17 Episode results for "Liz Egan"

Coronavirus, work and cancer

Talking Cancer

20:53 min | 10 months ago

Coronavirus, work and cancer

"What are my rights at work during the pandemic? Hello, I'm Abby and Welcome to our coronavirus series of talking cancer a podcast remote Millen and Boots where I talked to experts to get the answers to the questions about Molina's hearing the most off today. We've got Liz Egan joining us again. And you might remember this from series one. She's McMillan's work in cancer expert and we'll help the answer some of the questions coming through to McMillan support line questions about like what your rights are at work. If you're living with cancer during coronavirus your employer needs to think, you know, creatively and you can think as an employee creatively about what sort of changes could be made to ask you to stay at work. So what to expect after the job retention scheme ends will employers they should talk to staff about plans to end for a low as early as possible and they need to encourage staff to raise any concerns. They have we'll also hear some top tips from Richard get in touch with the manager speak to him about how you think you can do your role in a slightly different way where McMillan and We're talking cancel. Lee's welcome back. It's so lovely to see you again as any other episodes we've recorded I'm going to time stamp this we're recording on the 9th of October 2020 and all the information we talked about is correct. As of today Now ladies we've spoken before about your rights at work if you're diagnosed with cancer and for anyone who would like to hear more about this, it's just it's really brilliant. I would really recommend going back to series one and listening to our work and cancer episode Soul is what's changed apart from everything for people living with cancer. Lung coronavirus is in the picture. Well, yes, absolutely. Everything has changed Emma as we know anybody who has a weakened immune system is at risk of being more seriously ill if they get coronavirus juice and some people with cancer may be at a higher risk of coronavirus as result. And so when you have cancer and you're also coping with with that and coping with work that can be Really difficult and can be even more worrying four people. So yes, so people's lives have changed very significantly because of the coronavirus. It's a super stressful time is near and it must be it must be really nice to people who were at one time told to Shield or that they were more vulnerable because they were having treatment and then to have to go back to work if their employees, you know, say well home phone for business now do people have to go back. I mean our people are obliged to go back to work if they don't feel safe to do so or do they have choices to keep working from home. Well, so I suppose the first thing to say is that the government affected its guidance on shielding in August of this year, which means shielding has now been paused so that means in practice you can go to work and if you cannot work from home as long as there's business is what they call covert safe now and it's important to note that this guidance is advisory. So what I would suggest, you know, the first step really is you should just first of all have a discussion wage Employer and agree your plan for returning to work. Now where you work is a question mark you know, so as I've said with the previous series, you know under the equality act which applies in England Scotland and Wales and the disability Discrimination Act which applies in Northern Ireland. Your employer has a legal obligation to make what we call reasonable adjustments to help.

cancer McMillan Liz Egan Millen Molina Lee Richard England Emma Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
Coronavirus, work and cancer

