Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: 'The Sea Is Quiet Tonight' by Michael H. Ward

Massachusetts author Michael H. Ward has a strong history of aiding others. He earned his BA and MA in English Literature from the University of Nebraska, taught composition and literature on military installations in the North Atlantic for University of Maryland Overseas Program, became Director of Freshman English at Tuskegee Institute, joined the test development staff at Educational Testing Center and moved to New York City to become certified as a Transactional Analyst and served as a psychotherapist until his retirement. He was instrumental in the development of The Shared Heart (William Morrow, 1997), which presents the portraits and coming out stories of 40 gay and lesbian teenagers. The Shared Heart won the American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award in the nonfiction category in 1998. It was also on ALA's Best Books for Young Adults list in 1999.

What Michael offers here is a memoir of his personal experiences of his life as a gay single man and then as a partner to Mark who in those days when AIDS didn’t even have a name other than gay cancer. He leads us through his splendid relationship with Mark, allows us entry into the highs and lows of being gay before Gay Rights was even considered as a possibility, teaches us much about the evolution of AIDS, shares the shock and pain of discovering Mark has AIDS and stays with this story through Mark’s and his struggle and the eventual loss of his beloved Mark.

While others have written books and plays and symphonies and song cycles and movies and television shows about the very topic Michael uses as the theme of this memoir, very few have been able to touch the reader in as profound a manner as Michael has accomplished.

This is an eloquent book, beautifully written with poetry-like prose about a love story in a time where everything challenged gay love. It is a significant history of a movement, a medical conundrum, and a paean to love. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, November 16
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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