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Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  4,350 ratings  ·  562 reviews
In this evocative and gorgeously wrought memoir reminiscent of Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mixtape and George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Michael Ausiello—a respected TV columnist and co-founder of—remembers his late husband, and the lessons, love, and laughter that they shared throughout their fourteen years together.

For the past decade, TV fans of all stripes have cou
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Atria Books
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Tobias I was too. And now having read it (twice!) I can say it was so worth the wait. It was funny and charming and heartbreaking all at once.
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Madeline Roberts I found out, for sure. As it happened, I mentioned this book in one of the classes I teach at my university, and one of my students KNOWS Michael. Is …moreI found out, for sure. As it happened, I mentioned this book in one of the classes I teach at my university, and one of my students KNOWS Michael. Is a relative, cousin or something. And she brought me up to speed about him. What a surprise that was!
Thanks for your answer.(less)

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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  4,350 ratings  ·  562 reviews

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Larry H
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

It has been said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing multiple times but expecting a different result. Did I really believe I could read Michael Ausiello's lovely, bittersweet memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies , a book of which its editor said, "You'll cackle; you'll sob," and not be a sobbing mess when it was done? I mean, I cry watching the car commercial where the little boy gets a dog, and then when he's grown up and goes to college, the dog is old.
I'm not going to rate this because it would feel wrong to rate such an personal and intense story.

It's very well done and well told and HARD.
Dawn Michelle
I am not even sure how to review this book; I literally just stopped crying from it. Like super ugly crying. I will be crying for days over this book and for Michael's loss. Days.

This is a story about life. And death. And love. It is a huge story about love. The kind of love, even with all the troubles and trials that they had [and Kit and Michael had all of those and then some] that is what all of us want in our lives. The kind of love that makes you want to die when your spouse dies but also
Entertainment reporter Michael Ausiello has enjoyed immense success in his professional life, progressing from writing at a soaps magazine to Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide to his current job as co-founder at Ausiello is well-known for his snarky and knowledgeable insights about pop culture and TV. But while Ausiello's career was taking off, he was going through immense personal anguish: the death of his husband, Kit, from neuroendrocrine cancer in early 2015. Ausiello's memoir ca ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I don't think I can read this book again.

I gave it five stars because it effected me deeply. I didn't know Kit Cowan, and I don't know Michael Ausiello. Despite that, Ausiello created such a vivid portrait of their relationship that I feel like I did, and by the time in the book that Cowan was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (not a spoiler, obviously), I wept with them. I read the book wishing it were fiction instead of non, and sometimes cursing the fact that Ausiello was making me mourn an endin
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-own-ecopy
Before I give my opinion on this book, can we all please take a minute to appreciate a great title. Honestly, it is what first appealed to me and I think it is brilliant!

Ok, moment over.

Have you ever read a book and thought "How the hell am I suppose to review this?" This is that book for me. There are so many emotions and thoughts going through my head, I honestly can not get them straight. Michael Ausiello wrecked me.

This is my first time even hearing of Michael and I'm actually glad for it.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, non-fiction
I guess I should have known based on the title that this was going to be heartbreaking. (Ya think?!) But it was also a beautiful story of love and devotion and told with plenty of humor in the voice of the author (audible version). I loved it.

Oh and smurfs. Lots of smurfs.

EDIT: I just upped it a star. It deserves the whole quintet of shiny awards. I think I'll listen again soon. And I found a video that Michael made for Kit. He's right, Kit was one handsome guy. It's a very sweet tribute.
Nidhi Jakhar
How do you review a book that left you sobbing bucketfuls of tears, the sweep of tears that kept hitting you that you hid yourself in the loo to cry another bout and that your tears became so personal that you cried another round for intimate reasons?
And finally I rounded up the tear saga by sending a message sealing a hug, thanks and love to Michael Ausiello (which he acknowledged and replied to).

