Review: ‘Still No Word From You,’ a memoir that redefines the experience of reading in a time of internet-mediated communication
What do you do when you have nothing to say? The woman who writes a best-selling memoir about her experience with HIV and her subsequent HIV-related death — which has been translated into more than 30 languages — is left to wonder that, while people are in the throes of a global pandemic that affects almost one in three people, she is not even being asked to comment on it.
A recent Reddit thread on the memoir, titled “Still No Word From You,” featured posts from women around the world who had had the same unsettling experience — an unspoken expectation that the world around them is simply not prepared to address the HIV and AIDS crisis. They had no choice but to write their experiences for the world to see.
The author, Deborah Fisher, has been open about her experiences since the beginning of the epidemic, admitting that she had a high viral load — the amount of virus that a person has in their blood — which meant that she had to take daily medications with side effects that could potentially kill her.
But Fisher’s experience, along with the other stories she shares in her book, is not unusual; people around the world are beginning to speak out about the HIV and AIDS epidemic because it is increasingly affecting their everyday lives.
The first edition of Fisher’s memoir came out in 1996, and just over a decade later, while Fisher’s condition had declined, the Internet was still an untested medium. In 2014, Fisher’s memoir was translated into seven languages.
The social media and the internet — which became the most common way for people to communicate when Fisher was in her early 30s — was a far more efficient way to share her story. From there, her story spread, and it continues to influence the discussion on HIV and AIDS today.
The internet has allowed more people to engage with Fisher since her