Talking Cancer

20:53 min | 10 months ago

Coronavirus, work and cancer

"What are my rights at work during the pandemic? Hello, I'm Abby and Welcome to our coronavirus series of talking cancer a podcast remote Millen and Boots where I talked to experts to get the answers to the questions about Molina's hearing the most off today. We've got Liz Egan joining us again. And you might remember this from series one. She's McMillan's work in cancer expert and we'll help the answer some of the questions coming through to McMillan support line questions about like what your rights are at work. If you're living with cancer during coronavirus your employer needs to think, you know, creatively and you can think as an employee creatively about what sort of changes could be made to ask you to stay at work. So what to expect after the job retention scheme ends will employers they should talk to staff about plans to end for a low as early as possible and they need to encourage staff to raise any concerns. They have we'll also hear some top tips from Richard get in touch with the manager speak to him about how you think you can do your role in a slightly different way where McMillan and We're talking cancel. Lee's welcome back. It's so lovely to see you again as any other episodes we've recorded I'm going to time stamp this we're recording on the 9th of October 2020 and all the information we talked about is correct. As of today Now ladies we've spoken before about your rights at work if you're diagnosed with cancer and for anyone who would like to hear more about this, it's just it's really brilliant. I would really recommend going back to series one and listening to our work and cancer episode Soul is what's changed apart from everything for people living with cancer. Lung coronavirus is in the picture. Well, yes, absolutely. Everything has changed Emma as we know anybody who has a weakened immune system is at risk of being more seriously ill if they get coronavirus juice and some people with cancer may be at a higher risk of coronavirus as result. And so when you have cancer and you're also coping with with that and coping with work that can be Really difficult and can be even more worrying four people. So yes, so people's lives have changed very significantly because of the coronavirus. It's a super stressful time is near and it must be it must be really nice to people who were at one time told to Shield or that they were more vulnerable because they were having treatment and then to have to go back to work if their employees, you know, say well home phone for business now do people have to go back. I mean our people are obliged to go back to work if they don't feel safe to do so or do they have choices to keep working from home. Well, so I suppose the first thing to say is that the government affected its guidance on shielding in August of this year, which means shielding has now been paused so that means in practice you can go to work and if you cannot work from home as long as there's business is what they call covert safe now and it's important to note that this guidance is advisory. So what I would suggest, you know, the first step really is you should just first of all have a discussion wage Employer and agree your plan for returning to work. Now where you work is a question mark you know, so as I've said with the previous series, you know under the equality act which applies in England Scotland and Wales and the disability Discrimination Act which applies in Northern Ireland. Your employer has a legal obligation to make what we call reasonable adjustments to help you assemble with cancer to stay home work and that could be a variety of different things including helping you to work from home. So I suppose what to say to people if people are not feeling safe have that discussion with the employer employer particular with your line manager as your first point of contact and discuss the situation discuss what they're doing in the business what measures they're taking to make the workplace code would safe and if you're still not fitting that that's a safe environment for you, then I'd suggest, you know, you talk to your employer about alternative working Arrangements if that's possible. This is all in an Ideal World with a reasonable employer wage. And a job that you can drive to and get out of the car and get you know and get straight into the office. What about for those people who are contacting that Millions support line because they're they're genuinely worried about returning home after furlough. They might not be in such an accommodating place of work or a practically easy place of work to get to having to use public transport, for example, so what page first of all is actually really try to understand the risk and my first suggestion would be if you're speak to your clinical team. Now if somebody is going thru cancer treatment and and hopefully they'll be able to talk to their Consultants or their nurse specialist if they have access to one and the clinical team should be able to advise you on your health risk based on your condition and you are treatments and everybody's going to be different and this is something that's important to understand just because you have cancer doesn't necessarily mean that you're all automatically at higher risk. It depends on your type of cancer where you are in your tree log. Journey so it's important really first of all, I think to you know, find out the right information. So you understand the health risk for you. If you don't have access to your consultant or a nurse specialist also, you could find your g p and thought you to be about your condition and what you know things you need to be concerned about because again, not everybody will be in the same position. So it's really important to try and for yourself find out what the risks are for you then I would suggest that the next step then would be to go and talk to your workplace. Now. Your first point of contact is always your line manager there there the person that you know are responsible for you. And so you should talk to them about, you know, the information you get from your your clinicians your GP about the risks that you face and then talk to them in detail about you know, what measures they're taking in order to protect you as a worker in that business now, they have a duty and an obligation to provide, you know a safe environment for you as an employee. And so they need to take that very month. Seriously now, you know, there are also other people that you could talk to in the business as well now depends very much on the size of the business and the type of the business but there will be some businesses that would have health and safety officers that you can speak to they'll be others where you have access to what we call Occupational Health which are you know health services that are attached to a business and you could ask for a referral to your Occupational