A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four Letter Words
By Michael Ausiello
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
So here was my initial reaction after finishing Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. The feels. Oh, the feels.
In March 2014, Michael Ausiello’s then partner, soon-to-be husband, Kit was diagnosed with a very rare and very aggressive form of cancer. 11 months later, Kit lost his battle. Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies chronicles Michael and Kit’s journey of love and loss.
Normally, I’m not one to pick up a book that looks sad, especially one that I *know* the hero will die in. It took me years to pick up John Green’s A Fault in Our Stars, and that one was fiction. But as soon as I saw this book on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. I’ve been a fan of Michael Ausiello’s writing since I discovered his column at TV Guide many moons ago, and have followed his scoops to Entertainment Weekly and now over at TVLine.
In fact, I’ve been reading his column and watching his interviews for so long, I found as I wrote this review I just refer to him as “Michael” instead of “Mr. Ausiello.” So I hope Michael forgives me for this informality.
Michael brings his traditional brand of snark from his scoops into his memoir, and it is greatly appreciated, at least from this reader. Michael and Kit found dark humor as Kit’s battle raged on, and Michael’s writing style brings some much needed lightness through the darker times. (Not to say this is a light book. It is not.)
As he chronicles Kit’s last eleven months, Michael flashes back to when they first met, and also different stories from their years together. I was laughing so hard when Kit first encountered Michael’s Smurf collection. And as Michael follows the ups and downs of Kit’s fight, I enjoyed the bliss they found in unexpected moments, like when Kit fixed their small deck up so he could sit outside and enjoy the afternoon with their cat, Mister Scooch.
My favorite chapter of the book was when Michael and Kit got married. It was such an unexpected, crazy afternoon. Really you couldn’t write it any better for the movies. Unlike Michael, I don’t do spoilers, so I’ll just say what a perfect wedding story for them.
I have to tell you, I was a MESS reading the last three chapters. Just an absolute mess. I think the hardest chapter for me was Kit’s last day. He was at home in hospice, and Michael’s writing brought me back to my dad’s last day (also in hospice) at the end of his Alzheimer’s journey, making it all the more personal for me. I knew how Michael and Kit’s parents felt, having to say goodbye to someone they loved so much, especially someone who should have had many years ahead of them.
The end of the book (while extremely sad) was really well written. I read one chapter a night of Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies (I knew one chapter at a time was I could handle) until I hit the end – and then I read the last three chapters and afterword all together. I found the afterword lovely and bittersweet and it broke my heart.
Bottom line: I loved this book. Just loved it. Michael isn’t perfect. Kit wasn’t perfect. But their love story? It’s pretty perfect.
Many, many thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.