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My Pet Virus

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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  329 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
""I was destined for a life of medical drama from day one,"" begins this comic memoir with a mission Iwas destined for a life of medical drama from day one,"" begins this comic memoir with a mission. ""I was born in the month of July, and my horoscope sign is a disease (Cancer). The symbol for Cancer? A crab (the sexually transmitted critter). Not only that, my parents nam ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Tarcher (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kate
Aug 02, 2007 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I devoured it in one day, it was that good. An easy (and surprisingly light) story about a hemophiliac man who gets infected with HIV when he’s young. This is his story about growing up with the virus and how it forms his life. He keeps it light and even inspirational at times. He seems like the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with.
Jessi
Mar 15, 2009 Jessi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a classic, but I think other people need to read it! Several people I know have read the book and were not impressed by it. Perhaps I have a "But the grace of God I go" attitude, and I'm not in that pack. Like the main character, I have a bleeding disorder. Unlike him, I am not reliant on human derived products. Mainly, because of technology that wasn't available to Shawn in the 80s and also because unlike some people with bleeding disorders today, I respond to synthetic factor.

Shawn
...more
Perryville Library
Diagnosed with hemophilia at eighteen months of age, Shawn Decker’s life was always a little different than most. Tonka toys were replaced by giant foam cars, and nose bleeds were the cause of many trips to the hospital. When your blood can’t clot properly, a good deal of your time is spent trying not to bleed. One very unfortunate aspect of having hemophilia is the need for blood transfusions. Shawn has received hundreds of transfusions, and because they mix many different blood samples for eac ...more
Laurie
Oct 31, 2007 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an interesting book about a guy who was infected with HIV through a blood transfusion back in the 80s before the government decided to actually check people's blood for things like hep C, hep B, and HIV. There were parts of the book (like the guy's obsession with sex during adolescence) that made me go "Uhm, why do I care how he learned about porn movies?" It just seemed irrelevant. I also had a hard time reading the parts where he talked about dating girls but not telling them he was HIV p ...more
Mike Van Campen
This is a touching book about one person's struggle with hemophilia and HIV. Decker and his wife use their experiences to educate others--a valuable service. However, Decker--like many folks who move from blog (or Web sites) to books--is just not a good writer--at least in long form. His metaphors are strained, his attempts at humor mostly fall flat, and much of his prose is rather forced. One wishes he had a good editor or a competent ghost writer to help him share his important life story.
Sarah
Feb 15, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
I will freely acknowledge that I probably liked this at least partly for "six degrees" reasons: the author contracted HIV as a child from infected blood products he needs to treat hemophilia (just like my stepdad!) and he did so in a small town (20 minutes from where I now live!) and then moved to a nearby small city (where I now live!) to become a sexuality educator (like me!) But it was also funny and frank and uplifting, so I'm pretty sure people not me will like it too.
Abby
Jun 01, 2011 Abby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting enough story of a man with AIDS and how he met his wife and how their relationship works. The problem is the writing was sub-par and his sense of humor was incredibly basic.
Danny
Jan 17, 2014 Danny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
So totally intended on reading My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker today, but I didn’t actually think I would enjoy it so much. I volunteer at AIDS Niagara and my mom works there. I’ve been volunteering there since I was 17 and have now run a small aid for pets for the clients where I make sure that the clients’ pets are taken care of and have everything they need in emergent situations. I have learned a lot of about HIV/AIDS in these years and it’s been a great way for me to get involved, despite that ...more
Eva Leger
Nov 03, 2008 Eva Leger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eva by: myself
Shelves: b-non-fiction, humor
This was a great book for someone like me who could use some teaching on the subjects of HIV/AIDS and the things that come with it. Shawn Decker's sense of humor is OUTSTANDING and I found myself completely enthralled many times that someone who has had so many horrible things thrown into his life is so full of life and full of love.
The book itself is a memoir which I love so if you like memoirs definitely give it a shot. Decker is down to earth and his family members bring their own unique qua
...more
Sarah Sammis
Sep 29, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
I associate books with places and events. My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker will always remind me of horses. Decker never mentions horses but I read the first half of his memoir while parked at the start of Bort Meadow Staging Area while three horses were being saddled up for a ride.

My Pet Virus is the memoir inspired by the blog of Shawn and later, his wife, Gwen. Take away the virus, HIV, and it's an up beat memoir. For its humor and tone, it reminds me of Alan Alda's first memoir, Never Have Your
...more
Amy
Jan 10, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I feel badly saying "meh" to a memoir because it feels like saying "meh" to someone's life but, meh. At times I was interested but mostly I was bored. At times, I was offended. For someone whose made the sincere effort to make friends/connect with gay men with HIV/AIDS, I was surprised to see the author write that an aggressive woman is "too bull dykish" (i.e. use bull-dyke as an insult). There's also one chapter that reads like, "I'm not racist but ..."

I was at times bothered by the casually la
...more
Beth
Jul 01, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
I LOVED the beginning of this book, when at it's pure memoir-heart Decker recounted growing up with hemophilia and HIV in a small town in VA. Unfortunately, I quickly lost interest once he broke out of childhood. The book went from revelatory ("this is how it felt") to expository-didactic ("I got over my reluctance to speak out and this is what I did as a result"). The challenge of that transition is absent from Decker's retelling. The PW review sums it up well: "Decker's bravery is inarguably a ...more
Annie
May 09, 2010 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really nice memoir--very funny and thought-provoking. two memorable highlights: how decker calls his girl his "wife partner" and how he describes and attempts to break the tension between the gay hiv+ community and the hemophiliac hiv+ community. super cute all around. 'specially all the awkward and hilarious middle and high school chapters. finally, i love how his family fights for him throughout all his stages of development/ the whole book, with school officials, doctors, nurses, friends' par ...more
HeavyReader
I enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed Decker's gently snarky humor. I don't think I laughed aloud while reading this book, but I did chuckle, at least to myself.