Health practitioner and they should be able to then advise you and the headline manager about what sort of adjustments would need to take place in order to help you to get back into the workplace. So there are some steps that you can take I'm not saying that everything I say here is going to absolutely help every single person out there with their own scenario, but I'm hopeful that it will help people to know what steps to take in order to be able to take control of the situation for themselves so that they understand the risks and what they can do as an employee to support themselves. I guess that you know birth. Taking back control thing is is is comes back again and again and again when we talk about cancer diagnosis and and arming yourself, I guess with the facts as well. That was there's really interesting thing that you said about, you know, making sure that you are in, you know in possession of your risk level and so it's not kind of something that's a bit amorphous for your employee. It's actually you know, here we are. This is it and it makes life a lot easier. If you go as informed as you possibly can to that conversation, it seems yeah, absolutely, you know, the more you know about what you need to protect your health the better position you'll be in to be able to have a conversation with your employer and hopefully your employer will be reasonable and we'll try and support you every you know, every worker has a value and and nobody wants to you know lose people unnecessarily and I'm sure there are lots of lots of efforts that are being made by employers. You mentioned reasonable adjustments. Can you just sort of pick that apart a little bit about what else that might look like a part-time job? Social distancing in an office space and hand sanitizer everywhere. What else might you be able to have a conversation about? Yeah. Well again just to State again. There's the equality act in in that applies in England Scotland Wales and disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland and those pieces of legislation say that your employer must make reasonable adjustments when would work place or work practices puts you at a substantial disadvantage because you have cancer and now and that is compared to other colleagues who do not have cancer. So what this means practices that your employer needs to think, you know creatively and you can think as an employee creatively about what sort of changes could be made to allow you to stay at work. Now the context of coronavirus these can be you know, flexible working arrangements. So for example, you know, let's think about if you were traveling to a job, but you didn't want to travel at rush hour because there will be more people. On and increases your risk then a flexible working arrangement might mean travelling later in the morning or coming back late earlier in the evening or later in the evening. Whatever works for you in order to be able to walk to do your job. There's also very good scheme. They're out there called access to work. It's a government scheme and they can pay for certain types of adjustments and it's called government jobs. Best kept secret in many ways because it's a it's a scheme there that the employer and and use an employee can look into to see if it can cover things like travel you might be able to wage claim for maybe first class train travel for example, or pay for taxis to and from work. If you're feeling that that will protect you and give you more security and that is a reasonable adjustment to suck you to stay in your employment changing work patterns shift patterns providing access to things like software and equipment from home so that you'd be able to do your job from home giving you the song. The computer is everything else that you might need in order to be able or even Wi-Fi access to Wi-Fi. So I suppose the important thing is to remember that anything could be considered an adjustment anything that allows you to keep a job could be considered but it must be reasonable what's reasonable for one employer might not be reasonable for another employer. It kind of depends on you know, how big is your business? You know, the finances the sort of adjustment that you're actually asking for so it's it's it's very like it's very specific to that kind of situation that you're in. So again, you know your relationship as an employee if you have cash with your line manager is so important but knowing your rights I think gives you again the confidence to know what you can approach and what you could talk to your employer about and that's hugely important choice. Absolutely, I guess as well the reality of coronavirus and the pandemic is that not everybody will be having as positive and experience in the workplace. We would hope and if people do end up having money worries, they are there other places that they can turn to what should they be doing initially now McMillan has a range of really great services that can support people with cancer. We have a wonderful team of financial guides and they can explain lots of options available and things that need to think about and things that you need to do so they can cover things like your budgeting and you're planning mortgages what to do with mortgages. Maybe you need to take a mortgage break for a while. They can support you about what song versation so you need to have with your building Society or your bank. They provide you information on your pension. For example, if you want to take early retirement Insurance options issues around Financial products is overdrafts. And also if you have debt and how you would manage your death in the unfortunate outcome that you lose your job. We have a team of fantastic welfare advisors who offer home Ice on benefits and other types of support that you might be able to Avail on such as you know council tax breaks as well. And then we've a team a small team of energy advisers who can talk to you about you know, how did you pay your gas or electricity or water bills, you know, and they're really really great team as well to to call and all of these services are available on the Mac Miller and support line, which is a free confidential find that anybody can call. I think there is some tangible Rising tension as well about the the job retention scheme finishing the end of October at people might be terribly worried about a thousand C's at this time. Oh, absolutely. So well the job retention scheme as as you said or the further scheme it's as it's known ends on the 31st of October 2020 now to end for a low employers should give stuff notice in writing if they're going to end the first game and there's no minimum notice. For furlough but employers they should talk to staff about The plant stand for as early as possible and they need to encourage staff to raise any concerns. They have about or problems around returning to work. So that's that's hugely important. Is there anything replacing it that's planned? Yes. So there's a new scheme called the job support scheme. Now, this is a is a scheme. It's designed to protect what they call viable wage jobs in businesses. There are businesses who are facing a lower demand over the winter months because of covet and it's there to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. Now the scheme is on the 1st of November and it runs for six months so over the winter. So what happens in that scenario is that the company will continue to pay the employee for the time worked but the cost of the arrows not worked. So there's not that they're not working. They will be split three ways between the employer between the government and the employee so the government will wage. Up to I think it's about a third but to a certain cap and the employee would obviously pay a bit too through wage and reduction but the whole point is trying to enable the employee to keep their job. Now the scheme isn't as generous as the previous job pretentious game, but you know your employer may be may try to take advantage of that, you know, if they're facing difficult because of covert over the the next six months. It's a really really difficult time isn't it? And I think in you know where so much is in certain and there is so much with worry and concern on top of a cancer diagnosis having such clear information from you lose is an absolute godsend and from that MacMillan support line and all the wealth of resource that's there so often use it Questions about cancer boots and McMillan are by your side from the moment. You're diagnosed through your treatment and beyond our boots McMillan information pharmacists are on hand with Specialists support from helping you make sense of your diagnosis to advice about living with cancer. You can find them in your local boots Pharmacy or online via video appointment visit boots. For more information. 2018 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the time speaking to my boss was very very wary as to to what would happen and especially as I'd only been employed for a months point. My boss was very very helpful. Kept me on the payroll and supported me through my operation and six-week rehab before getting back to work. We then arranged for me to be able to walk home and I got in touch with MacMillan at that point and and was pointed towards a grant which enabled me to set up the desk where I'm sat up now during the pandemic wage and obviously this all came in really really helpful because I had to then work from home and the company had taken stock of where they were and was looking to make cutbacks and and my role and as general manager was identified one of those been at risk and I end up going on quite a downward spiral and struggled mentally and my wife spoke to my GP my wife spoke to in a million and we got me the song. But I needed I've I've found something to focus on a passion that I have where I think I can make my own business and maybe that was the Porsche that I needed to be able to do that. The difficult elements wage is the fear of finding another job and they're saying well once every month, I have a telephone appointments at this time or possibly spend a long time off say coming up still had the hospital visit in between every so many millions a great source for knowledge whether it be Legal Financial and and being able to maybe been an intermediary in between you and your manager page being able to to work out how things can work and maybe see what the future holds look for support. Some fantastic tips there from Richard. Now, there's of course the wider impact of the pandemic might mean that Carriage we you know, we got to remember to speak about carers as well or loved ones are facing an impossible decision between going to work and protecting the health of those in their household. I can't imagine the stress behind that kind of decision off what rights do carrots have. Yes. Yes. So there is a real, you know issue here in terms of carers trying to juggle caring for their loved ones and try to keep their jobs, whether they're working full-time or part-time that's a real challenge for them and they may be required to self isolate. For example, in order to protect the person that they're carrying for. So carriers do have some rights of work and they're important rights to remember as well so that they include the right to request for flexible working or secondly to take time off in case of emergency now flexible working could include working from home. It could include for example, khong Just working hours where you work fewer days, you know, you can press your hours. Let's say into three or four days and you work over four days. You could do some job sharing potentially. That's an option to be considered off or you could consider working part time on the temporary basis. So in order to support your loved ones who your particular period of time but also carries are also entitled level legal right to take reasonable time to look after someone in an emergency and that involves a person that they care for and this includes coronavirus situations. And then they're also laws out there that I also protect carers to the Quality education that I mentioned earlier also protects carers from being discriminated at work because of their connection to a disabled person. So if they're being put in a situation, whereby, you know, they're let's say not being, you know, prioritized for redundancy or something because they're care of their caring responsibilities than that. That's something that they would need to look into but obviously if they have any concerns cares of any concerns in relation to Thursday, We do have a fantastic work support service on our bill and support line where we've got a team of advisors who help people who are being diagnosed with cancer. But also those who are caring for someone with cancer with some guidance about their rights at work and and what they might do in that situation and then carries UK have a wonderful website as well which provides lots of information and support for carers. So I would suggest that they would go back out there to Liz as always absolutely brilliant to speak to you. Thank you so much. You're very welcome. Thank you, For more information on the topics Liz and I have talked about in this episode head to our website McMillan. I'm talking cancer for resources advice and support. It's also a way you can find out more about donating to McMillan in our next episode. We've got Rosie Loftus McMillan's chief medical officer and Mark boots Chief pharmacist back to talk about what practical support is out there at the time when we're being told to reduce our physical contact with others subscribe. If you'd like to hear that and every new episode it's ready. And if you enjoy the series, please give us a racing or a review it helps others to find the podcast more easily. I remember be talking cancer is a MacMillan cancer support podcast off.

