In this searing memoir, a father confronts the complex issues of love and hate as he struggles to deal with his emotionally troubled and often violent son. Desperate Love examines the lengths that parents go to preserve their families and rescue children from themselves. Often gritty and occasionally funny, this extraordinary memoir follows one father’s quest for love, faith, redemption and understanding in a life beleaguered with infertility, adoption and adolescent aggression.
Richard Reiss began his professional writing career at the Piscataway-Dunellen Review, a Forbes newspaper, for which he wrote and was recognized by the New Jersey Press Association for his humor column, Reiss’s Pieces. Over the next twenty five years he developed his skills as a professional fundraiser working primarily for colleges and universities. During that period he also wrote extensively about creating a family through adoption, and the joys and challenges of being adoptive parents. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, ADDitude Magazine, Perigee Literary Journal, and in the anthology, Upstart Crows II: True Stories, published by Wide Array Press. In 2008 Reiss collaborated with director and lyricist, Martin Charnin, to create the musical revue Love is Love. He is a lifetime resident of New Jersey where he lives with his wife and three children.
Finally—a book that offers parents uncompromising insights into a family’s struggles when a child goes awry. Desperate Love is a gritty yet elegantly told account of a son’s spiral downward from suburban comfort to the Never Never Land of adolescents who fall by the wayside. And yet, incredibly, Richard Reiss also has given us an unforgettable memoir of a father who is a relentless optimist.
—David L. Marcus, Pulitzer-Prize winner and author of What It Takes to Pull Me Through and Acceptance.
Richard Reiss is a brave writer who lays bare one father’s struggle to love his troubled son. This groundbreaking memoir is both beautiful and brutal.
—Jana Wolff, author of Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother
Richard Reiss’s Desperate Love:A Father’s Memoir begins as a sweet dream of parental hope and rapidly descends into nightmare—the nightmare that is the very worst one a father fears—a nightmare in which his son is fighting demons, and is losing. The father tries his best to fight the demons with the boy, and he is losing, too. The worst thing about this worst nightmare any father can have is that each morning when you wake there is no relief of recognition that the nightmare was just a dream—it was real! It is real! Heartbreaking, terrifying, beautifully written, fearlessly honest, yet tempered by the constant love and hope that holds a family together, Richard Reiss’s Desperate Love is a book you will not be able to put down and one that you will never forget. The book concludes with a note of hope—hope born of love—of desperate love.”
—Thomas E. Kennedy, author of In the Company of Angels and Falling Sideways