cover image Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

Michael Ausiello. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-3496-8

In this glib yet moving memoir, magazine editor Ausiello describes his husband’s grueling battle with a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer. Ausiello closely chronicles the 11 months of hope, terror, and intimacy that followed the diagnosis, also reflecting on their 14-year relationship, his mother’s death from cancer, and the way a fat, bullied, gay kid from New Jersey transformed a love of daytime soaps into a remarkable career. While the vibrant life the couple led is peculiar to 21st-century New York City, to many their struggles with illness will be familiar. Ausiello is a quirky character; even as he’s waiting for news that will determine his husband’s future, he can’t help but enumerate the offerings at a medical center snack bar. While Ausiello’s frothy style (Smurfs are frequently mentioned) brings welcome lightness to what is, inevitably, a grim chronicle, at times the narrative can feel too airy. That said, Ausiello’s story remains an honest declaration of true love and terrible loss. (Sept.)