Hot Best Seller

My Unexpected Life: An International Memoir of Two Pandemics,

Availability: Ready to download

At age 28, Martina Clark was told she had HIV and five years to live. With a sense nothing to lose, she dove into activism and, unexpectedly, fell into an international career starting as the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS. A mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life f At age 28, Martina Clark was told she had HIV and five years to live. With a sense nothing to lose, she dove into activism and, unexpectedly, fell into an international career starting as the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS. A mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life follows her personal journey-emotional and physical-interwoven with her professional path. From diagnosis to starting treatment, surviving an abusive marriage and fostering a teenage daughter, Martina's memoir adds an insider's view to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly through the lens of humanitarian responses. Throughout, she draws parallels to the COVID pandemic, reflecting on her experiences as she journeys through life with an incurable illness, a well-stamped passport, and a stubborn determination that keeps her alive to bear witness to the human condition.


Compare

At age 28, Martina Clark was told she had HIV and five years to live. With a sense nothing to lose, she dove into activism and, unexpectedly, fell into an international career starting as the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS. A mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life f At age 28, Martina Clark was told she had HIV and five years to live. With a sense nothing to lose, she dove into activism and, unexpectedly, fell into an international career starting as the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS. A mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life follows her personal journey-emotional and physical-interwoven with her professional path. From diagnosis to starting treatment, surviving an abusive marriage and fostering a teenage daughter, Martina's memoir adds an insider's view to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly through the lens of humanitarian responses. Throughout, she draws parallels to the COVID pandemic, reflecting on her experiences as she journeys through life with an incurable illness, a well-stamped passport, and a stubborn determination that keeps her alive to bear witness to the human condition.

36 review for My Unexpected Life: An International Memoir of Two Pandemics,

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Schulman

    One of the rare memoirs of a woman living with HIV. Clark documents her process of putting herself out in the world as a Positive woman despite her mother's bad attitude, and with her sister's support. She travels the world and gives us an overview of the perspective from the UN adjacent sector, consistently reaching out and telling the truth over and over again while negotiating love and work. A much needed supplement to the library of AIDS memoirs. One of the rare memoirs of a woman living with HIV. Clark documents her process of putting herself out in the world as a Positive woman despite her mother's bad attitude, and with her sister's support. She travels the world and gives us an overview of the perspective from the UN adjacent sector, consistently reaching out and telling the truth over and over again while negotiating love and work. A much needed supplement to the library of AIDS memoirs.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julene

    Martina Clark's memoir, "My Unexpected Life," captures a broad spectrum of AIDS services. She wound up working in AIDS education globally though to stop stigma of HIV/AIDS. A traveler who planned to work internationally, she got her positive diagnosis on the cusp of getting two different opportunities to work out of the country. But, reading the contracts, she had to show a negative HIV test. This disappointment was crushing, but then she got a job to do global work in AIDS education, hence the Martina Clark's memoir, "My Unexpected Life," captures a broad spectrum of AIDS services. She wound up working in AIDS education globally though to stop stigma of HIV/AIDS. A traveler who planned to work internationally, she got her positive diagnosis on the cusp of getting two different opportunities to work out of the country. But, reading the contracts, she had to show a negative HIV test. This disappointment was crushing, but then she got a job to do global work in AIDS education, hence the title, My Unexpected Life. The diagnosis was unexpected for one, and doubly her ability to fulfill her life dream in a different way than expected. Her troupe throughout the book is one of speaking out to people who have stigma about people living with HIV/AIDS. Countless examples show how insidious these beliefs are. I've done AIDS work myself domestically for 21 years, so I know, and appreciated her examples. In one instance where the stigma is verbalized that those people are not like us, they are dirty and poor, she drew a triangle on the white board to educate workers in the UN that AIDS is spread from the elite, and only from the elite. She compared AIDS to women who get pregnant and their options if rich or poor, the wealthy have the option to keep a secret, to go away have the baby, give the baby away to be adopted, or to have an abortion, then return and go on with their life without anyone knowing outside those immediately involved. Same with HIV. It's the masses at the bottom who have little cash, and poor health care who have the difficult time to keep a secret. Later in the book one of the workers dies from HIV, he had never told anyone. This is common. I hope a lot of people will read this book, and if interested in global AIDS that they also read Emily Bass's book "To End a Plague." Much was done to slow down the global spread of AIDS, never enough, and now with Covid we need a program like the PEPFAR that President George W. Bush approved in 2003 for AIDS globally. Covid is a part of "My Unexpected Life," she references it throughout the book and the final chapter is about her infection with Covid. We've learned so much and the lessons need to be translated forward. We're not out of this pandemic, and future viruses are coming.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ComplexityQ

    Part biography, part travel log, this life story is filled with tales of heartbreak, resilience, humour, empathy and the triumph of the human spirit. Occasionally it reads a bit too much like a CV (Resume) but what an amazing one it is! From meeting (often toe to toe) some of the most powerful people on the planet to sharing deeply fulfilling moments with some of the poorest. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of Martina’s truth in finding herself, her courage and her life through activism. It’s we Part biography, part travel log, this life story is filled with tales of heartbreak, resilience, humour, empathy and the triumph of the human spirit. Occasionally it reads a bit too much like a CV (Resume) but what an amazing one it is! From meeting (often toe to toe) some of the most powerful people on the planet to sharing deeply fulfilling moments with some of the poorest. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of Martina’s truth in finding herself, her courage and her life through activism. It’s well written, both brave and bare and definitely well worth the read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    A memoir that through humor and a comforting voice, sneakily also informs you from both the policy side and individual side of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I feel like I read a personal memoir of Martina's incredible journey, and somehow also learned about the efforts of policy-makers facing great resistance, and also learned about working for the UN, and about international travel, and about surviving abuse, and about confronting imposter syndrome, and about a hundred other things while confronting my A memoir that through humor and a comforting voice, sneakily also informs you from both the policy side and individual side of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I feel like I read a personal memoir of Martina's incredible journey, and somehow also learned about the efforts of policy-makers facing great resistance, and also learned about working for the UN, and about international travel, and about surviving abuse, and about confronting imposter syndrome, and about a hundred other things while confronting my own ignorance and misconceptions along the way. Anyone who works for a cause, whether it's public health, environmental conservation, criminal justice or immigration reform, or any of the infinite needs we face, will be able to relate to this journey of perseverance in the face of burnout, frustration, bureaucracy, general fatigue and repetitiveness, and the intermittent and overbearing sense of futility that can only be combatted through the small and sparse but incredibly meaningful moments of triumph and healing that make it all rewarding. Highly recommend reading about Martina's story!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Martina Clark

    I don't think I can review my own book, but I sincerely hope you will! Thank you for reading!! I don't think I can review my own book, but I sincerely hope you will! Thank you for reading!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Marple

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dominique

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine Bendel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janet Neubecker

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Ensign

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheyanne Royal

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ali

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

  17. 4 out of 5

    Clea Simon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Regina

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara Habein

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rhea

  21. 4 out of 5

    Natalie DeYoung

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Wolff

  24. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Morton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eve Ruxton

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  27. 5 out of 5

    Allison Lane

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate Meacham

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie Cantrell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Detlef

  31. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  32. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Kimmel

  34. 5 out of 5

    Alyse Stolz

  35. 5 out of 5

    Leah Castelaz

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...