Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me (two plays)” as Want to Read:
The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me (two plays)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me (two plays)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  335 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Normal Heart, set during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, is the impassioned indictment of a society that allowed the plague to happen, a moving denunciation of the ignorance and fear that helped kill an entire generation. It has been produced and taught all over the world. Its companion play, The Destiny of Me, is the stirring story of an AIDS activist forced to ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 18th 2000 by Grove Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me

Maurice by E.M. ForsterBrokeback Mountain by Annie ProulxThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGiovanni's Room by James BaldwinTales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Best Gay Fiction
329th out of 1,293 books — 1,601 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeWaiting for Godot by Samuel BeckettRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time
222nd out of 316 books — 276 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 612)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 06, 2015 Gerhard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
With the recent publication of The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart: A Novel, it struck me that I had not read a single word of Larry Kramer to date.

I promptly made up for this notable lapse, first reading the, er, seminal Faggots before plunging into this duo of linked plays, followed by watching HBO’s movie version of the former, directed by Ryan Murphy and with Mark Ruffalo in the Kramer role. My conclusion: Kramer is much sexier than the rather frumpy Ruffalo. (How Kramer would
Jul 31, 2015 George rated it really liked it
I read Normal Heart when it came out 30 years ago. As an 18 year old gay man, it left me and many gays of my generation thinking we would all be dead before we were 30. The miracles of modern medicine took many years of people like Kramer screaming to get the country's attention. This play captures that moment quite vividly and holds up. Now I want to watch the recent movie. The Destiny of Me is a different play altogether. Featuring Ned Weeks from The Normal Heart, it is the story of his treatm ...more
Gregory Baird
The Normal Heart = fantastic. The Destiny of Me = meh.
May 21, 2014 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-reads
I read this an anticipation for the HBO movie being released this Sunday. I have read that Larry Kramer was a polarizing figure in the beginning of the AIDS movement. After reading this play I understand both sides of the argument. One side was both Larry and Dr. Brooker were trying to stop the epidemic, needless suffering and dying of gay men. By telling them to stop having casual sex until they could figure out what this epidemic was, how it was rapidly replicating and destroying the immune sy ...more
Sep 20, 2013 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays-read
I had, in my mind, a definitive picture of the early 80’s, when AIDS began to ravage our country. It attacked largely gay men, so it was ignored. It was years before there was any formal “response”
by the powers that be and in the meantime, the dead continued to pile up, as those brave few fought the good fight.
The Normal Heart reinforces a lot of that, but what I found most fascinating was the idea that there were many, having fought “the good fight” years before, for equality, for the right t
Jan 27, 2015 Canavan rated it really liked it


The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer (1985).
The Destiny of Me, Larry Kramer (1993).
Anne S
Jun 10, 2014 Anne S rated it it was amazing
I read this in advance of the moving coming out on HBO. I thought that it was a good read regarding the attitudes of people with aids and those who were in power doing nothing about a massive epidemic that was killing so many gay men.

I had read, AND THE BAND PLAYED ON some years ago and thought that at times, this play reminded me of this. The statistics at the beginning of the book were quite startling when you realize the amount of money thrown at the killer tylenol scare and the 7 people it
Jul 13, 2014 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Larry Kramer writing in the The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me is nothing less then brilliant and I can only hope that the made for TV movie does the play justice (I have not seen it yet). If you want to get into the heart of what it was like raising awareness of HIV/AIDS during the early 80's then this play along with And the Band Played on speak to the heart of this time and what it was like bringing this disease to the forefront of the world's attention.
Michael  Berquist
Jul 14, 2014 Michael Berquist rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2014 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay, sex
It's hard for me to believe I managed to live as "a gay" this long and not have read Larry Kramer. I finally tackled The Normal Heart because I wanted to read it before the HBO adaptation. It did nothing to quell my nausea about gay rights in the '80s.

The Destiny of Me underscored Kramer's inability to write more than one basic story (and given how much both of these dovetail with his biography, I don't believe this to be authorial fallacy) but had some parent-child relationship stuff that would
5 stars for The Normal Heart for its bravery.
3 stars for The Destiny of Me.
Sep 14, 2011 Jonathan marked it as to-read
Shelves: heard-on-mpr-npr

September 13, 2011
Two decades ago, in 1991, the first part of an ambitious work of theater by playwright Tony Kushner took the stage in San Francisco. It was called Angels in America, and its two parts — Millennium Approaches and Perestroika — clocked in at an epic seven hours.