It has been such a sweet intimate book and my first experience of reading on gay love that I actual
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 10, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
too close to home to finish
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sometimes a book seems to have an easy comparison. For example, I read Anna Kendrick and Lauren Graham's memoirs close to each other and those seemed in the same lane-- smart, funny, actresses and their experiences. In this case, Ausiello's book can be put up against Dave Holmes' memoir "Party of One." Both are (or were) entertainment writers, both are vaguely celebrities in their own right but spend a lot of time with the more famous, both write about coming out and being gay in the entertainme ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the very title to the synopsis provided, anyone expecting anything other than a heart wrenching, tear-jerking story of love and devotion under the most odious of circumstances is sure to be disappointed. I knew of Ausiello through my devotion to his much missed 'Ausiello Files' column in Entertainment Weekly, so was prepared for liberal doses of 'sassy gay' with the sorrow... and the author doesn't disappoint. It would be churlish and more curmudgeonly that even I am prepared to be to point ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sad, sweet, snarky - a wonderful bio written with honesty and heart.

If possible, listen to the audio version narrated by Ausiello. Brings a great sense of humor and flare to the story.

“I was constantly in a rush to be somewhere other than where I was at in any given moment. And it was exhausting.”
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Spoiler Alert: This book did nothing for me

When reading the account of a man’s husband dying of cancer within a year of being diagnosed, you know you are not letting yourself in for a light read. Written by popular TV news blogger Michael Ausiello, ‘Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies’ is the tragic story of the final year of his husband Kit Cowan’s life. As a fan of his TV reporting and after reading positive reviews for this book, I unfortunately came away from the experience unmoved and uninterested

Going to keep this relatively short taking proverbial mom's advice of "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all" plus feeling like a huge @sshole for being critical of (or at least not loving/liking) a grief memoir. Being a pop-culture and TV junkie, I have been aware and a fan of Ausiello throughout much of his career so I thought this would have been a relative slam-dunk and even more so when you throw in also being gay and relatively around the same age. But I just found a
Valerity (Val)
One of the best books I've laughed and cried through this year. So stunningly written, as he mines the years of love they shared, the diagnosis and the final year as they faced cancer together. Funny, fierce, and heartwrenching all at once...yet still carries a positive and hopeful outlook. A very sweet and loving book told in an honest and humorous manner, as it was lived. Many thanks to NetGalley, Atria Books, and the author Michael Ausiello for providing me with a Kindle ARC for review. ...more
Lisa Wolf
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an occasionally obsessed TV fan, I've been familiar with Michael Ausiello's writing career for years. I avidly followed his "Ausiello Report" for scoops and spoilers on my favorite shows, enjoyed his fanboy goofiness and funny interludes, his Smurf obsessions, and his super witty writing style. When I saw that he had a book coming out this fall, I naturally assumed this might be a collection of his TV writing.

Spoiler alert: It's not.

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies is a personal, painful, inspiri
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I've read so far this year. It's also probably one of the best/my favourite books I've ever read in my life. I regret that I can only give it five out of five stars, probably even 10/10 would not suffice to convey how much I love this story and the manner in which Michael told it.

I never had the pleasure to meet Kit Cowan in life but through reading this story and Michael's telling of their life together, both the struggles and the joys, I feel like I did. I feel like I'm b
could not get into the stylistic choices
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“No, Kit. Like Knight Rider.” And then he’d point to me and say, “Mike,” before pointing at himself and going, “Kit.”

I always judge a book by its cover. If this will be the reason for me going to Hell then so be it. And honestly, I picked up this book because of its cover. I mean, look at it!

And I was not left disappointed. This heartbreaking story was just wonderfully written, Michael’s personality and the way he chose his words was so unique and special, he has created something truly one
This was really hard to read - and I knew that it would be! - but I'm glad that the #newyearreadathon gave me a reason to read it, otherwise I honestly may not have. Like a lot of other people, I'm not going to rate this; it's obviously beautifully written, and I am so impressed that Ausiello managed to write this so soon after his husband died.

