• Dear William

  • A Father's Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love, and Loss
  • By: David Magee
  • Narrated by: David Magee
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 pause 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 listeners 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.

©2021 David Magee (P)2021 BenBella Books

What listeners say about Dear William

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Honesty that helps others

They conquered all through Tears of pain and joy and profound faith. Everyone needs to read this story.

1 person found this helpful

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Didn’t seem to be a book about William

Bought the book on the recommendation of friends of the author. Was intrigued at the concept of understanding addiction from a Christian viewpoint, but that did not turn out to be the focus of the book. Instead of being a discussion of the challenges of addiction and familial sin, the book seemed simply to be a memoir of the author’s personal struggles and challenges. Could not even make it beyond halfway through the book due to graphic language and descriptive detail. From a Christian standpoint, I don’t see the redemptive value of it.

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Such a moving story

This life story was absolutely one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing your story.

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An absolute treasure!

Don’t miss this painful, beautiful story… you will be forever changed. Even more special that David himself reads his story.

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So painful

I kept wondering why I was listening to this. I know far too much about addiction. Why would I want to relive my painful memories??

I first became “addicted” to it, listening to David Magee’s voice. I think I’d enjoy listening to him read the phone book!

And then his incredible frankness about his life and that of his family captured me. William was right, to encourage his father to write this book. Addiction is a family disease.

Addiction takes you by surprise. You can’t believe it is happening in your family. You’re terrified 24/7 that your precious child might die. And yet it is happening. You learn about things you never thought you’d need to know and yes, you gain compassion for all who are struggling with addiction.

Thank you David for this book and to Kent who supported telling the truth. Secrets lose their power in the light.

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Powerful and painful story

This book is an extremely personal memoir by a father who shares every detail of his greatest loss - the loss of his child. As a father of two, I cannot imagine the pain this family feels. The audiobook being read by the author, William’s father, is the best way to hear this story. Hopefully this book and the family’s efforts will prevent this from occurring in other families.

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Poignant Story That Could Be Any of Us

I chose this book because I’m acquainted with the Magee family and live in Oxford. I could never have imagined how this poignant narrative could have been so therapeutic for me as I recognized this could be my story, or yours. I view even my own story differently now.

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No Words Can do Justice

Over the past couple of days, I listened to a most remarkable book, "Dear William" by Oxford's David Magee. To depart from my consistent predilection for reading strictly for entertainment, this book is the true and powerful story of a father's love for a son that fought 'tooth and toenail' to get and stay free from drugs. And, for a more potent punch, David Magee is the narrator. How he pulled it off is nothing short of miraculous but he did and did it like no one else could do. Please get and read or listen to this book; it is such a gift to us.

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Outstanding narration by the author

Told from the heart, honest and also sad, but one is left with hope for this disease that affects so many, and for this family.
I loved it.

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Don’t put off reading this book

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, but I’ve honestly been afraid it’d hit too close to home. It does! If you are a parent of a teen or a teen (even the sweetest,best of kids) you need to read this book.