The work, about AIDS in the age of Ronald Reagan, shocked many for its obscenities, and blunt portrayal of sex and homosexuality. But the play was also a story, told with drama and h
Darren Girard
Mar 12, 2014 Darren Girard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
"The Normal Heart," by Larry Kramer, centers on a group of gay men--headed up by Ned Weeks--fighting to survive and be heard among the chaos of the AIDS crisis in 1980's New York City. When nobody important is paying attention to the masses of young, gay men dying from an unknown killer Ned, an eccentric, outspoken writer, at the urging of an alarmed physician, Emma Brookner, takes to the task of making those in power care. The quick-moving plot provokes anger and heart-break but, at its core, i ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it
One of the most impactful, thought-provoking, and compelling pieces I've read in a very long time. Not only am I more informed about the AIDS epidemic during the 80's, but I now feel a much deeper need to bring something more to modern theatre, which is sadly lacking in agency in comparison to Mr. Kramer's work.
Jul 08, 2014 Dana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
5 stars are for The Normal Heart. Moving & powerful. Not sure how I felt about The Destiny of Me. I think I'm glad I read the 2nd play to spend more time with Ned & brother Ben, but this is not a play I'd want to watch. Too self-indulgent??
Veronica /  V
Oct 22, 2014 Veronica / V rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heartbreaking
If you look at this as a romance this really suck, so much pain and sadness, doesn't even have a happy ending.
But as a story of the 80st early days of the AIDS epidemic, it was great.
Indah Threez Lestari
203 - 2016

Mau tidak mau, yang kebayang saat membaca screenplay ini tentu saja Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, dan Jim Parsons.

Jul 09, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely incredible. I have been profoundly changed by these plays. I can think of nothing more powerful to say.
Brendan M.
Jul 31, 2014 Brendan M. rated it liked it
I'm only giving it 3 stars because I've only read The Normal Heart.
Jul 10, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it
These plays were so moving and intense. A great read for both plays about a serious issue that still holds importance today.
This play certainly has more historical than literary impact. It veers between melodramatic and didactic--and that works sometimes--but mostly it just preaches.
Having read And the Band Played On, though, I was able to recognize the autobiographical elements. The tension and fear and in-fighting came across quite well, so that was good. Mostly it just made me want to read And the Band Played On again, and maybe cry. People can be so frustrating.
Jun 03, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
Wow! I'd previously read The Normal Heart when I was in college and performing in it-It's as powerful and as moving as I remembered it to be. I was thrilled that The Destiny of Me was included as I hadn't read this piece before and I'm very glad to have had the opportunity. Say what you want about the man on a personal level-but after reading these two plays-no one can deny that the man was/is correct and he can write!
Fatma Tuna
Feb 08, 2015 Fatma Tuna rated it it was amazing
The dialogues in 'The Normal Heart' are so real... İt does not take much effort to visualize the story.
Mar 08, 2012 Veronica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
I saw the play before reading The Normal Heart but it still had me crying at the end. It is truly a heart breaking piece and knowing that it is based off of true events in Larry Kramer's life makes it even more heart wrenching.
Aug 28, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it
The Normal Heart was both political and heartbreaking. Defintely worth the read. The Destiny of Me was okay.
Ken French
Jul 16, 2014 Ken French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very strident and preachy at times, but that's Larry Kramer.
Ally rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2016
Elliott Lemberg
Elliott Lemberg marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Niki Strickland
Niki Strickland marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story
  • Bent
  • Third Man Out (Donald Strachey, #4)
  • A l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie
  • Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
  • A Lie of the Mind
  • The Boys in the Band
  • Love! Valour! Compassion!
  • Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East
  • The Joy of Gay Sex
  • Father of Frankenstein
  • Assassins
  • Urinetown: The Musical
  • Bertram Cope's Year
  • Latter Days
  • AIDS and Its Metaphors
  • kamala
  • The Good Neighbor
Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, public health advocate and gay rights activist. He was nominated for an Academy Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and was twice a recipient of an Obie Award. In response to the AIDS crisis he founded Gay Men's Health Crisis, which became the largest organization of its kind in the world. He wrote The Normal Heart, the ...more
More about Larry Kramer...

Share This Book

“And I always thought: the very simplest words Must be enough. When I say what things are like Everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds. That you’ll go down if you don’t stand up for yourself Surely you see that.” 2 likes
“Almost more than talent you need tenacity, and an infinite capacity for rejection, if you are to succeed.” 2 likes
More quotes…