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The Normal Heart

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  1,852 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Follows the efforts of one man, while his friends are dying around him, to break through a conspiracy of silence, indifference and hostility from public officials and the gay community, and gain recognition for a disease that threatens to change everything.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 24th 2011 by Nick Hern Books (first published 1985)
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Community Reviews

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Leo Robertson
May 31, 2014 Leo Robertson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If anything, understandably soapboxy, but assuredly fucking heartbreaking.
So I've mentioned my person David before. For the past few months, David has been reminding me that HBO is making a TV version of THE NORMAL HEART, the emotional, angry, passionate play about the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and how it was handily ignored, devastating the gay community. I had been getting facebook posts of teasers, of articles of when it would come out, and finally, last Sunday during our weekly GAME OF THRONES date, the trailer aired. To which he and I started fre ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Sookie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, 2016
Kramer's play is brimming with anger, anguish and anxiety. For a modern reader the anger will set in a little later. For those who have lived through the 90s, will understand the anguish and anxiety having grown up seeing public service announcements about AIDS. We have come far from the days when an entire community's struggle was sidelined because who they chose to love. The struggles the men in this play undergo is real and there are many who struggle the same way to this very day.

This play
I'd seen the film (everyone watch it, please do), so I thought I entered into reading this with some idea, but there isn't really any such thing as "some idea." I went into reading this the same way I went into reading Dancer from the Dance - in high summer, a little intoxicated, a little heart-broken, a little angry; conditions, it turns out, that augment every facet of stories like these; conditions that lend more oppression to the heat, more clarity than one might comfortably welcome to the i ...more
May 05, 2015 amomentsilence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ppl interested in plays, activism, historians & history buffs, evr1
Actual rating is both...
3.75 Stars (mostly due to the unremarkable writing)
and 5 stars (for the incredible, heartbreaking tragedy that can't even be described as a "story," for it effected too many lives, brings rage to my heart some thirty years later, and tore apart a man who was simply trying to be the voice of a denied people)

Thus, to be fair, it's gets a rounded 4 stars so we're even.

Now, I want to say something about this understandably powerful play - I think... seeing it would
Jan 24, 2016 Inga rated it it was amazing
Devastating, heartbreaking, brutal, true, educational, witty, warm, sharp, angry - I so felt with Ned and his urge to yell at everyone responsible non-responding and just to yell in general into the face of the insanity of it all. Cant even begin to imagine what it must have been like to live in this crazy, scary, unreal deadly time and weirdly closed-off bubble, left alone in this fight and not knowing what could come next and who to lose next. This should be required reading. Since its a play, ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia
The play itself is a bit choppy and screamy, but it is an eerie wake-up call to the lack of governmental response to AIDS in the early 80s. Agencies attempted to ignore or bury pertinent information, limited figures for effect and branded it as a "gay disease" despite evidence to the contrary.

I imagine that crisis management has never been the same, nor should it be.
Theo Chen
Jan 05, 2016 Theo Chen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book of 2016! Emotionally powerful and such an intense read. Beautiful story of a time in our history that must never be forgotten.
Mar 30, 2011 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I nearly bawled reading this last night.
Keith Moser
Jun 18, 2016 Keith Moser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, e-book, 5-stars
Read this in prep for a staged reading I'm a part of next week since I'm missing the impromptu rehearsal/read-thru with the cast today.

Holy crap.

First, I didn't realize my character, Ned, is both the lead (he's basically in all but two? scenes) and an author surrogate for Larry Kramer. Second, I knew the script was chosen for Pride Month and had gay themes but I knew nothing about its plot. Did not expect to end up crying at work while reading the second act...

For anyone else who didn't know, T
Hoàng Nguyễn
Aug 05, 2013 Hoàng Nguyễn rated it really liked it
At first I thought this book would be full of plague and angst and tons of sadness which came from people's helplessness, but no, this book was more than that. The romance which gave me a bit of relieve, the humour between brothers, the characters' friendship,... all of that made this book became a fulfilled work enough for me. I really appreciated Larry to have such courage bringing a very discerning matter but still lost in blur at that time; through Ned's big mouth, I would be convincing AIDS ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seared into my brain is the scene in the documentary How to Survive A Plague with Kramer interrupting an argument at ACT UP to scream the word plague to get everyone's attention. What gay men and women owe today to people like Kramer with the ego, the mouth, and the sense of urgency to force people to pay attention and make our own community care can not be overstated.
So powerful. I knew nothing about the subject before reading the book (for a college course), and now I'm agitated that we don't learn about these things in high school.

