An intimate, poetic and accessible graphic memoir very much in the tradition of works by Marjane Satrapi, Craig Thompson and Alison Bechdel.
One summer night at a teenage house party, Fred met Cati. Though they barely spoke, he vividly remembers her gracefulness juxtaposed with a wonderful, wild abandon. They meet again at a New Year's Party in 1999, and this time their connection is instantaneous. A few weeks later, when it looks like things might get serious, a very nervous Cati tells him that she and her three-year-old son are both HIV positive.
With great beauty and economy, Peeters' traces the development of their emotional and sexual intimacy. The silver lining in their lives is the wonderful, down-to-earth doctor whose affection and frankness allow them to confront their fears about sex and fully realize their passionate connection. But when Cati's son gets sick and they have to administer a gruelling treatment (including the blue pills of the title), Fred comes face to face with death. His questions about life, love and illness are played out in a Socratic dialogue with a (very wise) mammoth who ultimately helps him to recognize that living with illness is also a gift; it has freed him to savour his life with Cati.
Blue Pills explores a daunting and difficult subject in a way that is refreshingly honest, moving and revelatory. Peeters, while writing specifically about HIV, has also given us a nuanced and deeply personal story that will resonate with anyone who is intimately acquainted with any kind of illness - and all of us who have chosen to love in the face of challenges.