Matt Bocchi was just nine when he accompanied his father to his company Christmas party at Cantor Fitzgerald. He remembers the dizzying thrill of looking out the window and down at the street from the 105th floor of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and marveling at how his dad, who had a fear of heights, worked in an office twelve hundred feet up in the air. Nine months later, at the age of nine, Matt became obsessed with an unspeakable question: Was his father one of the jumpers?
In SWAY (Post Hill Press; August 31, 2021), Matt Bocchi shares the emotional and psychological trauma of losing his father to the horror of 9/11, later compounded by being sexually assaulted by a man, an older uncle by marriage, he trusted. Written with raw honesty and remarkable courage, Bocchi’s memoir is a heartbreaking, often harrowing, and ultimately hopeful story of survival and recovery from grief, shame, and addiction.
“As a boy, I was oblivious to the push and pull of global forces and extremist ideologies, and everyday dickmongers who couldn’t control their urges, and how oxycodone and Xanax and cocaine made everything better—until they didn’t,” Bocchi reflects. “On the other hand, I knew how I felt on September 11, 2001, and the days that followed, and how those feeling solidified or expanded…whatever feelings do after years of rumbling around inside a body.”
Now 29 and sober for six years, Matt Bocchi is dedicated to helping young people grappling with trauma, substance abuse, and mental health challenges. With insight and profound empathy, he can discuss:
·Striking parallels between the tormenting uncertainty and pervasive fear surrounding the Covid pandemic and the 9/11 terror attacks.
·Effective, drug-free ways to cope with depression and anxiety—whose numbers of sufferers continue to escalate—and his views on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
·The complexities of grief from a child’s perspective and how parents can help ease the agony—as well as what well-meaning adults should avoid doing and saying.
·What we, as families, communities, and a nation, can do to overcome the stigma associated with sexual abuse, protect young people, and encourage victims to speak up.
·The power of faith and vulnerability in moving beyond trauma, as well as tools for healing—including writing your own story.
MATTHEW JOHN BOCCHI grew up in New Jersey, where he currently resides. A survivor of devastating loss, emotional and psychological trauma, and sexual assault, he is in long-term recovery. He frequently speaks at schools to inspire young people struggling with grief, trauma, and addiction. His first book, SWAY is dedicated to his father and hero, John Paul Bocchi.
Published in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, SWAY also speaks to young people struggling with today’s upheaval and torment. Though his survivor story, Matt Bocchi can offer a much-needed message of hope. I look forward to exploring feature and interview possibilities.