#CBR7 Review #150: Borrowed Time by Paul Monette

I can’t remember to whom I am indebted for picking up Paul Monette’s memoir Borrowed Time. I can’t remember if I saw it here on Cannonball Read or on Goodreads. I wish I could recall it, because then I would gladly thank that kind person. As you know, I’m far more a fiction reader than any other genre, but I have read some aces memoirs lately, and this is definitely on that list.

Paul Monette is a writer in San Francisco area. He is also gay, which, in the 1980s, means that he has to be careful of uber-conservative politics that could ostracize him, as well as the growing AIDS crisis which really reaches its zenith around 1985-86. He and his partner, Roger Horwitz have been together for twelve years. And then Roger is diagnosed with AIDS. And by diagnosed, he is treated for several other diseases that just don’t fit until a gay doctor finally takes him and Paul and then begins trying to find other treatments being used. The memoir begins with Roger’s death, so you know what happens in the end. But that doesn’t explain the wrenching process that occurred and affected the course of their lives. Monette is unflinching in his description of AIDS and the treatment of gay men dying of AIDS.

Monette is an engaging, honest writer, and I appreciated being let into such a personal and private segment of his personal life. I felt that I understood what really happened to a person with AIDS, and I was heartbroken. If you are a reader of tragic stories, then you must read this one. If you like memoirs about nontraditional topics, then you must read this one. I’m surprised Borrowed Time is not more famous than it is, but I feel that this is an important topic and well-written about that it would be valuable or useful to my students and in my own research. Check it out for yourself.


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