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Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,590 ratings  ·  288 reviews
"You are eighteen years old. You get up in front of a thousand people--your classmates, your friends, basically the people who make up your entire existence--and announce, 'I'm HIV positive.'"

Told entirely in sequential art, here is the story of the life-changing friendship between the author, a cartoonist from Long Island, and Pedro Zamora, an HIV-positive AIDS activist,
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 6th 2000 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published September 2000)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,590 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Julie Ehlers
The San Francisco season of The Real World was the best of all time. Hyperbole? Just look at the facts. Sure, the first New York season was good, but it was short and unleashed Eric Nies onto the world. The L.A. season was good, but the people were all annoying, and not in an entertaining way. And obviously, the whole franchise started to go downhill after the third season.

But it all came together with the San Francisco cast, which featured mostly intelligent people who could carry on a convers
B Schrodinger
I know this looks like the cover to an after school special, and it is actually like an after school special. But don't judge me.

I first came across Judd's work with the hilarious "Barry Ween" series which I do adore (I should write reviews for them). But I did not enjoy his collection of "Frumpy the Clown", which was unfunny newspaper type strips. So I picked this up a few years ago with no idea what it was about.

Turns out it's an autobiographical comic on the author's relationship with his fri
I always find it important that when it comes to our identity, we need to learn about the history of the generations before you in order to learn the struggles and dilemma they suffered so that way our generation and future generations do not have to follow the same hardships. Sadly most people nowadays do not care about the past or do not bother learning whereas I found this comic book refreshing and important.

Ever since I realized who I am truly am in my sexual orientation, it became my primar
Sooraya Evans
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book that's hard to put down once you start reading.
The cartoonish drawing style made it all the more sad.
Without a doubt, Pedro truly inspired a lot of people in both life and death.
That phone call from Bill Clinton was the best.
As a remarkable communicator and motivator, PML took away his gift. How torturous :(
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel, for upper junior high and high school students, is the emotional, educational story of Pedro Zamora. Winick describes his and Pedro’s childhood and the experiences that brought them to apply for the MTV show – The Real World. He talks about their fears about moving into the house as someone with HIV and someone with no real knowledge about the disease. For people who are not familiar with the real world, they may not understand the importance of the information about how sick ...more
Christine Jensen
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Junior High/High School

Format: Graphic Novel

Awards: ALA Notable Books for Children (2001), ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2001), Robert F. Sibert Information Book Honor (2001)

Reliving the experience from MTVs Real World San Francisco, cartoonist and author Judd Winick relates of his experience living with and losing his friend Pedro Zamora, AIDS activist, to AIDS in graphic novel format.

I remember watching Pedro and Judd on the MTV Real World San Fran
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned about this book from a Nerdy Book Club blog post.

This is a true story. It's about a man who is HIV +. The author meets him when they make it through the auditions for an MTV series and become roommates in the house where the show is filmed. The story talks about prejudisms and misunderstandings around the disease.

I knew someone that died of HIV/AIDs about the same time. When I think of the sadness and the shame around that time, it breaks my heart. Society, in general, was not willing
A poignant, loving tribute to a friend whose courage and strength in dying was evident from day one. Judd Winick met Pedro Zamora on MTV's The Real World, a voyeuristic reality show which chronicled the lives of six roommates thrown together for six months. Pedro, HIV positive was Judd's roommate and eventually became a trusted friend along with another cast member, Pam Ling, a med student.

Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned is much more than words, it is part education, part mem
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this is an emotional read, still relevant to today, though I'm really glad we've made progress on AIDS research and funding!!
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, graphic-novels
I remember watching Pedro Zamora on The Real World in real time, back when I was an impressionable teenager, and I think that has something to do with why I never felt particularly drawn to this book. I clearly remember Pedro’s time as a proto-celebrity of reality television, his mission of AIDS education in a time where it was still a new and frightening disease, and his untimely death. I read this book as part of a comic book club at a local high school, alongside teens who weren’t yet born wh ...more
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
MTV's The Real World: San Francisco is the only season I ever watched (with Pedro, Judd, et al). At the time, it was a great escape and yet I appreciated it for its ability to give us a glimpse into life's struggles much more realistically than what "reality tv" consists of today. I remember thinking back then about what an amazing guy Pedro Zamora must have been, and was touched early on by his story.

I am grateful to have learned more about him through this book. It's a candid look at friendsh
Erin Moulton
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You know when you're reading a book at lunch and you're choking on your food trying not to cry in front of your friends/coworkers? That's what happened with this book.

Judd Winnick created Pedro and me to chronicle the time he spent with Pedro Zamora from time spent being on the Real World through the end of his short and impressive life. I've never watched The Real World, so I went into the book not knowing who Pedro Zamora or Judd Winnick were. It didn't matter, though, and graphic novel form
Myrka Solis
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
the book was good at first i didn't want to read it then i got really into it ...more
Etain Ryan
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Years ago my brother told me about this book and lent me his copy. Randomly it came into my head last week and I picked up a copy. Pedro and his story are just as important today as they were when he was alive. Judd beautifully captures this brave young person who shared his story of HIV with the world in a time when it was unheard of. Not only does the story give us a glimpse of Pedro the person but we also see him as a friend, son, brother and finally husband. The friendship between Judd and P ...more
Petty Lisbon
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tv-is-my-friend
Maybe it's because I've been treating reading as a chore lately, but this book hit me right in the gut. I read my fair share of graphic novels and comic books (although for whatever reasons, I don't mark the Riverdale ones on here), but this one showed me the storytelling potential of this medium. I haven't seen Season 3 of The Real World yet but I've read about Pedro's story, and even if you already know about him, reading all about it from a close friend instead of just Wikipedia makes it so m ...more
April Gain
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was not what I expected it to be. Winnick artfully captures his friendship with Pedro from their time in the Real World house through his tragically early death. He tells the story with compassion and intimacy and incorporates resources and information with the story. Though not specifically YA, it could be read and understood by young adults and has a valuable message about shame and health that's important for young people to see. ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Although I did like and appreciate this book I simply didn't enjoy it; the art style although I do like over time I grew tired of and the story seemed to flow but then push itself under the rug to talk about something else that (although did contribute and was apart of the current story-line) would just interrupt and confuse me as a reader.

Now I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it at all I simply had my gripes with it and felt as though those over-weighed my praise. I did however like the story bein
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Graphic Novel by Judd Winick from The Real World: San Francisco about his friendship with castmate Pedro. Pedro was HIV-positive and on TV-- an iconic appearance in 1994.

I had no idea Judd Winick was a prolific graphic novelist but it's obvious why. This was a magnificently told story about Pedro's last year of life, before he died at just 22
Really beautiful story about spreading HIV/AIDS awareness. I haven't seen MTV's Real World, but am interested to watch this season now. Pedro touched many lives, and this story continues in his legacy. <3 Educational and beautiful. ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got more attached than I expected given that I haven't seen the Real World season 3 yet. Judd did a great job. ...more
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
MTV’s The Real World was barely on my radar back in the 90s. While The Real World: San Francisco was being filmed and broadcast starting in 1994, not only was I finishing up my BA at the UW, but I also jumped ship after graduating when I high-tailed it to Europe for several months. All before jump-starting my own reality back here in the States. (Ah, the memories.) So for this very reason, I never become a fan of The Real World – or any mid-90s TV show, for that matter. But now, fifteen years af ...more
L-Crystal Wlodek
Pedro and Me is a Sibert Honor book (2001) and is recommended for students ages 14 and up. This book is a cartoon memoir that tells the story of Pedro Zamora, a Cuban immigrant, aids educator, and star of MTV The Real World San Francisco. The author, who was Pedro’s roommate on the Real World, tells the story of their friendship, Pedro’s life, and the affect he had on many people around the world. This book is visually creative and appealing and serves as a vivid memorial of Pedro Zamora’s life. ...more
Laura Noto
Pedro and Me is a graphic novel for older readers in jr. high and high school. It is about the lives of Judd and Pedro. The book talked about their different childhoods and their shared experience in the Real World 3 house in San Francisco. Pedro was HIV positive and he spent his time educating others about HIV and prevention. He taught Judd a lot about HIV and his outlook on life. Even though Pedro knew that he was going to die, he still worked hard to educate others and he fell in love
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was in love with Pedro Zamora.

