strikingly similar to each other, and centers on the hate the family’s flooded with when the bigoted townsfolk learn of Brian’s illness; at its best the novel loudly takes up the twin questions of what it means to be marginalized and unlearn forms of hate. The disease is ravishing his life and the people in it so Brian makes the decision to go home to die. A brutal, devastating and othering disease. That being said, I think a better novel could have been written about AIDs. Goodreads Rating: 4.50/5 stars. Hub City Dramatic I know. Find BookPage, About BookPage Library Refresh and try again. Carter Sickels captures what the AIDS epidemic looked like in rural American through the character of Brian, who returns home in 1986 to Appalachian Ohio after most of his friends have died, including his boyfriend. How I acquired it: Library ebook. The way I treat people. Brian’s family doesn’t know—or rather, they’ve chosen not to accept—that he is gay. The disease is ravishing his life and the people in it so Brian makes the decision to go home to die. This story was a heartbreaker but it’s so much larger than that. The Prettiest Star is a novel by a queer author about queer lives, and thus may be overlooked by a wider audience and critics. Yes, it’s predictable in the inevitability of disease. Six years before, Brian left home for New York City, where he found friends, a measure of acceptance and love with his partner, Shawn. Book reviews News & Features Video Interviews Podcast Interviews Pro Connect Book Reviews . It tells the story of a young man named Brian in 1986, who comes home to small town Ohio and the parents who rejected him for being gay. Near the end of the book the narrator says "Say AIDS out loud" and I did it and I got choked up ? At the same time, over the last 40 years of representation, essential works that tell the truth about familial cruelty, the self-aggrandizing exclusion, the poisonous 'tolerance', these works have been relegated to the margins, from Joe Westmoreland's TRAMPS LIKE US to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's SKETCHTASY. It was so sad. Given that the trajectory of the narrative felt set by this going in, I was curious how the narrative would be delivered and the particular issues Sickels would highlight within it. News & Features . It’s also a story of how laying claim to one’s identity can sever a family, erupt a town and its people. Reward for the sugar coated lie coexists with the punishment of exile for the reality. Upon settling in New York, he cautiously begins going to gay clubs and meeting other gay men. From the beginning of AIDS literature in the 1980'. A brutal, devastating and othering disease. Popular Genres. Your gorgeous new book utterly undid me. The Prettiest Star is a snapshot of a disease. Twenty-four year old Brian, who has AIDS, returns to his Ohioan hometown, back to a family he hasn’t seen in years. Loved it!! This is such a beautiful book. We’d love your help. Carter is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Carter Sickels' "The Prettiest Star" is an AIDS story that we have needed, that has been missing, and that will remind you about where we have come from. The Prettiest Star pays homage to the victims of that horrible time and offers a measure of solace to the survivors. This book. Popular Genres. Brian left Chester when he was 18, seeking freedom to be who he was in … Carter Sickels’ sophomore novel, “The Prettiest Star,” outdoes what has already been a stellar literary career. THE PLOT: The Prettiest Star is a heart-breakingly beautiful story that takes place in the early 80s, at the beginning of the AIDS/HIV epidemic when vast numbers of gay men—particularly those in highly populated cities—began dying at increasing rates from the mysterious disease. $26.00 See 1 question about The Prettiest Star…,,, It was truly devastating. The way I treat people. Sharon is paralyzed, unable to figure out how to be a parent to Brian and remain a wife to Travis, who pretends that his son isn’t gay and isn’t sick. 05/19/2020. Soon after, Brian unknowingly contracts HIV, as do several of his friends, and over the next six years, nearly all of the people closest to Brian, including his beloved boyfriend Shawn, have passed away. In 1980, Brian ran away from his conservative hometown and arrived in New York City, where he could live openly as a … Digital I am only. 9781938235627 The situation is sad and desperate enough, sadder considering its realism. I knew going into this one that it'd be a heartbreaking read - the blurb tells us that Brian is moving back from NYC to his hometown in Appalachian Ohio to die. I felt sorrow and anger for Brian. FINAL REVIEW: An intimate look at small-town America’s reaction to the AIDS epidemic during the mid-1980s. and the consequences of this on our collective emotional lives and relationships is the story that we need in order to understand who we really are. All of us. I’ll say it — this book broke me. It could have been all of my friends dying off. Darlington ( China Bus , 2017, etc.) But why Brian visits his hometown—and then stays—is never clear. Observant Jess, who shares with her brother a love of whales and David Bowie songs, struggles to find her place in this changed world. At any rate, the crying sort of began before I read this book, but man, Carter Sickels touched every emotional nerve in my body and by the time I reached the finish I was crying so hard I could barely see the page to read. The story is about a young man, Brian—a handsome blond hair, blue eyed boy living in a small town of Chester, Ohio—who, after graduating high school, leaves his family and friends behind to move to New York and pursue hi. I started this Sunday night intending to make it the last read of the month, but couldn't put it down. Elaine June 26, 2020. After his love dies of AIDs, Brian sees ghosts everywhere in New York City. There were no grand speeches or forgiveness or comeuppance for the villains. The Prettiest Star is a sensitive portrayal of a difficult time in our recent history. Soon, word of Brian’s return, along with the suspicion that he has AIDS, gets around town. 4 reviews. He also evokes the mid-1980s and rural small-town life with the right amount of period and place detail. I am not generally a soft or weepy person, but life has been throwing me curves lately and I think the build up was like a dam bursting. THE PRETTIEST STAR by Carter Sickels ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2020 A young man dying of AIDS returns to his Ohio hometown, where people think homosexuality is a sin and the disease is divine punishment. It was so sad. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Privacy Policy This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we... Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it’s where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he’s chosen to return to die. Hub City, $27 (308p) ISBN 978-1-938235-62-7. I can tell you right now that this book will be on my best books of 2020 list because it BLEW ME AWAY. The chapter. • BEST BOOKS. When I finished reading this book, I had to just set it aside for a while before writing my review. Wow...what an emotional, raw, riveting read this was. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Full disclosure: I ran a consumer-driven AIDS support organization for over a decade so this book depicts a time I'm intimately familiar with.