The play is very raw and it's worse when you realize that it's based on real events.
Kramer doesn't bother to veil the autobiography at all, which makes this play feel occasionally self-congratulatory. Also, in just about no other play could you get away with this many monologues (at this kind of volume). But damn, it's still a heartbreaker, and its anger is important.
Feb 04, 2014 Linh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt, drama
- Mình thích Ned.
- Phim chuyển thể thế nào cũng báo hại người xem tốn cả đống máu và nước mắt cho coi.
- Có những vấn đề từ khi tác giả viết cuốn này đến giờ hình như vẫn y vậy, nghĩ đến thấy hơi buồn.
Rebecca McNutt
An often harrowing and mind-numbing story of the AIDS epidemic that took the world by storm in the 1980's, The Normal Heart is not just about gay rights. It's a story about friendship, faith, romance, prejudice, power, grief and loyalty.
Marshall Thornton
I enjoyed this a lot. I can see how it would have seemed very polemic when it first came out but now, with time, I that fades and the emotion moves to the forefront.
From IMDb:
A gay activist attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s.
Feb 24, 2012 Ceilidh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Larry Kramer, you angry magnificent bastard.
Nov 12, 2016 Dusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Like some of the best plays written with contemporary politics in mind, The Normal Heart is urgent and unforgiving. With the AIDS crisis no longer ravaging the gay male community the way it did through the 1980s and 1990s, I think it's tempting to read the play as a kind of artifact, a look into the "primitive days," so to speak, before "AIDS" was a word a president would use in public and before doctors even knew how it was transmitted between patients. However, it opens a number of questions t ...more
Sergio Adam Valsahagun
Impactful play. Larry Kramer, like always, says it how it is. Direct and honest. It is important to not forget the struggles of the LGBTQA community, especially the epidemic of the 1980s where many died unnecessarily because of the ignorance of those in authority. It is a piece that talks honestly of our past as a community--a past that we should learn from that will help us move forward. Everyone should read it at least once. I can't wait to see it performed.
Cindy VW
Nov 25, 2016 Cindy VW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historique, lgbt
Une lecture essentielle, au même titre que "Angels of America" de kushner. Et c'était un plaisir de retrouver la plume acérée de Kramer.
Nov 11, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No me parecía suficiente haber llorado las dos horas que dura la película, so here I am.
Jan 13, 2017 L.K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brian McDermott
Dec 19, 2016 Brian McDermott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This sure broke my heart in more ways than one. I'll never trust the government...
Jun 18, 2014 Silvio111 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read an account of of a time period that I myself lived through, I am always trying to get my bearings; looking for landmarks.
In this case, although the setting of The Normal Heart is the three-year period in New York City between 1981 and 1984, I will always remember an evening newscast with Dan Rather (or was it Cronkite?), if I am not mistaken, in approximately September of 1982 when he announced a disease called "AIDS." (I am not sure if they were still calling it "GRID" at that point
Eric Kibler
This is a loosely autobiographical play about Larry Kramer's AIDS awareness crusade of the early eighties. Ned Weeks (the Kramer character) had two difficulties: first, the straight media was unwilling to give headlines to what was perceived as a "gay disease", and gay journalists and officials were unwilling to come out of the closet and say what needed to be said. Second, the gay community, fresh from its own sexual revolution, was rebellious against any idea of abstinence.

I'm of two minds her
Alexandra Bradan
Oct 04, 2014 Alexandra Bradan rated it it was ok
Shelves: play
I have never read a play, if we leave out some passages from the Goldoni's masterpiece "La Locandiera", so when I've handle this book in my hands, I didn't know what to expect. At first I thought that it would be a love story, cruel and impossible, between a man and a woman, as the title suggested, but as soon as I've started to go through the first pages, I've come across something "strange" and "unusual": the forbidden love of men for other men. Let me clarify my position about this subject: I ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Aitziber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
So, at this point, I've heard of the story told in The Normal Heart three times. I first read And the Band Played on by Randy Shilts, which devotes long sections to Larry Kramer and the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Then I read City Boy by Edmund White, which last chapter covers his version of events. Then I watched the HBO movie (cried!) and, finally, I read the play.

The ebook I downloaded had a foreword by Tony Kushner, of Angels in America fame. In it, Kushner compares Kramer to an Old Testament p
Feb 24, 2013 Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, glbtq
I picked this up after seeing it performed on my campus recently. You can read my review of the performancein my personal blog. A lot of what I wrote there does apply to my reading of the text. Some may say the play is dated, but I think it remains as relevant as ever. Though the LGBTQ community has made many strides from the last century, there is still a lot of work to be done, and there is still a lot of ignorance, bigotry, neglect, and other issues, plus the AIDS epidemic remains as lethal a ...more
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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
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