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The Normal Heart

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,335 ratings  ·  75 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

(showing 1-30 of 2,606)
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ElphabaNewlin
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
Leo Robertson
If anything, understandably soapboxy, but assuredly fucking heartbreaking.
amomentsilence
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.

Review:
Now, I want to say something about this understandably powerful play - I think... seeing it would
...more
Laura
From IMDb:
A gay activist attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s.
Michael Callahan
Powerful, if not powerfully written. Visceral and raging. I didn't buy the play as something to read, but I fully bought the production as something to experience.
Theresa
I nearly bawled reading this last night.
Sam
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.
Hoàng Nguyễn
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
Alexandra Bradan
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
Aitziber
Aug 31, 2014 Aitziber rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Silvio111
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
...more
Kevin
I first read this play around the time it came out. There was a great quote about all the famous gay men in history that I kept on my dorm-room wall. That quote alone got me through some tough times in closeted Idaho. But I didn't see an actual production of the play until 2013, when I was struck by how prescient the play is, how still utterly relevant and fresh it seemed to be, and how gorgeous some of the writing is. This, *this* is a manifesto written in such a way as to stir the soul, create ...more
Craig
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.
Stacy
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.
Regina Clarkinia
Crying, tears, tears, I just cried so much. At every turn. A strident voice, an annoyingly stubborn loudmouth with high ideals and high-minded convictions was needed to get the truth out during the AIDS crisis. It's more than just about the suffering of a health crisis/plague. It's also about the hurt from being cast out and what that does to the members of that underclass.

This script was chopped with an axe, and put together with nails - not necessarily the most delicate piece of art. Some of
...more
Georgie
I want to dedicate this (very short) review to all the gay men and women who were ignored in the 1980s, to all the inspirational individuals who fought so hard to be heard. This is for you.

Larry Kramer did a truly remarkable thing when he wrote this play. I have so many feelings about it and none of them can be put into words. The Normal Heart is so very important that it's not even remotely plausible. The AIDs epidemic is extremely saddening and it continues to be heartbreaking, even in times
...more
Linh
- 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.
Antonella
Five stars, not because this short play is a masterpiece, but because the book depicts a fundamental piece of history, too often forgotten. The beginning of the AIDS epidemic and the political reaction, or lack of reaction, which caused the loss of many lives. That's why the play is angry - who wouldn't be? - powerful and emotional.
I cried already at the dedication:
To gay people everywhere, whom I love so.
''The Normal Heart'' is our history.
It could not have been written had not so many of us
...more
Ashlee
okay, so wow, I wish I could see this play live! It's really intense and informed me of an issue that I (I am ashamed to say) didn't know much about...
This play makes me want to know everything I can about this disease that has claimed the lives of lovers everywhere. It makes me want to help their cause and raise awareness in others. This play makes me feel so many things and makes me want to do so many things, and I think that means that this play achieved its goal.
it's a powerful, thought-pro
...more
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.
ah
humane
powerful
heartbreaking
touching
make me think about what's love
and let audiences experience what the particular group of people in society might have gone through in their life . what their life might be. help understand.
and much better than other plays I read that dealt with same subject .

clap to the brave playwright.

hope peace about this matter comes to all around the world
every corner of the world.

appreciated the debate, argument, realistic tension.

a lot of emotion is in here.

this kind o
...more
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
...more
Angel
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
Julie
I read A Normal Heart in an hour or two in the midst of my read-obsessively-about-AIDS-in-the-1980s kick. This kick is a very depressing one, as is A Normal Heart, a one-act play chronicling the experiences of Ned Weeks, an outspoken gay man battling government bureaucracy and community alienation during the earliest years of the outbreak.

Yet strangely, and wonderfully, ANH is also funny, poignant, poetic, brash and, well, just wildly human. To characterize Kramer's story as thinly-veiled autob
...more
Carly
This book is a really great overview of the beginning of the AIDS crisis through the eyes of someone who lived through it. While this is a fictionalized account, it is heavily based on Kasdan's own experiences. Considering how many members of the movement died during this period, it is heavily underrepresented. The Normal Heart is a great, accessible way to spread information about the AIDS crisis to those who are too young to have lived through it.
Elisabeth
Would love to see the new movie based off this since I don't know the next time it'll be a theater production. Most powerful scene for me was Felix dragging himself through spilled milk to reach his lover. That moment was so painful I had to laugh to release some emotion. I can't imagine being faced with death like that and I hate that government policy failed to educate so many individuals about how to protect themselves from AIDS.
Kate
Good story, not as heart wrenching as I thought it would be, quick read. I picked up because I know it's recently been make into a movie (w/Julia Roberts) so I thought it might be like August. Learned some amazing facts, though, about how the Aids epidemic was ignored and denied in the beginning. So many lives could have been saved... It's still not really given the respect that a world-wide epidemic should be given, but at least there is awareness and information on prevention and diagnosis. Al ...more
Alejandro
An undeniably important historical document, though I've always had trouble reading plays, specifically those with political subject matter. I think hearing impassioned and articulate speeches is much more convincing than reading them. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating window into the gay activist mindset during the AIDS crisis in 80s NYC, and I'm very intrigued by the impending film adaptation.
Grace
First play I've read voluntarily, and first play I've read ever since Shakespeare in high school. It was such an intense emotional experience, one I would've never expected from a play... a powerful poignancy weaved in between the lines, so many heartbreaks that just piled on top of one another. If only I could watch a production of it; it would culminate the experience of understanding this play.
David
Decided to re-read the play prior to seeing the HBO film version. Reading the powerful text again reminded me of the memorable Public Theater production of the play I saw just before leaving NYC to live in Nebraska. As well...it brought back those nightmarish NYC days so vividly described in the play.

Brilliant play!
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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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