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The Man I Never Met: A Memoir

Review

The Man I Never Met: A Memoir

In 2001, Adam Schefter and Sharri Maio had never met. In fact, neither of them knew the other existed. Adam, originally from New York, lived in Colorado’s capital city, where he covered the Denver Broncos for The Denver Post and local television station KUSA. Sharri was married to Joe Maio, and they had just purchased a house on Long Island. Their firstborn son, Devon, was 15 months old. Joe commuted during the week to his office in Manhattan at the World Trade Center, where he worked at Cantor Fitzgerald.

And then, the beautiful autumn day of perfect, sunny weather in New York City dawned. It was September 11th.

Each of us can remember what we were doing when we saw the video of the planes hitting the towers of the World Trade Center --- seeing what we, in our national consciousness and innocence, had never imagined could happen in our own country, on American soil. But for thousands of families, 9/11 is not only a moment of national grief. It is a yearly reminder of losses felt daily --- the personal absence of dearly loved husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends and acquaintances. Sharri lost her husband that day, and baby Devon lost his father.

"Schefter’s warm, personable book introduces us to Joe and his impact on so many. It is a fascinating work, well worth reading, even as you grieve over the loss experienced by the Maios."

In THE MAN I NEVER MET, Schefter helps us get to know a most unusual man. Joe Maio was a fantastic friend, a skilled competitor and a hard worker. Enjoyed by both men and women, he made everyone around him, whether friend or family, actually be better. Comfortable in his own skin, he stood up for and befriended the bullied and belittled. When the attack on the World Trade Center occurred, everyone who knew Joe simply assumed he would make it out. He was just that kind of guy ---  the one who was always a success, the one everybody expected the best of and for.

Tragically, Joe didn’t make it out. And the hole his absence created in the lives of those who loved him is still felt daily and on a yearly basis, when the annual remembrance of 9/11 and those lost in the terror attacks occurs.

After 9/11, Schefter felt a tug to return to the place of his roots, New York, where his family and many friends still resided. He was noticing more and more his desire to combine marriage to the right woman with his very successful career. Yet, as he continued to succeed professionally, his dating relationships didn't seem to progress. He relocated to Manhattan but experienced a physical and personal crisis. This influenced his expectations of meeting, and marrying, his ideal “perfect” woman --- with all the checked-off boxes --- and brought clarity and change. Then he was introduced to Sharri. And he fell in love --- not only with her, but with Devon. Before they ever even went out on a date, Sharri communicated to Schefter the facts: she was a 9/11 widow of a man she had deeply loved and still loved, and had a son who was her top priority.

Odd yet meaningful connections or seeming coincidences underlined again and again that Schefter was the right man for both Sharri and Devon. And so he stepped into the role of husband, father and son-in-law of a man who was still dearly missed. Over time, Schefter got to know the man he never met: the additional family member in his house, who made his new relationships possible.

Adam Schefter is a sportswriter and broadcaster by trade; he has had a pretty amazing professional life built on hard work, good relationships, a faithful work ethic, and years of excellent writing honed by the daily journaling he began as a student. Yet, in THE MAN I NEVER MET, he explores more personal matters rather than sports-related ones --- the absence of a life and the profound effect it had not only on Joe’s family, but on himself as well. Written to honor his wife, stepson and the Maios, Schefter’s warm, personable book introduces us to Joe and his impact on so many. It is a fascinating work, well worth reading, even as you grieve over the loss experienced by the Maios. Interestingly enough, it will encourage and inspire you at the same time. Don’t miss this wonderful memoir. 

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on September 7, 2018

The Man I Never Met: A Memoir
by Adam Schefter with Michael Rosenberg

  • Publication Date: September 4, 2018
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250161894
  • ISBN-13: 9781250161895