Book Review, HIV, Library Thing Early Reviewers, Memoirs, Nonfiction

Behind the Mask…No More by Byron Nease

I started my book review blog in 2009 and I have read so many outstanding books that I wanted to share them again with my followers on #SegueSaturday.  I first posted this review in April 2009.  It is an inspiring memoir of the late Byron Nease, who originated the role of Raoul in the Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera.  He died in 2013.

Byron Nease’s memoir is both tragic and uplifting at the same time.

Byron “Bud” Nease was born into a family in turmoil and was whisked away from his minister father and his two sisters by his neurotic, actress/singer mother at a very young age to a life of abuse and confusion.

He spends most of his life explaining to his father that he is Christian and he is gay. Though his father is not happy with Bud’s “choice”, he does not banish him from his life.


When Bud is diagnosed as HIV positive, his life and career are threatened due to the side effects of the many drugs he is taking. However, he proves that he is a survivor and he has his family’s and friend’s support through the difficulties he encounters.

As for Bud’s professional life, he is a singer and actor who has many wonderful famous friends who support him in his happiest and his darkest moments.

I enjoyed Mr. Nease’s story for the notable strength and perseverance that he demonstrates for the many obstacles that he has had to overcome. The many photographs in his book are very telling and help the reader to visualize the people and places he loved so much. Though the book was written more like a diary, which some people may not like, I found it an enjoyable read.