Love, Zac goes beyond the headlines and shares an intimate and moving portrait of one young man's reckoning with what was happening to his life. The book also illuminates our country's tangled relationship with football. Because of the deeply personal nature of this story, we asked Zac's mother, Brenda Easter, to write a note (below) about her son and the family's decision to share his story.
Our hearts were crushed and our lives shattered the day we lost our son Zac. He had worked hard for years to hide his struggles with the debilitating effects of CTE—caused by the concussions and sub-concussive hits to his head from playing the sport he loved, football—from us and the people who knew him best. But Zac had kept a journal of these struggles. He did it with compassion and purpose, knowing other young people would suffer from CTE and not understand why.
Zac’s journals led to this book, Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy by Reid Forgrave. After Zac took his own life, it wasn’t easy sharing his diaries with a writer we hardly knew at the time. It was a hard decision to share our worst nightmare with the world. But before he died, Zac asked us to help make football a safer sport.
Reid spent hours with us and others who knew Zac. Everything we shared with Reid for this book was out of love for Zac. I know Zac would have liked him, and this book honors Zac.
Every day I miss Zac’s beautiful smile and the time we had together. I pray Love, Zac gives our son peace. And I hope—as Zac did when he started writing his journals—that it will help people see the urgent need to address the complicated issues of this cruel disease.
Sincerely, Brenda Easter (Zac’s mom)
"This Is a Book about Sports, but This Is not a Sports Book"
While football and Zac's love for it are integral to his story, you don't have to know much—or anything at all, really—about the sport to be drawn into Love, Zac and moved by it. (Plus, we've created a Book Club Kit that includes a timeline of football's history and Zac's life as a companion to the book.)
As the author, Reid Forgrave, put it: "Beyond Zac’s personal tragedy, what makes his story a vital tale about today’s America is what he represents. This is a book about sports, but this is not a sports book.
This is a book about what it means to be a man in 21st-century America.
This is a book about parenting.
This is a book about what fathers pass on to their sons.
This is a book about the blurry line where traditional views on masculinity cross over into toxic masculinity.
This is a book about America’s addiction to violence, not just in our sports but in our everyday lives—about how violence is very much a part of who we are as humans.
Our mailing address is: Algonquin Books P.O. Box 2225 Chapel Hill, NC 27515