I have to thank Michelle for this one. If not for her glowing review I wouldn’t have picked up the book judging from the cover. It looks like some cheesy TV series from the 90s (not the first one, the second one below. I put the blue cover first because I just don’t like that second cover). And I wasn’t that far off. Pedro and Me is a true story about Pedro Zamora, a Cuban-American gay AIDS educator and activist, who developed relationship with straight-guy cartoonist Judd Winick in the most extraordinary circumstances. They met and became roommate in a reality TV show in the 90s called The Real World: San Fransisco–which worked like Big Brother, only the people in the house were allowed to go out and interacted with the outside world.
We know from the second page that Pedro was going to die. The book is a tribute to him and what a special tribute it is. Judd Winick is a fine cartoonist and storyteller. His illustrations are full of emotions and the story is told in a very gentle heartfelt way. You can really feel that their friendship was genuine and they made an impact on each other’s life. One of the most interesting things about the book is that we are told about the life of a gay guy from a straight guy point of view, not just any straight guy, but his roommate and best mate. What a unique perspective.
Pedro died in 1994 at the age of 22. The book was published in 2000 after 2.5 years in the making by Winick. I read it in 2010 and it made an impact on me. It’s amazing how Pedro’s legacy lives on even after he is long gone. I believe it’s an important book, the book to read for anyone wants to know more about gay people and people who lived with AIDS. Thanks to Pedro, he put a human face to those with the disease. Pedro and Me is about intimate life journey of a brave man and the wonderful friendship he had with another man who is just as great. It’s about fighting for life, about living, surviving, loss, friendship, and love.
“I think the experience of watching two people fall in love is like seeing a snowfall. It’s slow. It’s lush. And when everything is covered, it all looks perfect. It was magical. I’m biased. But you would’ve been, too.” ~ Judd Winick, on seeing Pedro fell in love
A lovely book that will stay with me for a long time..
2000, 187 pp
Judd Winick and Pedro Zamora
Graphic Novels 2010 (book #7)