A Small, Good Thing: Stories of Children with HIV and Those Who Care for Them

Anne Hunsaker Hawkins, Author W. W. Norton & Company $23.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-393-04944-2
A humanities professor at the Penn State College of Medicine, Hawkins spent several years observing the staff and patients at a pediatric AIDS clinic in southern Ohio. Here she presents in-depth accounts of six of the families she observed, all with children who were infected with HIV in the womb. Declining to sugarcoat the toll that poverty, drug-addicted or alcoholic parents, incest, abuse and illness has taken on these youngsters, Hawkins still finds in these young lives surprisingly positive stories. Angelina, an 11-year-old from Puerto Rico who has already lived with six different foster families, once nearly died from pneumonia; now, although dealing with psychological problems, she is deeply loved by her current foster family and appears to be thriving. In another case, Esther Hammond and her husband drew on their religious faith for strength to cope with negative reactions from their family and community when they adopted Alyssa and Marie, two HIV-infected children. One key figure appears throughout the narrative--Dr. Bennett, the skilled diagnostician who treats the children--and emerges as a hero as he fights medical administrators to provide better care for his patients. Moving and inspiring, this book is a thoughtful anecdotal study of a important societal issue. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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