Anyway, cancer memoirs are never fun, I will probably never read another one, I only read this because I've been a fan of Ausiello's for well over 10 ye
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was flipping between a 4 and a 5, but I honestly couldn't think of a concrete reason to dock a star. This book wouldn't necessarily be a 5 for everyone, but it worked for me. At first, I had issues with the structure (the first chapter was their first date--the second over a decade later--and I was worried it was going to skip over all that time. Never fear though, the book flashes back.) I mean obviously don't read this book if you or your spouse just got diagnosed with cancer. (Or maybe do. ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, glbtq
A really, really sad book, and also terrifying for me. My worst fear as a single guy is getting cancer and having no one to take care of me, so this brought a lot of fears to the surface for me. If you're looking for something that will tug at the hear strings or want to learn about Michael's smurf obsession, give this book a try. ...more
Leah K
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Maybe it's because I've lost so many close to me to cancer. Maybe it's because my biggest fear is losing my children (which has happened once already) and my spouse. Maybe it's because Michael and his husband had been together as long as my husband and I have been. But this book really got to me. The last 40 pages took me longer than normal because I couldn't stop crying. It was emotional, it was raw, it was real. ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019, own
Damn, this was brutal. Brutally honest and brutally heartbreaking. A beautiful, harrowing, heartwrenching memoir of love and loss that had me dissolving into a puddle of tears on quite a number of occasions.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to review such a personal memoir about such a difficult subject. The best description I have is that this felt intimate; Ausiello did an amazing. This is beautiful story of love and relationship and what it means to lose the person who has been the cornerstone of your life. ...more
Briana Alzola
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a very emotional person, so I thought knowing the ending (i.e. that the hero dies) would help me out. I was wrong. I sobbed at the end of this book. Ausiello had such a way of letting me get to know both him and his husband Kit that I couldn't help feel the heartbreak he was feeling through the book pages. This is a beautiful story, even with painful loss, and it was beautifully told. ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

On one hand, this was a fast read, with a lot of the snark and humor I've come to expect from Michael Ausiello - I've been a fan of his for years and years so I was excited to hear he had written a book. And yes, it was a sad story but for more than just the death of his partner. Yes, parts of it made me smile but too much of it made me think, this is too much information. Nothing is held back, everything is now public information and I
Priyanka Karuvelil
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tore through the book in a day even though it meant I had to work late to get everything done, which is a huge sacrifice if you know how much I love sleep. Ugly cried through the last 50 pages at the little moments of heartbreaking grief like seeing what they kept, missing the person next to you, apologizing to someone not there. Part of what captured me was the love between two non-perfect people, their struggles, and how they came together even more as their world came undone.

The ongoing big
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-kindle
I'm not sure what drew me to Michael Ausiello's book — I am only tangentially familiar with his name but haven't read any of his TV work. But I wondered how the story of his husband, Kit's, struggle and death by cancer could be both humorous and tear-inducing, and so added it to my pile.

I was touched by Ausiello's story, which alternated from diagnosis and progression of Kit's cancer, and the beginning of the men's relationship 13 years before. Did I cry? No, I'm kind of a monster. But did I fee
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, ebook
This book is a lot of things all at once - heartwarming, heartbreaking, honest, difficult to read, beautiful. It will stay with me for a long while. Michael did justice to his and Kit's story - I appreciated that he didn't sugarcoat the flaws in their relationship or in Kit himself. He did a beautiful job bringing Kit to life for those of us that didn't have the pleasure of knowing him. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Spoiler Alert ISBN 978-1-5011-3496-8 2 22 Dec 03, 2017 04:41PM  

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Michael Ausiello began his publishing career at Soaps In Depth magazine in 1997, before moving on to in 2000. It was there that he launched his signature Ask Ausiello column and established himself as a major player in the world of TV journalism. In 2008, he jumped to Entertainment Weekly where he penned a weekly column in the magazine as well as an award-winning blog on (both t ...more

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