When You Call My Name honestly broke me and slowly tried to put me together again. This is a beautiful beautiful story. It is set during the 1980s and 1990s and is centered around the HIV/AIDS epidemic. No book with this as it’s central premise is going to be happy but, this one has somehow also found a way to bring a sense of hope. A sense of hope filled with the acknowledgement of the loss and the need for healing in a community of broken souls.
When You Call My Name made me feel like I was right on the streets of NYC with the characters of Adam, Cullum, and Ben. I adored there characters and the way that their stories intersected throughout. All three characters are gay and trying to find their own identities in this large city. The AIDS epidemic has affected each of them personally and how they view their lives now. I really wanted to just give each of them a hug.
The writing of this story is so vivid and beautiful. You can picture what is being described and at times feel like you can reach out and touch them. These locations play a key notes in several of the events in this story. Key events that change the course for each character and strengthen them. Some of this gave me goosebumps, filled my eyes with tears, and caused me to paused in my reading. It is just so good!
Popular culture plays a huge note in this book as well. For Adam, it’s the popular music of the day especially Madonna. For Callum, it’s classical music and the method of composing art. For Ben, music is important but, the popular culture that really captures his eye in photograph form. All the characters that each male character encounters plays a role in their personal growth and experience. This is like a love letter to the experiences of the late 80s/90s for the queer population in NYC.
When You Call My Name is honestly difficult for me to review because it is about so many things. There is acceptance and caring to terms with who you are. There is al this wonderful idea of found family and being loved no matter what unexpected events come your way. Adam, Callum, and Ben are all going through different experiences but, these experiences were all interconnected in so many different ways. Like I said, I wanted to give each of them a hug and hold them one and make them feel safe. These are three characters who will stay with me for a long long time.
Rating: 5 Stars
*I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**