Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS
Elton John is regarded as one of the most talented rock musicians of the contemporary era. While a private celebrity by contemporary standards, John was controversial for his status as a non-straight public figure. But he was largely apolitical, preferring instead to tell abstract stories through his music.
All that changed in the early ’90s, when the singer-songwriter-piano man dived headlong into the fight against the spiraling AIDS crisis. That’s where ’Love Is the Cure’ finds its focus. Part memoir, part educational tract, John’s debut book covers an impressive amount of ground in one of the least frivolous autobiographies ever written by an A-list celebrity.
The opening narrative sets the stage for the central theme by delving into the heart-wrenching story of Ryan White, the Midwestern youth who became the face of the impact of AIDS to most Americans. Younger readers will likely be unfamiliar with White’s situation, and John does it justice by describing his trials with an unflinching affection. This tone permeates the entire work, a no-nonsense approach to a dark subject with an undertone of sincere care for those struggling to overcome.
John does talk at some length about his struggle with addiction. Readers are likely to be taken aback by the transparency of the account, especially a particularly intimate and damning conversation between Elton and a loved one. He speaks the language of a truly recovering addict, not the distancing from responsibility found by the majority of superstars. Elton John’s story is one of honed success, triumph of sheer determination over a series of faults for which he’s not afraid to take possession.
The vast majority of this relatively short book centers on the evolution of Sir Elton’s response to the AIDS crisis. John outlines the various efforts to curb the epidemic in impressive detail and leaps into controversy when he asserts that the much-ballyhoowed "cure" is more a social phenomenon than a medical one.
His case is strong and well-reasoned. As the face of one of the most successful AIDS relief/support groups in existence, his words carry the weight of authority. His personal investment in the subject is borne out by the intricate knowledge shown in this volume of both the crisis and the effectiveness of various efforts to combat it.
John gives credit and criticism without prejudice for the current state of the fight against AIDS. Readers will be surprised at the level to which unlikely allies like President George W. Bush, have been instrumental in combating AIDS in the developing world. By the same token, he calls out the lack of responsibility and malicious greed displayed by too many others.
"Love Is the Cure" provides hope, education, and a strong dose of reality on the continuing global AIDS crisis. As the title implies, John believes the cure is within our grasp. And it’s a cure to which every living person who picks up this fantastic book is able to contribute.
’Love Is the Cure’