cover image I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye: A Memoir of Loss, Grief, and Love

I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye: A Memoir of Loss, Grief, and Love

Ivan Maisel. Hachette, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306925-74-0

Maisel (The Maisel Report), a former senior writer for ESPN, reflects on the tragedy of losing his 21-year-old son, Max, to suicide in this beautiful and heart-wrenching work. One morning in 2015, Maisel received a call from a sheriff’s office in Upstate New York, near his son’s college, reporting that Max’s car had been found near the shore of Lake Ontario, with no sign of its owner. Maisel’s worst fears were realized when it became clear that Max had deliberately walked out on the lake’s frozen surface until the ice broke beneath him. While Maisel knew that Max had had his share of struggles—especially with connecting with other people—neither he nor his wife, Meg, were aware of the extent of their son’s pain. Flashbacks to Max’s childhood make him a vivid personality, and photos of him throughout render the author’s grief devastatingly visceral. Even in the face of despair, the Maisels had no choice but to go on living without Max. Rather than succumbing to the “sugary, greeting-card emotion” that makes stories of grief, like his, palatable, Maisel writes honestly about learning how to have an “appreciation for what comes, with the understanding that I am guaranteed nothing.” The result yields a deeply affecting testament to the fragility of life, and the human capacity for resilience. Agent: Jan Miller, Dupree Miller & Assoc. (Oct.)