I appreciated the author's honesty and upbeat attitude.

At one point before I finished reading this book, I couldn't find it and thought I had lost it. That made me feel very sad. (Let me tell you, some books I've been reading, I wish I would lose.)I was glad when the book turned up in my room, and I was able to read it to the end.

I wis
...more
Jessica Proffitt
Mar 24, 2009 Jessica Proffitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jessica by: The author.
This is possibly the best book I've ever read. It shows that you can live your life, even if you're different. It shows that you can make it, even if you're dying. It taught me that no matter what hand I'm delt, I can always make it work. Life is crazy that way, it throws us these crazy twists and turns.. Some we're meant to handle, and some we're meant to go careening off the edge.. But, it's always worth the effort.
Amy
Oct 09, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, an informative memoir about what it is like to live with a smorgasbord of illnesses, Hemophilia, Hepatitis C, HIV, and AIDS, minus the poor me factor. I felt guilty for enjoying this book as much as I did, but I couldn't help it. It was very funny. I highly recommend this book, a nice heartwarming read, so sad to have to end up with so many illnesses as a result of receiving tainted blood products! I sure hope the screening process for donating blood has improved!
Kit
Sep 16, 2009 Kit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
My Pet Virus tells the story of Shawn Decker, a hemophiliac who contracted HIV as a young child. Interesting read as he chronicles what it was like to grow up and live as a young heterosexual man with a "gay disease." Surprisingly light and funny for a book dealing with such a deep subject manner. It was also fun because Steve Schalchlin, an HIV+ musician who I met through Olympia PFLAG, makes an appearance and it makes me feel a little bit famous to read about people I have met.
Carla
May 11, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good book. I was captured enough by Mr. Decker's story that I had a hard time putting this book down. The only downside was I found him immature in places, and it was hard to not get annoyed with some of the choices he made, but given the serious illnesses he's dealt with, I could forgive him for that. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in reading a story about a person with AIDS.
Chrissy
May 16, 2007 Chrissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a man who caught HIV from blood products for a bleeding disorder. It documents how he dealt with this and moved on- he is even married and has lived longer than anyone thought possible. A short book, at times funny, but not a real page-turner and it is important that he is somewhat of an exception among those who are HIV positive.
Allison
Jun 30, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it. I love medical memoirs, but that aside, this was well written, engrossing, and educational. I just didn't want it to end. I wanted to know more and more about this man's life. It gives you real perspective on your life and really makes you want to stand up and fight for everything you want and desreve.
Sue
Jul 07, 2007 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shawn Decker contracted Hepatitis C and HIV as a child getting blood transfusions to treat hemophilia. He has outlived his original prognosis by 2 decades, is happily married and has created a wonderful career as an AIDS educator. Highly recommend to anyone who like to read about people making lemonade from a pile of lemons.
Kesha
Mar 04, 2012 Kesha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book. I loved his humor and candor. I can understand why he did not want to let everybody, including girlfriends, know he was the 'HIV+' kid. Some parents should read this book because it will show them that you can't assume your teenager will do the adult thing even though they know they should.
Lisa
Jun 20, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
It was really interesting to read, and I started and finished it today. It gave me a lot of hope as we are open to adopting an HIV positive child, while also giving me a glimpse into the harder day to day problems with it.
Katie
Feb 23, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The major factor that makes this book stand out for me is the author's sense of humor. It's really a testament to the fact that being able to find something to laugh about in virtually any situation is a valuable trait to have. Simply put, that's what truly made this book such an engaging read.
James
Nov 03, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hiv-aids, memoir
Very cute. Very hopeful. But I do feel like some of the very raw, key aspects of living with HIV were kind of glazed over. Oh, and I think "pozitron" sounds a little cooler than "positoid." But that's just me.
Carley
Mar 18, 2010 Carley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful Memoir with a fun,light,comical outlook on life despite having a blood disorder and becoming infected with HIV through tainted blood product as a child.I would highly recommend this book to anyone.:)
Leisy
Sep 02, 2010 Leisy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting book about a boy who is infected with HIV due to hemophilia treatments as a child. I didn't love the author's voice or view on life- but parts of the disease were interesting to read about- as were the reactions/interactions he had growing up with HIV.
Melody
Sep 16, 2007 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear-eyed and wryly hilarious. Decker is an HIV+ hemophiliac, or as he prefers, a positoid thinblood. This memoir is charming and accessible, decorated with almost enough photos. The tone is just exactly right, and Decker never misses a laugh or an opportunity to educate. A delight.
Sara
Dec 12, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
A fantastically funny look into a not-so-funny subject - living with HIV/AIDS and other medical issues. You'll fall in love with Shawn's wit. All I kept thinking the whole time I read this is, "Man, this guy and I so could be friends."
Katie Lemonds
Aug 21, 2008 Katie Lemonds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not an autobiography person, but Augusten Burroughs was quoted on the back of the book, and I trust him! Although the circumstances are unfortunate for Shawn, he makes such great light of them and is winning his battle in the process. And he got to meet Depeche Mode, awesome!
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