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A Place Like This: A Memoir Paperback – October 19, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARK S. KING has been an HIV/AIDS spokesperson on ABC News, 48 Hours, CNN News and in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His award-winning writing has been featured in The Advocate, The Washington Blade, and TheBody.com web site. For more, visit www.MarkSKing.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (October 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595474756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595474752
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,470,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Kenry on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
As someone who never bought into the anti-substance abuse Just Say No mantra, this book appealed to me if, for no other reason than the Shadenfreude that I often feel while reclining on the couch with a highball and delving into someone else's Trainwreck Memoir. Dry, A Million Little Pieces, Drinking: A Love Story--I've read them all, clicking my tongue at the disastrous folly unfolding on the pages before me and finding an odd solace in the really grim parts, thinking to myself, "I've done a lot of bad things, but at least I've never done that. Or that. Or that! Etc."

In my experience, these memoirs follow a typical arc: Young Innocent enters into a self-destructive fun house, tells harrowing stories of what he saw on the inside and describes how it almost killed him. Eventually, he has an illuminating epiphany and emerges back into the light, a wiser (and usually unbearably smug) being who will go on to lead a life of unbridled success now that his demons are behind him and that pesky monkey is off his back.

This book, thank God, isn't like that. It does follow an arc similar to the one described above--a young man moves to the Big City with dreams of cinematic stardom but then finds The City a less than congenial place and he is forced to make several sacrifices to his integrity along the way in order to survive. He goes through an addiction hell, and eventually does emerge better off. Sort of.

The first inkling that this book will be something different comes early on when the author recounts his experience as a nineteen year-old contestant on that sad daytime perennial, The Price is Right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book accomplishes two things in equally effective ways: 1) It paints an accurate picture of a slice of our world in the late 80's (and the author's life at that time) and 2) employs a writing style that makes the reader want to keep reading.

It can't be easy to be as blatantly forthcoming as the topics of this book require, but in taking the step of sharing candidly, the book succeeds as a memoir and a history. I recently had someone in his 20s say he wanted to know what life was like in America when AIDS was first spreading and before we knew all the prevention/treatment options that are available now. I feel I could help him understand at least in part by handing him this book.

As someone who volunteered on an AIDS hotline in the late 80s, I particularly related to the author's description of volunteering for AIDS Project Los Angeles. There was a brief exploration of people's motives for volunteering ( "But how can volunteering be insincere, anyway? You did it or you didn't..." page 96).

I am glad I read it. The content was in your face with sexuality and drug use, but accompanying that was the power of friendship, the rugged demands of caregiving, and the determination to find joy in life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good memoirs do more than tell a good story.
And make no mistake, Mark King knows how to tell a terrific story!
(One is wanting a sequel long before the final pages are read.)
But they also tell us something about ourselves.

If you wonder what you might have in common with with a gay, drug and sex addicted narcisist turned AIDS activist King would probably share your question. Sure, his story is bravely honest, his scorn reserved for himself, but what makes this story so insightful is the ability of the author to put into memorable words
the universal experience of being isolated within an intense intimacy.
He shows us three worlds of ersatz intimacy...drugs, sex and sex for hire.

But more than a behind-the-scenes look at an all American boy's debasement into those worlds, is the experience of looking at it all close up... breath-to-breath close ...while feeling like you are looking at the rest of the world through a thick glass. Everyone knows what it is like to feel lonely with someone who is right in the room. King has the courage to explore that.

Anyone who has followed King's award winning writing knows he has been featured in the documentary, "Meth" and has been seen on CNN and in TIME magazine. There is much more to know here.
His one fault is the lack of compassion he shows himself.
Let's hope the natural sequel will take us there.
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By jsreader on March 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was given the book to read and must confess was reluctant to do so at first - was not sure I necessarily wanted to re-live the 80's - and not much into coming-of-age stories in general. My intial feelings of reluctance disappeared after the first chapter, and I could not put the book down until I had finished the last page. The author has a way of pulling you in the story in a way that does not seem forced or contrived. He is a natural story teller and this reader for one hopes that he has plenty more stories to tell. At the same time funny and sad, it is much more than a story of one person's survival. Although it does masterfully define a segment of our generation - it is as relevant today as the decade he describes. This reader found himself asking how much have we really changed from the time described in his memoir, and realizes that doing things to want to fit in, to feel loved and accepted transcend time - as is acting out to block out the pain of life's darker side.
A must for anyone seeking to better understand our culture and evolution without being hypocritical about it; I kept being reminded of the line "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times". One feels themselves experiencing the ups and downs as their own - and to shout Bravo! you survived....
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