Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Curtis Waite Sven Paardekooper
SORRY, NOT DEAD YET!
Austin, TX 03-21-11 -- Sorry, Not Dead Yet! is the title to one of the most down to earth books dealing with Crank addiction and being HIV positive at the same time. Sven Paardekooper takes his readers along a gripping rollercoaster ride from the moment this immigrant from Holland learns that he is HIV positive and to the time that his healing is in full gear. Along the way you read deep personal statements of how he dealt with his additction and growth into the person he is today.
Creative House International Press, Inc., is dedicated to bringing life affirming books to the world at large, and it is clear with this full of life work that they are doing just that. Sven's sense of humor, gut wrenching honesty is throughout the book. There are no hidden sweetness in these pages.
Sorry, Not Dead Yet! is available from the publisher through their web site at: CreativeHousePress.com, or through any major book store or eBook reader.
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Book Review: Sorry, Not Dead Yet!
by George Curtis
From the moment you start reading this book, you quickly realize the author's clever style, insightfulness, and humor comes from a man with an experienced soul. Yes, the situations and behavior portray the life of someone young, captivated by his new home country, living the carefree life, and only for the moment's pleasure. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your expectations, the author chose not to tell another story about the horrors of drug addiction. Instead, he boldly chose to expose his most intimate thoughts, feelings, choices, during this period in his life -- regardless of a judgmental response or rejection. What a different kind of gift this is for people currently living that life and for those that love them. Partners and parents, teachers and students, the impassioned and caring needing to understand human despair and how it can be used to attain long-term meaning and purpose in life will find this book pragmatic and immediately useful.
Sorry, Not Dead Yet!, introduces us to a 21 year old, bright-eyed, immigrant from rural Holland. He arrived in Los Angeles with $5000 and a fervent determination to succeed in achieving the America Dream. Wanting it all and without haste, he eagerly searches for his "new and beautiful" identity as the shiniest new star of Los Angeles in the early 1990's. In spite of his precocious aptitude to learn and adapt, above average intelligence, larger-than-life presence, and dangerous and intriguing willingness to risk all to be the life of the party, he still felt shy, frightened of being alone, and desperate for affection. All too abruptly, he realized he had directed his own psychological, spiritual, and social degradation; and, he didn't know how to stop the progressive, tortuous subjugation to drug addiction and a fatalistic approach to living. Eventually, he ended up conspiring against himself by knowingly, not necessarily consciously, putting himself in harm's way. The result "HIV infection" was cruel punishment, yet by his own admission, he believed at that moment it to be his self-generated "just reward".
This initiated a process of continuous loss, confusion over whose responsibility was it for being abandoned by friends and family, and a profound journey to find his values, beliefs, and strengths.
This journey is described through a series of writings—what the author refers to as editorials—using prose, essays, poems, and even e-mails. From the perspective of the reader, the style achieves what the author is working to accomplish—making it pertinent, pragmatic, and straightforward. We do not get a story with a discreet starting point through to an ending point wherein the author summarizes for us a set of "rules to live by" or a recipe for living the serene life. This will frustrate some readers who prefer neater, more short and snappy packaging.
What sets this book apart is that it was written as the events were occurring—not after the fact. It is the honest, straightforward, painful, and gripping experiences during this part of his journey in life as they were occurring. The situations described or the emotions vented are not tempered with denial, over-dramatized self-pity, or otherwise sanitized by a memory dazed with excessive pain, fear, and desperation. It is the blunt and uncensored display of emotions, struggles with his demons, with ultimately a happy ending. Without really trying, the author accomplishes presenting a more realistic version of how life works than most authors of self-help or true-life stories. Life occurs most often by happenstance, the approach is illogical, and it almost always defies planning—an actuality with which human beings from all walks of life, cultures, belief systems, etc. can relate.
He felt alone and enmeshed in a flurry of relationships most often ending in dispassionate detachment or extreme abuse. His collection of friends diminished to nothing more than a circle of novelty seekers prodding him along in bastardizing his stressed and fragile ego; pushy and clingy superficial "friends; selfish and jealous losers vacant of purpose and meaning in their own lives. Then there were the outright sociopathic personality types who hung around the periphery of his social circle waiting for their chance to pounce on his doubts and use up his talents. With a minute exception of 2 or 3 loyal and forthright friends, none of the author's on-again, off-again, don't-ask-me-again friends balked at taking full advantage of his naiveté, eagerness to please, and most endearing form of attachment—that of a Boy.
The emotionally detached, parasitic, and moribund creatures that we are all familiar with thrive within assemblages of any economic class, profession, performance federation, religious organization, familial arrangement, or lifestyle-defined communities, etc. When the people he saw as friends and confidents began to peel off, self-doubt took seed debilitating his already fragile self-esteem.
These were the people he helped through their crisis. These so-called friends demonstrated an uncanny ability to slickly misrepresent circumstances, alter the truth, and/or maneuver out of any sense of responsibility as friends. In an ultimate display of selfishness, they deserted him when the greatest challenge of his life manifests itself. Swirling inside of his psyche was this profound sense of loss, loneliness, guilt, and disenchantment. The author describes for us his sense of desperation for living and the constant challenge and "work" of survival.
This book does not always read easily, or should I say, reading it can arouse psychologically uncomfortable recognitions of oneself. What we are reading now is what the author was writing about then -- the events, life experiences, epiphanies, spiritual revelations, therapeutic insights were occurring. The situations described or the emotions vented are not tempered with denial, over-dramatized self-pity, or otherwise sanitized by a memory dazed with excessive pain, fear, and desperation. It is the blunt and uncensored display of emotions, battling mean-spirited demons, struggling with moral conundrums, with an ultimately happy ending. It's like looking in a mirror and seeing into your soul.
The author's use of innuendo and sarcasm, instead of a more traditional style of presenting his subjects can get annoying for some readers. For others, it may go over their head. However, I believe this approach exemplifies the author's brilliant and clever mind, as well as, the fun he gets from the use of sarcasm. Then again, maybe it's just his way of keeping the impact of this brutal yet immense impact on his life in perspective -- not letting the situations, events, attitudes, emotions overwhelm him or cloud the purpose of this life-long journey.
Sorry, Not Dead Yet! is published by Creative House International Press, Inc. and is available through their web site at: CreativeHousePress.com, or any major book store.
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