Newsweek Fall Must-Read Book
Books-a-Million "Must-Read This Fall" Selection
"Shot through with hope, purpose and an unflinching love, it's a story that must be read."
Award-winning columnist and author David Magee addresses his poignant story to all those who will benefit from better understanding substance misuse so that his hard-earned wisdom can save others from the fate of his late son, William.
The last time David Magee saw his son alive, William told him to write their family’s story in the hopes of helping others. Days later, David found William dead from an accidental drug overdose.
Now, in a memoir suggestive of Augusten Burroughs meets Glennon Doyle, award-winning columnist and author David Magee answers his son's wish with a compelling, heartbreaking, and impossible to put down book that speaks to every individual and family.
With honesty and heart, Magee shares his family’s intergenerational struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as his own reckoning with family secrets—confronting the dark truth about the adoptive parents who raised him and a decades-long search for identity. He wrestles with personal substance misuse that began at a young age and, as a father, he sees destructive patterns repeat and develop within his own children. While striving to find a truly authentic voice as a writer despite authoring nearly a dozen previous books, Magee ultimately understands that William had been right and their own family’s history is the story he needs to tell.
A poignant and uplifting message of hope translates unimaginable tragedy into an inspirational commitment to saving others, as David founded the William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing at the University of Mississippi. His mission to share solutions to self-medication and addiction, particularly as it touches America’s high school and college students, emphasizes that William’s story is about much more than a tragic addiction—it’s an American story of a family broken by loss and remade with love.
Dear William inspires readers to find purpose, build resilience, and break the cycles that damage too many individuals and the people who love them. It’s a life-changing book revealing how voids can be filled, and peace—even profound, lasting happiness—is possible.
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|Publisher:||BenBella Books, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"This intensely felt and beautifully delivered memoir written by former Newsweek editor and award-winning writer Magee sheds light on what so many of us have been affected by and what so few of us can discuss with any comparable measure of grace. Shot through with hope, purpose and an unflinching love, it's a story that must be read."
“This is the most painful, beautiful book I’ve ever read. It is full of love, regret and sorrow. Read it if you’ve lost a child, or are worried about losing a child or if you just want an intimate portrait of just how much a human being can absorb and keep on moving towards the light of tomorrow. I didn't want to start this book and by the end I didn't want to stop.”
—Wright Thompson, New York Times bestselling author of Pappyland and The Cost of These Dreams
“It’s been decades since I've read a literary offering like Dear William. Through inventive storytelling and heart bursting revelations, David Magee welcomes us into the making and near breaking of an American family. Tone is one of the hardest narrative tools to responsibly wield. The tone here is breathtakingly brilliant, carrying us into unexpected depths of despair and concentrated layers of joy. Walk with this book, consider new beginnings and ends of loss, and be forever changed.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy and Carnegie Medal winner
“David Magee passionately brings to life a story of joy and devastation–one that invites the reader into a world of boundless love and sacrifice. I feel so lucky to bear witness to this vital recollection. This powerful and revelatory memoir plants seeds for a future in which his son's legacy becomes synonymous with the word love.”
–Aimee Nezhukumatathil, NYT bestselling author of World of Wonders
“Dear William is a staggering and generous gift. Here, David Magee documents and illuminates an epic American family saga. In the writing, he translates pain into revelation, loss into propulsion, tortured despair into buoyant hope.”
—John T Edge, author The Potlikker Papers and host of True South
“Dear William educated me as a parent, dazzled me as a writer, and moved me as a human. This book is a big, soulful account, told with fearless honesty and insight. David Magee's ardent-hearted journey will inspire all.”
—Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
“Dear William is big and bold. It is heartbreaking and unflinching, a story of loss and grief and pain that knocks us to the floor yet lifts us back up to somehow face the world. A remarkable story.”
—John Archibald, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and author of Shaking the Gates of Hell
“David Magee connects with parents and students on the topic of substance misuse and personal responsibility like few people I have witnessed. He started a movement … and he hasn’t let up since—inspiring students and parents as a speaker and starting a university wellness center. His voice resonates with vulnerability and common sense, with a story every parent and every student can benefit from.”
—Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Massachusetts
“David Magee’s forthright account of what happened in his family is both raw, poignant and especially ‘real’ – making the reader feel like they are an insider to the story. His messages of hope and recovery are especially impacting. Many struggle with hidden addictions and resulting pain, and this book can help them before it is too late. Every student and parent will benefit from Dear William.”
—Dr. Victor Boschini, Chancellor, TCU
“No writer in their right mind would reveal these mortifying secrets, except a courageous writer — like David Magee — who understands that these confessions are exactly what most of us need to hear. Dear William is powerful, honest, painful, fast-paced, and, ultimately, healing.”
—Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts