Without You, by Anthony Rapp, was a book I could have read in one day, but instead chose to make his beautiful words last as long as possible.
Anthony was the original Mark in the amazing rock opera Rent, and his memoir of his experiences with the show, with his mother as she strugged with cancer, and of his tumultuous relationships is absolutely incredible. I wasn't expecting the quality of the writing to be as excellent as it was. He moved me to tears several times with the simple, brutal honesty of his words and the poetics of his prose. He learned a lot of lessons the hard way and he shared those lessons as truthfully as if he was talking to his best friend rather than to the page.
I have always loved Rent, and now that I know more about the "behind the scenes" activity that took place while the music was being made and performed, I am more in awe of it than I ever was. I also have an entirely new appreciation for Anthony Rapp. He is strong, compassionate, talented, and, most importantly, beautifully flawed. His words are a lasting tribute to Jonathan Larson and to his mother.
Anyone who has seen Rent should read this book. Anyone who has someone in their life suffering from an illness should read this book. Anyone who is homophobic should read this book. Anyone who has written a memoir or plans to in the future should read this book so they can see how it's supposed to be done.
Thank you, Anthony, for this beautiful, moving, profound book.