Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire
By Richard Giannone
In this brief but expressive memoir, Giannone (English, emeritus, Fordham Univ.; Flannery O’Connor: Hermit Novelist) discusses his experiences as a closeted gay man, a Roman Catholic, an academic, and a caregiver. In large part about difficulty and pain, this is a work that resists easy or tidy conclusions. While caring for ailing female relations, Giannone rediscovered a spirituality inspired in part by the desert fathers and mothers of the third century and in part by his scholarly work on Flannery O’Connor. Although more of a life story than a reflective or spiritual autobiography, his work captures two important historical points: the impact of AIDS on gay life and the experience of baby boomers as caregivers. VERDICT Although Giannone does not fully integrate his difficult experiences into a cohesive work or really succeed in seeing them as aspects of larger forces, his memoir will be of interest to social historians and many gay and lesbian readers.