This graphic novel is about Pedro Zamora, a gay Cuban immigrant who contracted HIV at age 17, became an public speaker about AIDS, and died at age 22. He and the author, Judd Winick, were roommates on The Real World on MTV. They also became good friends. This book was Winick’s way of saying thank you, of honoring Pedro and getting his story out.
I never watched The Real World, or really MTV much at all. I didn’t know Pedro, though I think I vaguely remember people talking about him. However, his story was really touching. I teared up several times reading this graphic novel. For someone I didn’t know, it’s amazing how sad I felt as he struggled, as everyone around him struggled.
Pedro was an amazing person. He did so much to educate people about AIDS. He taught facts and dispelled myths. More than that, he stood up and showed everyone that being a gay man or being a person with AIDS was not a stereotype. He was human. He was real. People saw him instead of a fear, and they came to understand. He reached millions of lives, and has probably saved quite a few, too, by spreading knowledge and education. He is an inspiration. I’m so glad to have read about him.