Loustalot is the author of This Is How You Say Goodbye, released by St. Martin's Press this fall. Subtitled “A Daughter's Memoir,” the book is an exploration of Loustalot's relationship with her father, his experience with AIDS, his eventual suicide in the face of deteriorating health, and Loustalot's attempt—years later—to fulfill his promise to her of a trip around the world.
Part of what makes this memoir so “heart-wrenching” (Booklist), “bittersweet” (Kirkus), and “probing” (Publishers Weekly) can likely be traced to Loustalot's membership in this “in-between generation.” Her father was among the last group of people who contracted HIV for whom effective treatment did not yet exist. Only after his death did living with AIDS become a possibility.
In her interview, Loustalot explains how difficult it was to be “in-between” and consequently witness both sides of the AIDS crisis:
I spent the first half of my childhood seeing what the AIDS of dying looked like up close and personal, and then the second half of my childhood, after my father's death, seeing this whole new vision and life of what AIDS and HIV could mean for somebody. And so to have one foot in each, and reconciling myself with that and growing up with that duality....I think...now is the moment for people to be talking about this. Because it wasn't that long ago, and I think we've forgotten what it looked like.
You can listen to Loustalot's full interview below:
December 1 is World AIDS Day. Events surrounding the day have already begun and will continue through the beginning of December. According to WorldAidsCampaign.org, World AIDS Day has been held since 1988 as “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.”
In commemorating her father's experience with AIDS and chronicling her own journey to come to terms with his death, Loustalot's memoir does exactly what World AIDS Day sets out to do in its mission. If, as Loustalot says, now is the time to start talking about how AIDS has affected our generation, there is no better way to begin the conversation than with This Is How You Say Goodbye.
Below are some of the excellent reviews This Is How You Say Goodbye has received since its release:
“Eloquent...Gently probing, reflective...Loustalot’s careful, deliberative prose delineates a young woman’s arduous passage to self-realization.” --Publishers Weekly
“Moving...By turns sweet...and heart-wrenching...Loustalot writes with courage and candor about bidding her beloved father a final farewell.” --Booklist
“Compelling reading. An intimate portrait of a bittersweet father-daughter relationship.” --Kirkus
"Moves between past and present and is told in frank, detailed narrative marked by irony, heartache and some humor." --Sacramento Bee
“A remarkable accomplishment. A riveting narrative that lays bare how important it is to come to terms with the past, this honest and heartrending memoir is for everybody who has ever tried to find his or her place in their family and in the world.” --Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of You Had Me at Woof and Friendkeeping
"Loustalot's memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to resolve the complexities of an enigmatic parent, or plumb what lies at the heart of the filial bond. Her uncommon intelligence, wit, and compassion shine through in this beautifully realized memoir...A beguiling writer...a smashing debut." --Alexandra Styron, bestselling author of Reading My Father
“Lyrical, thoughtful, often humorous prose...What Loustalot has written is a love story—a moving, aching love story to the father she never knew. It will resonate for all who have loved and lost, and who wish to heal.” --Kerry Cohen, bestselling author of Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity
St. Martin's Press, September 2013