• I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye

  • A Memoir of Loss, Grief, and Love
  • By: Ivan Maisel
  • Narrated by: Ivan Maisel
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In this deeply emotional memoir, a longtime ESPN writer reflects on the suicide of his son Max and delves into how their complicated relationship led him to see grief as love.

In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: His son Max's car had been found abandoned in a parking next to Lake Ontario. Two months later, Max's body would be found in the lake. 

There’d been no note or obvious indication that Max wanted to harm himself; he’d signed up for a yearlong subscription to a dating service; he’d spent the day he disappeared doing photography work for school. And this uncertainty became part of his father’s grief. I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye explores with grace, depth, and refinement the tragically transformative reality of losing a child. But it also tells the deeply human and deeply empathetic story of a father’s relationship with his son, of its complications, and of Max and Ivan’s struggle - as is the case for so many parents and their children - to connect.

I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye is a stunning, poignant exploration of the father and son relationship, of how our tendency to overlook men’s mental health can have devastating consequences, and how ultimately letting those who grieve do so openly and freely can lead to greater healing.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Ivan Maisel (P)2021 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"At the center of this beautifully written memoir by a father about his son Max, is a loving, devoted family. Ivan is a sportswriter, his clean, direct writing style is riveting and emotional. One winter day, when his son goes missing on purpose, the family unspools first in shock, then grief, and finally redemption as the author finds a letter written to him from Max from happier times. There is so much love in this memoir, the reader too, is redeemed. There is humor and grace as the Maisels find their way in the world without this beautiful soul in their midst. The family holds their memories of this original, one of a kind young man in their hearts. You will too. I couldn't put it down." (Adriana Trigiani, best-selling author of The Shoemaker's Wife)

“This is a poignant memoir about the love that propels us to carry on and move forward after loss. Ivan Maisel gives voice to emotions that many of us have felt but few have been able to articulate.” (Adam Grant, number one New York Times best-selling author of Think Again and coauthor of Option B)

“This is a story about grief, and loss and sorrow, yes. But it is also a story about triumph over those things, about love, devotion and grace.” (Wright Thompson, New York Times best-selling author of Pappyland)

What listeners say about I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye

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loved it!

This book touched my heart. I laughed and I cried. After losing several family members within a short period of time, the grief that I felt was horrible. Thanks to Ivan Maisel I understand grief as never before. Ivan said, "grief is love." I had never thought of that. But certainly needed to hear it.

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Touching story from a loving father

No parent should ever have to write the story of their own child’s suicide. Yet Ivan Maisel tells about his heartbreaking loss forthrightly with detailed clarity. I feel I know his son Max and can grieve along with the author. He describes grief as a manifestation of his love. In fact, his grief will never go away because his love will never go away. Curiously this provides some comfort to the author and it seems helpful to me dealing with my own loss in life.

It’s a quick read and worth every moment. The author reads it himself in his own deadpan style which initially sounded a bit staccato but I eventually found endearing.

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Very moving book about how we grieve

I learned a lot about grieving. Very moving story and insights about parenthood and grieving. Highly recommended.

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Moving, powerful and, yes, sometimes excruciating

First, full disclosure. I worked with Ivan at ESPN and have known him for decades. I was probably part of the group of co-workers who fell short when it came to providing support.

Why? Because as a father of two young boys, I can't even imagine the pain of losing a child to suicide. And don't want to. Even contemplating it creates an anxiety I'd rather avoid entirely. I didn't know what a father in his position would want. And I was too afraid -- no, cowardly -- to ask.

Multiple times I lingered over purchasing this book. Something resisted. Then I finally did.

So as I listened to a familiar voice tell me his excruciating story, I struggled with my own emotions -- starting with guilt... and then guilt over thinking about how this was making ME feel, instead of reaching out emotionally and intellectually toward empathy.

What I began to see as I became immersed in Ivan's profoundly honest narrative was that we all fall short. Frequently. Maybe every day. We're all human. And the only thing we can do is try to do better tomorrow. And if we don't, then try again the next day.

It's tragic that Max was riddled with the horrors of depression. It's tragic that Ivan and his family won't get to see him become a fully developed adult, with interests and relationships and moments of joy and, yes, sadness, just like themselves.

But grief is love. And this honest recounting about coming to terms with grief as much as it is possible is a loving tribute to Max, a memorial that is great because it is so purely, wonderfully, terribly human.

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Excellently Witten and Narrated

My husband and I lost our 20 yo son 24yo to sudden cardiac death and although the cause was different than for Max's, I totally identify with the experiences, emotions, stages, regrets, guilty feelings and the time it takes to begin to heal individually and as a family from that early very raw pain and trauma. I will recommend this book to others that I meet aling my jounrney who have been unfortunate enough to join this awful club of losonf one of our children Thank you for putting into words what so many struggle to convey who are walking in our shoes.