“Self, Divided” by John Madeiros— Connections

Medeiros, John. “Self, Divided”, Howling Bird Press, 2021.


Amos Lassen

In 1995 John Medeiros and his identical twin brother took part in a gene therapy study in which the HIV-positive twin was infused with billions of genes from the HIV-negative twin. In this memoir we gain a firsthand perspective of a time in history when the world had to deal with a virus that could not be defeated. We look at, in depth, “the dysfunctional yet enduring relationships that surround this pivotal moment in Medeiros’s life and family” and we see how we all are connected to those around us.

Beautifully written, this story of a man ‘s reconciliations with his identity that is totally connected to his twin and a terrible and threatening medical diagnosis.

We are reminded of when HIV AIDS was a death sentence. It was a time of dread and worry. We see what it was to be a young gay male dealing with his sexuality, his feelings of being an identical twin, and his growing up in a religion that sees him as an abomination.

Medeiros has lived a lifetime of contradictions, some of which began before he was born. We see him through the way that contradictions come together to form his identity in all of its complications.

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