I'm an Elton fan but wasn't sure whether to buy his first book. It's not an autobiography, but a book about AIDS; its impact on Elton (and friends tragically lost), the work that his foundation and others have done to combat the disease- in the face of obstacles- and what needs to be done to erase it.
Elton describes movingly how his life was turned round from a low point of drugs, alcohol and bulimia by Ryan White, a boy with AIDS he befriended who was atrociously treated in his home town in the USA. It was only with Ryan's death that Elton cleaned up his life and made a belated but significant effort to combat AIDS, setting up the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Elton is proud of its work and the many international projects it has funded, but goes beyond self-congratulation to address issues of stigma as well as social, governmental, institutional and corporate responses. He praises various heroes in the struggle as well as criticising some (in politics, religion and business) whose bigoted, ignorant or greedy attitudes have exacerbated the problem.
Since for Elton "AIDS might as well stand for "Appalling Indifference to the Disenfranchised in Society"" the cure for the problem involves a wholesale shift from stigmatising various marginalised groups to compassion and love for fellow human beings- a cure that is certainly achievable with genuine will.
I'm very glad i've read the book. It's not the work of a self-serving celebrity dabbler, but of someone who is highly informed, involved and committed to the cause. Elton is to be commended for being so articulate, persuasive and finally inspirational on a subject dear to his heart.
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