David Wojnarowicz's brief but eventful life was not easy. From a suburban adolescence marked by neglect, drugs, prostitution, and abuse to a squalid life on the streets of New York City, to fame - and infamy - as an activist and controversial visual artist whose work was lambasted in the halls of Congress, all before his early death from AIDS at age thirty-seven, Wojnarowicz seemed to be at war with a homophobic "establishment" and the world itself. Yet what emerged from the darkness was a truly extraordinary artist and human being.
In The Whole Five Feet, Christopher Beha turns to the great books for answers after undergoing a series of personal and family crises and learning that his grandmother had used the Harvard Classics to educate herself during the Great Depression. The result is a smart, big-hearted, and inspirational mix of memoir and intellectual excursion that "deftly illustrates how books can save one's life" (Helen Schulman).