Book Talk: I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye
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Ivan Maisel’s memoir explores a father and son’s relationship in the aftermath of grief and death by suicide.
In February 2015, Jewish sports writer and editor Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max’s car was found abandoned in a parking lot next to Lake Ontario. Two months and countless harrowing hours later, Max’s body was found in the lake. There’d been no note or obvious indication that Max wanted to harm himself; he’d signed up for a year-long 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 the tragically transformative reality of losing a child. But it also tells the deeply human and 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. Navigating the moments of their complicated relationship, as well as their love for each other, Maisel explores the bridges he tried to build to his son and the grief that engulfed him and his family after Max’s death by suicide.
Join him to discuss his journey in conversation with AJU’s Rabbi Sherre Hirsch.
To purchase the book, please click here.
Ivan Maisel is the Vice President/Editorial and Senior Writer at on3.com. He has covered college football for nearly four decades, from 2002-2021 as a senior writer for ESPN, where he wrote for ESPN.com, appearing on television, ESPN Radio and on podcasts. He also served as Editor-at-Large for ESPN College Football 150. Prior to joining ESPN.com, Maisel covered national college football for Sports Illustrated, Newsday, and The Dallas Morning News. He has been honored eight times for Best Story by the Football Writers Association of America, and twice by The Associated Press Sports Editors, which in 2019 named him one of the 10 best sports columnists. Maisel earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Stanford University.
Rabbi Sherre Hirsch is the Chief Innovation Officer at American Jewish University. She made headlines as the first female rabbi at Sinai Temple, the largest Conservative congregation on the west coast. She served as Senior Rabbinic Scholar at Hillel International, where she created and developed Hillelwell, an initiative for Hillels worldwide to become the recognized address for preventative mental health. A thought leader and author on spirituality and religion, Rabbi Hirsch has appeared on the Today Show, ABC News, Extra, and PBS, among other outlets, and has been a contributor to Time.com, Oprah Magazine, the Jewish Journal, the Hollywood Journal, and more.