Troubling the Angels: Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Patti Lather, Author, Patricia A. Lather, Author, Chris Smithies, With
Patti Lather, Author, Patricia A. Lather, Author, Chris Smithies, With Westview Press $38 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8133-9016-1
Reviewed on: 07/07/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Hardcover - 283 pages - 978-1-4294-8661-3
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-283-27670-2
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Is this a self-help manual for HIV-positive women? Is it a social-science text? A feminist psychological study? Women's studies professor Lather and psychologist Smithies would like their book to be all three. The core text is a series of conversations held at support-group meetings for HIV-positive women in Ohio. Rather than following any specific woman's story, the chapters are arranged by subject (covering everything from doctors to dating). These group sessions are interspersed with text boxes of relevant statistics, results of scientific studies and resources for further information that may be helpful for the HIV-positive woman. The authors make themselves part of the story by providing running commentaries along the bottom half of many pages, which they hope will be a ""multilayered"" reading experience; but, in fact, the format is simply disjointed and off-putting. Their occasional dips into academic lingo may discourage those looking for straightforward advice on how to live with HIV/AIDS. Occasional chapters on the role of ministering angels in the AIDS epidemic are also poorly integrated with the women's stories, and at times sound as if they've been dropped in from another book. Much more effective are the sections where the authors struggle with their roles as both observers and participants, wanting to neither ""pathologize nor mythologize"" their subjects. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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