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Damage Control: A Memoir of Outlandish Privilege, Loss and Redemption Paperback – April 8, 2014
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The author's mother was Cuban, "Dollsie" as he calls her lived a life that reads like a script for a Hollywood movie. Her growing up between Havana and her grandfather's ranches, her debut into society in Havana's Golden Era, and her marriage just before the Fall of the Ancien Regime in Cuba to a scion of European aristocracy is all described in detail. The winner of her hand had to fight off two French princes and a Cuban golden boy of society that kept on appearing at every European spot that golden summer to win the competition for Dollsie, when it all coalesced into her marriage proposal and she married into the Swiss family that was to change her life forever.
After her marriage she had an affair with two Russians, one of them a Prince, the other destined to be her second husband and father of her last child; this is where you can envision an opera by Tchaikovsky, with all the beautiful arias of love and regret, nostalgia and remembrance.
That's one part of the book, the other is the author's struggle to come into his own in the midst of that opera, no easy task to say the least. As in real life opera, the secondary roles are difficult to sustain in the presence of a diva, which was Dollsie's character role par excellence, and to make your mark on them is a sign of true grit, which we totally get here. What emerges is an equally stunning testimonial by the author, into gay life at the time of AIDS. This is one of the best histories of the period I have ever read, not in a documentary way, but as it is remembered by someone who lived and suffered through that catastrophe and came out a survivor, and a matured individual that can help others through the emotional and psychological devastation, it's a beautiful transformation that will make a strong impression, no matter what your background may be.