It's 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark's addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that's how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.
Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original - witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn't let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.
Each step of Adam's journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it's Adam's lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn't right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.
This re-read was so interesting because it was via listening to the audio book. I still loved this story the second time around - it was beautiful, sad and inspiring.
This book is definitely worth reading. It is a well crafted story of what happens after Dan meets Adam. In the story we also meet Mark and Sullivan. All four characters are unique and all are hurting in some way. Life and relationships are not easy.
"It made him think about fate, about timing, and about how people appeared to one another at times when they most needed each other. His mother used to say that people came into our lives for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime."
There was a real sense of the time and place provided by the references to music of the time and wonderful descriptions of the hot and humid Tampa location.
I was totally swept up into the life of Dan and the unexpected journey he finds himself on. From meeting Adam, his AIDS Alliance buddy, to dealing with Mark, his very troubled and drug addicted boyfriend, to befriending Sullivan, Adam's boyfriend as they both deal with Adam's struggle.
Adam is a highlight of the book as he confronts the ravages of his disease. From the first moment he is introduced, he makes an impression. Everyone should be so lucky to have an Adam in their life - obviously not the heartbreak and death - but someone who can show what life is really all about, someone who can teach us about love and courage.
In terms of the audio, I think Taavi Mark did a wonderful job of narrating this story. I enjoyed the quality of his voice and found it suited the style of the book and the characters. He provided good distinction between the character voices and the pacing was excellent.
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