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» » Hurry-Up Song: A Memoir Of Losing My Brother (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog)
Hurry-Up Song: A Memoir Of Losing My Brother (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog)

Hurry-Up Song: A Memoir Of Losing My Brother (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog)

Clifford Chase
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1317 kb
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4.9 of 5
University of Wisconsin Press (July 26, 1999)
Out of love, anger, and grief Clifford Chase has crafted a moving and brilliant memoir of loss and family bonds. With startling honesty, he evokes scenes of life in a suburban American family and illuminates the strong ties that are woven between two gay brothers as they become adults. Chase documents how, in turn, the family dynamics change forever when one brother—the elder, the admired, the feared, the loved—weathers AIDS-related illnesses and ultimately dies. This is a searching, unsentimental account of how AIDS steals away loved ones and how the wounds of loss come to be healed.
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2 Reviews
  • A very artistic memoir of a rather disconnected family and a gay brother dieing of AIDS. Chase, who himself is also gay, weaves the bond that ties the two brothers throughout his book. Mainly childhood conspiracies and special games they created together. In the end, however, as his brother's health failed, he had to face and come to terms with the separatism that one must feel when they cannot truly share something as profoundly significant as death. Like most, he was left to sort out the emotions of the living

  • The mayhap moral of the story by Clifford Chase about his older brother Ken, who died from AIDS ‘in a small house in San Diego, February 22, 1989’ - is to pay attention, writes Wayne Koestenbaum in the Foreword of the book by Clifford Chase, The Hurry-Up Song – A Memoir of Losing My Brother (published in 1995).

    I liked this story about the youngest child of the family, who just happens to be gay, writing about his older brother; by about 6 years, who also just happens to be gay.

    ‘...it was a chance remark by Ken that made me understand that I was gay.’ And, ‘Ken came out to me when I was twenty-one.’

    Clifford was born in 1958 while the eldest of 5 kids was almost old enough to be his parent, or maybe a younger aunt or uncle. Clifford was born last & grew up with his parents almost like an only child, after Ken went off to college.

    I only mention this age-related variance because Clifford had a unique perspective of his family dynamic by being both gay & the youngest in the family, mutually being so many years apart from older siblings. His disparity in age & sexual identity gave the story a reasonably self-styled & altogether comfortable perspective, because Clifford accepted who he was as a person, although he couldn’t or wouldn’t share as much out loud.

    Clifford was also both guarded in his approach to whatever problem & by necessity, silently frank, in his unspoken story-telling, because he was uncomfortable with his certain lack of complete honesty with his parents, by default, in my opinion.

    Clifford also recognized that self-awareness & any subsequent responsibility for one’s actions are both necessary emotions, still it’s often difficult to accept the difference between understanding & acceptance; made apparent by a sadly true & favorite line of mine in Clifford’s story –

    ‘With the arrogance of the fortunate, I was blaming my brother for what had happened to him.’

    Clifford couldn’t tell Mom & Dad about his sexual self, while his brother was sick, so he surmised, which would have upset the balance of sanity in the family dynamic. A double-edged sword of sorts. However, Clifford balanced his guilt by taking action, to help support his favorite brother, while he still had some short time to live.

    I would recommend this book for secondary school libraries, to help kids who might be at-risk, expressively; and invite them to listen like a friend to Clifford’s careful management of his emotions during & after his brother’s demise.

    Review by Jack Dunsmoor, author of the book, OK2BG