Oh, I never met him. I just watched (and obsessively re-watched) season 3 of The Real World. Pedro was sweet and smart and funny and brave and he had a laugh exactly like my own boyfriend's. It's funny now to remember how starved we were then for honest representation. Pedro was that, but also more than that. He was was fantastic. I don't think I'm crazy, but I really felt like he was my friend.

Naturally, I bought this book when it came out, but then I let it sit
Sam Tanner
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of interesting books throughout school and this is arguably the most interesting book I have read. It is about a young talented comic strip author for a local newspaper, who didn’t get his big shot until he tried out for a MTV tv series 1994 The Real World San Francisco. He was skeptical about joining the tv series because he would be living with someone who is HIV positive and has aids. Judd Winick having second thoughts about joining the show, Decided even though he didn’t kn ...more
Ms. D
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning, before The Hills and Jersey Shore, there was quality reality TV. (Seems like an oxymoron now.) For instance, The Real World, San Francisco. (And no, Sade, the show wasn't in black and white, but it did air before you were born, in 1994.) This graphic novel is written by one of the "seven strangers" on that show, about his roommate and friend Pedro Zamora. Pedro was an AIDS activist and educator who probably did more to raise awareness than anyone at his time or since. As Presid ...more
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
I picked up this book after last week's news that Sean Sasser had died. When Real World San Fran was on TV, I was still in high school. I was newly out, and Pedro Zamora was so freaking cute and gay and HIV+. He was my hero - except for the HIV, he was everything I wanted to be - yes, I wanted to be Cuban.

I'm happy to see that Winick is still working in his desired field - comics. Though I wish he'd do something as thoughtful and heartfelt as Pedro and Me.

Beautifully drawn.

Thank you, Pedro.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the most inspiring book i have ever read. Pedro wasn't someone who was sick and felt bad for himself. He realized he was sick, and wanted to make a difference. I truly think we can all learn from him. When something goes wrong in our life we need to learn not to morn constantly. Instead think of the positives that can come out of it.Pedro did not only have aids, he educated about his aids. Letting people know the facts and the lies. Yes Aids is an illness, and usually does lead to death ...more
Stephanie Costa
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I pretty much cried my way through this book. For fans of the 1993 San Francisco season of the Real World this is a sweet reminder of reality TV at its best. Not that we don't remember the awful moments, but you're not going to find them recounted here. Winick sticks to his purpose of keeping Pedro's light alive. It's a reminder that AIDS education is still important and a tribute to a wonderful friendship. An enjoyable and inspiring read from start to finish. ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little simple in its telling, and a little message-oriented, but I still liked it. It made me cry (which isn't saying much, as I recently cried over an episode of Restaurant: Impossible); there's always something about a death that is written honestly in some way or another, where the characters face it and the author shares it. I suppose, for me, it helps me connect with the characters as well as myself, and there's a relief in connecting with something rather than avoiding it. ...more
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Born February 12th, 1970 and raised on Long Island in New York, Judd began cartooning professionally at 16 with a single-paneled strip called Nuts & Bolts. This ran weekly through Anton Publications, a newspaper publisher that produced town papers in the Tri state area. He was paid 10 dollars a week.

In August of 1988, Judd began attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor bringing Nuts & Bolts

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