PERFORMING ARTS

Third Girl from the Left

Delphinium Mar. 2023. 264p. ISBN 9781953002228. $28. MEMOIR
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Barker’s beautifully written and moving memoir showcases her Broadway dancing career in the late 1970s and early ’80s and how the AIDS pandemic devastated her profession and her family. At age 20, Barker moved to New York City and found roles in shows including Promises, Promises, Seesaw, and the London touring company of A Chorus Line. Her older brother, Laughlin, followed her to the Big Apple and built a life with budding fashion designer Perry Ellis. From Broadway to the London theater scene, the author tells the story of her career and personal life. Looming in the background is the AIDS pandemic, which increasingly begins to affect every aspect of her life. Barker has a haunting and poetic way of describing dancing, acting, and the anxiety or self-doubt that accompanies the trade. She brings that same heartfelt emotion to sharing her memories of the men she lost during the 1980s to HIV/AIDS in a way that honors the people whose lives touched her.
VERDICT A deeply personal, emotionally wrenching memoir and eyewitness account of the AIDS pandemic.
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