Genre – Non-Fiction
Sub Genre – Memoir/Gay/Religion/Testimonial
Pages – 448
Publication Information – Darrel Loyd – November 24, 2017
Format – Digital
Reviewed by William C. Bitner, Jr.
Rating – 📙📙
Well, alright then! Is what I proclaimed after completing “The doG House of Cards” by Darrel Frank Loyd. I tried to keep an open mind as an agnostic while reading this memoir, which is laden heavily with religious elements. From the very beginning it felt as though I was being looked down on and preached to. As a gay, HIV+ man a few year older than the author, I thought for sure there were going to be instances that paralled my own life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We traveled in a completely different group of people. He puts the worth of a person on the amount of money they make, the number of expensive things they own, the labels they wear and the number of “circuit gay parties” they attend. The first three quarters of this book are a list of things he owns, the cost of each and every item he owns, how he came about those items and what it took for him to “obtain” these items. Very little was about his challenges with his HIV status and what it took to get through those trials and tribulations. There were times that I felt he was looking for the reader to feel sorry for his poor circumstances in his bad financial and partner decisions. We are all of us responsible for those things in our own lives and should take full responsibility for them. He seems to hide behind his new found love and relationship with his “goD”. It is only in the last third of this book that he comes close to anything that I, or anyone else that I know has or is going through. He talks about losing everything, and tells us exactly how much he has lost in dollar amounts! I just wanted to throw my Kindle in the air and give up on this tripe, but as I said, I tried to keep an open mind, and trodded forward. I long ago made a promise to myself that if I was going to obligate myself to review a book I owe it to the author to at least finish the book. And finish it I did…I’m done, overdone and ready to get back to my reality. I wish only the very best for this man in his life journey, we have very different ideas about what spirituality or religion is, but as a member of the human race I do have empathy, kindness and love for my fellow man and all the creatures, plants and animals on this wondrous earth. His idea of religion is what I’ve come to know as a “religious cult” and I want nothing to do with it. In fairness, I should say that I’ve read the Amazon reviews of this book, and they are all five star reviews. I personally did not find it that compelling or interesting. It was well written, and if he ever writes a book of fiction I may take a look at it, but this just wasn’t my cup of tea. Skill, care, peace and love!
From the back cover: The doG House of Cards is a creative memoir of self-discovery with a spiritual edge—a story about overcoming adversity and having the grit to persevere in the midst of hopelessness. Once it became clear to me that I was not born to be just another person in the world, I began to take a closer look at my life…and I’ve come to believe that I was created with a purpose and a destiny.
This story is about the coincidental occurrences in my life that have enlightened me to my purpose—and ultimately brought me to a place where I didn’t even know I belonged. Unfolding over decades and through a twisted chain of events I’m led to discover my place of belonging.
When I reach a point in my life – and find myself isolated in a desert – I become terrified and begin to believe I may never survive the perils that I encounter in that valley. Due to a constant stream of wrong choices that I kept making throughout my life, I’m brought to my knees. In my darkest hour, I unexpectedly come face-to-face with what I believe to be my guarding angel. She delivers a message of hope, which gives me courage to overcome a hopeless situation. My faith is founded, and I begin to believe that there’s more to life than what I could see before I found myself in my hour of despair. Within the cracks and crevices of my life, I start to look for and find a spiritual presence. I begin to build a relationship with this spirit that would eventually change my life forever.
When I finally began to look closer at my circumstances in a way that I had not considered before encountering the presence of this spirit, the more I could see, the happier I became, the more I felt like I belonged—and the less afraid I was—until I finally ended up here…sharing my love story with all of you.
Whether you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus of the Holy Bible, or Allah of the Holy Quran, all roads seem to lead to the same place. I, Darrel Loyd, believe a very similar path is true for those who simply may not believe in anything greater than mankind. Whatever your beliefs, I hope my story provokes you to become aware of all things around you, while at the same time, allowing you to embrace the similarities in each of us and, more importantly, the differences in one another. I believe the real power here on earth lies within us, in a world that’s so complex that it defies all logic, although it can be explained in one simple word…love.
About the Author: Born in 1960, in the county of Los Angeles, California, my parents moved my older brother and me to Chicago, Illinois when I was still a baby. The Midwest region of the U.S. is where I grew up to become a shy gay man and where I would spend the next four decades before moving back to California.
Over the next thirty years, I would devote my time and energies to advance my professional career. During this time, I entered the visual merchandising field where I worked for several large retail companies, most notably at Bloomingdales. When my career ended at Bloomies as director of visual merchandising, I utilized my experience to secure another visual merchandising director position at Bigsby & Kruthers, a high-end men’s and women’s clothing chain in Chicago. During the six years I was employed at Bigsby, the company grew exponentially and I was promoted to vice president of store development and visual merchandising for their three retail divisions consisting of fifty-three stores and a retail shop in the Michael Jordan restaurant. My department was recognized by the retail industry for our projects and my work was published in many trade magazines. My team also won numerous design awards for our creative store and shop concepts. I went on to become vice president of operations for a lighting distributor in Chicago, creative director for a store fixture manufacturer in New York City, president of business development for a logistics company in Arizona, and eventually established my own company in California, where I reside today.
While I realized that I was gay early on in my teenage years, it was something that I hid from most everyone until I was twenty-five years old. At that time, the AIDS epidemic ravaged the gay community, which made me withdraw from those who would have judged me for my sexual preference. This caused me to revel in hedonism and reckless behavior, self-medicating to subdue my fears of dying a painful and horrible death. During my years of recreational drug use and eventual isolation, I lost my way. My dream of finding a loving man and eventually having a family of my own became a living nightmare, until one day when I had an epiphany—I came to realize that my life without “something” to give me hope, understanding, and love, was a life that made very little sense. At last, I was finally able to embrace the world and all its possibilities.