All The Young Men
by Ruth Coker Burks
Published by Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 24th of November, 2020
Australian RRP: $32.99
“In 1986, 26-year-old Ruth Coker Burks visits a friend in hospital when she notices that the door to one of the patient’s rooms is painted red. The nurses are reluctant to enter, drawing straws to decide who will tend to the sick person inside. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters the quarantined space and begins to care for the young man who cries for his mother in the last moments of his life. And in doing so, Ruth’s own life changes forever.”
All The Young Men is a true story set in a time where AIDS was very common but not talked about or accepted at all. Even now, there are people that will always carry a stigma about it but, at this time there was a hysteria of misinformation and fear that surrounded people. Causing people to be truly terrible to anyone suffering from this disease.
One woman, Ruth Coker Burks, became an outcast in her town from friends and people she had known throughout her life when she decided not to let these suffering people go on alone despite the heavy fear about this disease. She helped countless people struggling and in need of help with no one to turn to even though she was struggling herself in her own life. This is a great book because it is a first-hand account that can really put you in her shoes to experience what it was really like to see how people behaved about it and how misinformed everyone was with the knowledge around it.
It was heartbreaking to read at times but I enjoyed reading about her life and the day-to-day life of being an American woman too, unmarried after a divorce and supporting her daughter on a tiny wage. I think even as an adult, if you read this book, you will learn some valuable things and be reminded of how unknowledgeable people are still today surrounding AIDS and HIV because of myths or word of mouth that carries half-truths.
You will feel the joy and the pain as you read this honest experience and the stories of these beautiful people lost to AIDS that she befriended and cared for. Even in the face of death, weak and without anything, they were still full of light and happiness and a great deal of that is due to Ruth’s care and support. This book makes me thankful for all the hard-working people alongside Ruth that rallied to break the stigma and support funding and research to support the people in need.
(Thank you to Hachette Australia for a copy of All The Young Men for an honest review. All The Young Men is out now online and in stores!)
Thanks for reading!
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