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Caregiver by [Reed, Rick R.]
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Caregiver Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Length: 210 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


This is not a heart-wrenching tear-jerker even though one of the main themes is AIDS in a time when people with the disease were dying from, rather than living with, the virus. Instead, this an uplifting tale of overcoming adversity, seeing the beauty in life, and celebrating how people remain in our lives even after they have physically left us. --Dark Diva Reviews

From the Author

Picture it: Tampa Bay, Florida, 1991. A young man flees a troubled life in Chicago to begin anew on the Gulf Coast of Florida. White sand beaches and azure waters beckon. Shortly after landing in Tampa Bay, the young man, in a gesture of solidarity with his gay brethren who are dying by the thousands, volunteers to become an AIDS buddy, focusing his attention on one victim of the virus...

Actually, if you've read the blurb of my new novel, CAREGIVER, you might think that the above is an alternate synopsis I wrote for the book. But the truth is it's about me. Like my main character in CAREGIVER, Dan, I too fled Chicago for a new life in Tampa, FL and I too joined a program that supplied AIDS buddies to those suffering from the virus. In 1991, the afflicted had a very bleak outlook. But sometimes, we meet a person who can overcome that bleakness with biting wit, humor, grace, and style. My buddy was just such a man--he left a mark on me that has stayed with me until this very day and will always be one of the most special people I have ever met.

My book is called CAREGIVER, but by the end, the reader will wonder who really is the caregiver.

It's taken me twenty years to write about Jim, my AIDS buddy from 1991 (who becomes "Adam" in the novel), my funny valentine who ended up dying in the Florida State Prison--but I think the results are ultimately worth it.

Product Details

  • File Size: 806 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 23, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005YVAJG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David D. Warner on October 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I finished CAREGIVER last night, the latest release by one of my favorite authors, Rick R. Reed. CAREGIVER is Mr. Reed's semi-autobiographical account of his own, personal experience as an "AIDS buddy" (volunteer companion), and how this experience changed his life forever. The story depicts not only the protagonist's experiences as he is getting to know and ultimately care about a very courageous and unique individual who happens to have AIDS, but it also chronicles this man's experiences with the other individuals that he encounters along the road on this journey. I don't want to give away plot details because I don't want to spoil anything for other readers, but this story touches on a number of emotionally-charged themes--loss, betrayal, regret, fear, guilt, change, healing, and forgiveness--but ultimately, CAREGIVER is nothing short of a love story. It is a love story on multiple levels, bittersweet yes, but ultimately triumphant.

I approached this book reluctantly, not because I didn't think it would be well-written (well-written is a hallmark of all of Rick Reed's work), but because I knew reading it would be a bit of a personal risk. Why? Because when the AIDS epidemic first hit the media in the mid-1980s, I was in my early 20s. Like everyone else at the time, I was scared. Because I didn't know what else to do, I started volunteering as a buddy for a local AIDS organization in the Midwest. I continued buddying through the mid-1990s. Over nearly a decade, my buddy-client relationships were varied, ranging from warm and loving to bitter, hostile, and one even a little threatening. Like Mr. Reed's protagonist, along this road I met a number of remarkable people who changed my life forever--for the better, I like to think, looking back on it all now.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This a strong book. It is dark, the darkest I've ever read from this author. Reed has written about AIDS before, but somewhat more offhandedly - stories about people who happen to have AIDS, but mostly - at least not in the ones I've read - not actually about AIDS itself.

Caregiver is about AIDS, no use beating about the bush, and about people who have it. Well, about one particular person, anyway, although all of the characters in this book are infected, in one sense or another, by the virus - by the idea of the virus, by the fear of getting it, or the travails of coping with it. Adam happens to be the only one with lesions on his skin. For the others, the spots are less visible but no less toxic.

Adam is a free spirit, and decidedly bigger than life. When the narrator, Dan, first comes to meet him -an assignment from Tampa AIDS Alliance Buddy program- he is surprised by the person who greets him at the door, wearing the classic little black dress and a string of pearls. Despite his terminal illness, Adam displays a winning insouciance that both astonishes and delights Dan (and the reader as well), and they quickly graduate from caregiver and client to friends.

Both Adam and Dan have recently moved to Florida from Chicago with their partners (all of them with ulterior motives, as it turns out), and both the relationships are troubled. Adam and his partner, Sullivan, clearly love one another, but Adam's condition frightens Sullivan and their sex life has become nearly non-existent. It is apparent at their first meeting that Dan and Sullivan find one another attractive.

Dan's relationship, too, is an unhappy one. His partner, Mark, is on a downward spiral of drink, drugs and partying--and, just maybe, Dan worries, HIV infection.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What can I say? I'm an avid reader who devours massive amounts of books each year, and I've been fortunate enough to have found many to love and cherish. Then I read Caregiver, or rather, I didn't so much read it as experience it, for it touched me in a way that's beyond mere words on a page.

This is a unique love story, for it tells of different kinds of love, and how they shape the protagonist, Dan's life. There is the love for a dying man, Adam, who helps Dan possibly more than Dan helps him. There's Mark, a man who brought pain and joy to Dan's life, and ultimately Dan had to open his hand and let Mark fall, lest both of them go down together. There's Sullivan, steadfast, faithful, and hurting. There's an expression used in this book that really struck a chord with me: "people come into our lives for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime.." That expression is proven true in Adam, Mark, and Sullivan. All were necessary parts of Dan's life and had an important role to play.

I remember the late 80's, early 90's, when a horridendous disease struck without warning, laying waste to so many lives. We were horrified. Couldn't modern medicine do anything? Thankfully, we've made medical advances since those dark times, but so many bright young lives were lost. Caregiver is a poignant tribute to those hard times and those who died so tragically. I cried the hardest when I read Dan's final letter to Adam, telling him that if he could have held on a few more years, that treatments could have given him a better, longer life. If only we'd had such things back then.

That said, though this book deals with heavy topics like AIDS and drug abuse, it isn't dark.
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