I came home from dinner last night and found my friend JR’s book on my doorstep  and his voice on NPR. Sutton is here — an important book at an important time, by a writer who has a particular ability to move in on your heart.

He owns a fair portion of mine. Last night, I listened to my friend talk with Terry Gross on NPR, wiping away tears as he told stories and talked about boxes of birthday presents from a ghost of a father, and how all he ever wanted was “a Dad.” And then, while he read Terry Gross all the big words he wanted to cram into his Yale application essay, I laughed like I do only when he’s sitting across from me at dinner.

And then I opened his new book, admiring the cover he so carefully chose, and the map that he walked on a trip to New York, texting me photos from all the important places, and I sighed again over the first line that he recited to me like a secret, long ago, long before he’d written much more.

From the first line, I knew he had something great.

In the back of the book, I found this — the proudest I’ve ever been to see my name in print.

Listen to his NPR interview — that’s what dinner with him his like. Read his book — he utters sentences that breathtaking in real life. (JR describing a prison: “the sound of men in cages, nothing can compare.”) And then you’ll understand why being on J.R. Moehringer’s list — with access to his mind, and heart, and his words — is one of my life’s great joys.