Few memoirs balance dark, snarky humor with devastating, heart-wrenching candor as well as Michael Ausiello's Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. This loving but clear-eyed chronicle of his 14-year relationship with his husband, Kit, centers on their final year together after Kit is diagnosed with a rare, aggressive neuroendocrine cancer.
On the day the couple wed at City Hall, they get the shattering news that Kit's cancer is Stage 4 and his life expectancy is about a year. "Was this what an out-of-body experience was like?" writes Ausiello. "Because I suddenly felt as if I were looking down on someone else's apocalypse." Kit's chemotherapy starts three days later. Soon the duo is coping with the new realities of living with a terminal illness and navigating conflicting medical opinions, medical mishaps, surgeries, pain management, remissions and slow decline. Woven between the memoir's main thread--the duo's epic cancer battle--are flashbacks to the couple's courtship, vacations, struggles, infidelities, therapy and unshakable devotion. The chapter detailing Kit's final days packs such an emotional punch because Ausiello has made readers fall in love with Kit, their relationship and their extended family and friends.
Ausiello, founder and editor-in-chief of TVLine.com, has written a remarkable, perceptive, poignant and openhearted memoir about the fragility of relationships and health--and the hidden strength people find during hard times. Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies is a haunting and profoundly sad story, but it's brightened by witty writing, comedic interludes and the two charismatic, endearing and appealing heroes at the book's center. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant