Naked Truth (Brown)

The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Postive
Marvelyn Brown, Courtney Martin, 2008
240 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780061562396

The surprisingly hopeful story of how a straight, nonpromiscuous, everyday girl contracted HIV and how she manages to stay upbeat, inspired, and more positive about life than ever before

At nineteen years of age, Marvelyn Brown was lying in a stark white hospital bed at Tennessee Christian Medical Center, feeling hopeless. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but she was battling a sudden illness in the intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on. It never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive.

Having unprotected sex with her Prince Charming had set into swift motion a set of circumstances that not only landed her in the fight of her life, but also alienated her from her community. Rather than give up, however, Brown found a reason to fight and a reason to live.

The Naked Truth is an inspirational memoir that shares how an everyday teen refused to give up on herself, even as others would forsake her. More, it's a cautionary tale that every parent, guidance counselor, and young adult should read. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 7, 1984
Where—Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Awards—Emmy Award
Currently—lives in Brooklyn, New York, New York

Marvelyn Brown is an African American author and AIDS activist whose autobiographical book (The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive) tells her story as a young heterosexual women contracting HIV/AIDS at the young age of 19. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but found herself suddenly battling an unknown illness in an intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on, and it never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive.

Brown’s tale has had quite an impact on the AIDS community, and the world, as she travels telling her story trying to make more people aware of the continuing growth of the AIDS pandemic.

Her book and work as an HIV/AIDS activist has resulted in Brown having had extensive radio and television appearances. Marvelyn Brown has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, America's Next Top Model, CNN, MTV, BET, and The Tavis Smiley Show. She has also appeared in Newsweek, Ebony Magazine, and Real Health magazines. Her public-service announcement for Think MTV won an Emmy Award. Marvelyn Brown continues to write and has dedicated her life to HIV/AIDS awareness. Brown was names one of the Top 25 Heroes of the past twenty-five years of the AIDS epidemic (other noted AIDS activist included on this list are Alicia Keys, Magic Johnson and Phill Wilson). (From Wikipedia.)

Book Reviews
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Make a note to add The Naked Truth; Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive by Marvelyn Brown to your bookshelf. In this poignant account, Brown 24, provides a cautionary tale about how she became HIV-positive at 19.

Be inspired by this true story of a 19-year old who contracted the HIV virus from her longtime monogamous boyfriend and became an Emmy Award winning advocate for HIV awareness.

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Naked Truth:

1. Should this book be required reading for teens?

2. Do you think there is still a lot of misinformation in this country—ignorance, superstition or naivete—when it comes to AIDS? Are there things you learned about AIDS from reading Brown's book? Did anything in this book surprise you?

3. Did this book inspire you to become involved the fight against the spread of AIDS. What can you, or any individual, do—on a large or small scale?

4. What is the impact that Brown says her father's suicide has had on her life? We talk a great deal about the absence of a father figure for young males, but what about young females? What light does Brown's book shed on losing a father for a young girl?

5. What ultimate message about being HIV-positive does Brown convey in her both her book and her many public appearances?

6. What kind of a person is Marvelyn Brown?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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