Sorry I Wasn't What You Needed

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The Story

Ten years ago, C.J. Neubauer fled his family, trading coasts to provide himself three time zones of buffer space. Random email and social media posts yield all the contact he needs. Until a late-night phone call from his wistful father. Unaccustomed to hearing his dad say “I love you,” C.J. freezes, vowing instead to reciprocate the next time they speak. But when the phone wakes him the following morning, it’s his older brother informing him their father has committed suicide.

Sporting a nagging conscience and a chip on his shoulder, C.J. books a flight home on his girlfriend’s credit card. All he wants is to bury his father and try to make sense of what led him to take his own life. All he has to go on is a note that reads, “Sorry I wasn’t what you needed.” Was it intended for C.J. and his siblings? The mother who walked out on them twenty-five years ago? Or someone else altogether?

Alternately heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny, Sorry I Wasn’t What You Needed explores the familial bonds that obligate us for life–and beyond.


"While comparisons to Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You are inevitable, Sorry I Wasn't What You Needed is a different book and it deserves to stand on its own. While James Bailey certainly treads into Tropper-esque territory, there is more poignancy than humor in this book (although the characters do have some zany shenanigans), and this is a family with more than its share of flaws and issues." - Larry Hoffer, It's Either Sadness or Euphoria ...

"I also liked the fact that there was some ambiguity remaining at the end of the novel. I mean, really, on what planet does a death by suicide ever provide the survivors with the answers they need?" - 52 Book Minimum

"I have gotten sick of books with an adult male protagonist where they remain kicking and screaming in teenage angst and entitlement. This was a nice change where the boy-man actually grew and expanded, and it made for a powerful and moving ending that was not wrapped in a neat bow but left room for further growth." -