David Magee signs copies of memoir 'Dear William' at Reed's GumTree Bookstore – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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Oxford author David Magee, left, thanks Steve McAlilly for stopping by GumTree Bookstore to pick up an autographed copy of his new memoir, “Dear William,” on Nov. 9, 2021, in Tupelo. The book details the struggles Magee and his family faced following his son, William’s, battle with addition and overdose. 
Author David Magee jokes with guests before he begins signing copies of his new memoir, “Dear William,” at the GumTree Bookstore in Tupelo on Nov. 10, 2021.
Author David Magee talks with guests before he begins signing his new memoir “Dear William” at the GumTree Bookstore in Tupelo Tuesday.
Copies of David Magee’s memoir “Dear William.”

Reporter
Author David Magee talks with guests before he begins signing his new memoir “Dear William” at the GumTree Bookstore in Tupelo Tuesday.
Copies of David Magee’s memoir “Dear William.”
TUPELO • Oxford author David Magee spoke with friends and fans and signed copies of his memoir, “Dear William: A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love, and Loss” during an event at Reed’s GumTree Bookstore on Tuesday afternoon.
In summarizing what “Dear William” is about, Magee quoted fellow author Kiese Laymon’s review of the book: “It’s the making and near breaking of an American family.”
“We’re not celebrities, we’re just people,” Magee said. “It’s just the everyman’s family story. These were our big dreams and they were happening, but then they got shattered. And we had something to do with that, but then we were fighting back and trying to put our pieces back together again.”
Oxford author David Magee, left, thanks Steve McAlilly for stopping by GumTree Bookstore to pick up an autographed copy of his new memoir, “Dear William,” on Nov. 9, 2021, in Tupelo. The book details the struggles Magee and his family faced following his son, William’s, battle with addition and overdose. 
In the week since the book released, Magee said he’s been surprised and humbled by the strong response. And he’s already seen the affect its had on readers; several people have reached out to discuss their own problems after finishing the book.
“I was sitting there last night trying to go to bed and a guy is messaging me, ‘I don’t know you but I saw this book and I got it. I battle some of the same stuff and here’s what I’m doing,'” Magee said. “There have been a lot of those, almost to the point of, in a positive way, overwhelming me trying to keep up with it.”
The book’s release was met with excitement. More than 700 people attended a Nov. 2 launch event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the University of Mississippi campus. Tickets for the event, featuring a panel discussion with Magee’s family and a performance by Charles Kelley of the band Lady A, were $50 each and included a copy of Magee’s book. 
Magee’s family allowed him to write about their troubles in the book, but he also wrote about their triumphs. He said he felt humbled to stand on stage with them to share their story.
“The family, to be able to do that, we all had to be at the same spot or we couldn’t have gotten up there together,” Magee said. “We all had to have found joy, success, recovery and happiness — but we didn’t all. We were minus one. William.”
Author David Magee jokes with guests before he begins signing copies of his new memoir, “Dear William,” at the GumTree Bookstore in Tupelo on Nov. 10, 2021.
Magee said the rest of the family had to emerge from the other side of that tragedy. He hopes sharing that story will help others. 
“It created a unique opportunity for us to put a family face on addiction,” he said.
With strong regional reaction to the book, Magee hopes his family’s story can find success with a national audience. He’d like the book reach as many people and change as many lives as possible.
“There are books and movies in this world that just kind of have a ‘Little Engine That Could,’ grassroots movement get behind them,” Magee said.  “And I think this thing is bigger than me, and it’s got a shot.”
»THE LONG PATH TO GET THERE: Oxford author David Magee has found his calling
He believes “Dear William” will continue to find new audiences and reach great success through word of mouth and personal recommendations.
“The underdog approach to trying to get this done is a good way to go,” Magee said. “It fits the story.”
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OXFORD • David Magee has found his calling.
Reporter
Blake covers education for the Daily Journal.
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