cancer Rosie Loftus McMillan Liz Egan kidney cancer Richard Northern Ireland Lee Millen Molina consultant MacMillan England Emma UK Occupational Health England Scotland Wales Mac Miller Scotland
"Stone-Cold Narcissist"

Broken Harts

40:29 min | 2 years ago

"Stone-Cold Narcissist"

"You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. You're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. There were multiple times. The search parties came here and scoured bluffs with fancy helicopters and airplanes and boats and everything else. But in the end, what really was was ocean stirring things up and coming down again, and then diligent people looking knowing that I know of witness the accident. That's that's the word every time. I go by there. I think those poor kids. It's the part about those kids losing their life that I think of. Because even though all of it and all the search and rescue and all the people who came here. What I remember is because I'm a father, the most important thing is that those kids don't go home, and they don't have a life. So I don't know what happened. But I know that that's the end result of all of it. Valentine HALE also known as how he's the owner of vows towing and the west port community store, which is the social hub of the town where the hearts died. He had a bird's eye view of what happened in the aftermath of the crash. It turns out just seen. And I weren't the only ones who couldn't stop thinking about this case people from his far away as Italy and Australia wondered what had happened to the hearts and were worried about Hannah and devante whose whereabouts were still unknown. But in January two thousand nineteen almost ten months after the crash officials announced that foot discovered near the crash site belong to Hannah. Devante body has not been found from glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Liz Egan. And I'm Justin Harman, our focus was on finding the kids because we mainstream media did not seem interested. And there wasn't a lot of articles about it. And I thought how can they just be written? That's atlas who started a Facebook group called finding the missing heart children and honoring the heart children back in April, the heart story piqued her interest. Mostly because she felt there wasn't enough urgency to the search for the missing kids. Amy's group now has two hundred seventy four members. There are other groups so many others heart family case discussion, which has one thousand four hundred eleven members heart family case discussion this time in all caps with one hundred seventy members what happened to the hearts their history. The crash the kids four hundred ninety members heart family crash theories one hundred one members and let the heart shine. A two hundred twenty three member closed group for people who quote, loved new or were connected to the Hart family in some way in order to get into this one. You have to explain how you knew the hearts Lauren and Liz tried and failed. Apparently, it wasn't enough to have examined every photo read every article and even taken a virtual tour of their house via an old real estate listing. Because no matter how much we felt like we knew the hearts, we didn't actually know them at all. Laughed spring. I joined to Facebook groups at the time they were at peak activity, but conversation in both. Forums remains busy to this day with dozens of comments following each picture or post in both groups there's a lot of discussion about adoption about Jenin Sarah's history of child abuse about whether or not they were racist and about whether or not the drive over the cliff was premeditated. Or spontaneous did Sarah know what John was planning to do was one of them terminally. Ill members even reached out to the dekalb's about organizing a search party. They debated about the hearts financial situation, their clothing, their smiles their sleeping arrangements, the contents of their refrigerator their decor. And even why Jenin Sarah let their chickens roam free in the house. For months, I read every post and all the comments in both groups, I was the quintessential lurker never contributing to the conversation myself, but still going numb while I poured over pictures of the hearts in happier times. There are a lot of disagreements in the heart. Facebook groups several women, and they're almost all women as far as I can tell our members in other groups too and tensions rise when a member of one group share secrets with another group and were trickles back to the original group. There's discussion about who's racist and classicist and who's not and who's even entitled to level this charge in the first place. The groups are pretty diverse both racially NGO graphically, the most incendiary debate arises again, and again, and again in the conversation goes on and on and on when someone suggests they might feel a shred of sympathy for Jenin, Sarah, these people are swiftly attacked flamed to the point of. Being charbroiled the prevailing senses, the heart moms were monsters, and if you don't agree you should go. Start your own discussion group for friends of mass murderers as much as I wonder why Jen kept her foot on the gas. I also wonder what drives someone to invest so much time interacting with complete strangers online seven months after the accident before Hannah's foot was positively identified. I decided to check in with Amy atlas to find out. The group is called finding the missing heart children and honoring the heart children. The short term goal were to find Sierra. Devante an Hannah. Now, Dan Hannah sincere has been found and also honoring all the children for the abuse and doored, and so that they did not die in vain through longer term solutions, such as you know, homeschool regulations or up shin reform, I think that at maximum capacity who probably had maybe it was five hundred people. We asked people what their skills were from, you know, being the grant writer, a lawyer somebody who's worked in the legislature to somebody's who's worked in social services community. You name it we asked what people skills were. And or courting to that. We would assign people different responsibilities at the peak level. I would absolutely say, you know, myself and a few others who are working on this twenty hours a day. So we were sleeping for hours. And we were doing this fulltime twenty hours a day. That is a serious commitment for someone with a family a career a life. Amy is a mom of two and a cookbook author who happens to have lottery there really were only about four hundred that were in the core group like stand up twenty hours a day. Yeah. Then there was probably. Group of you know, fifteen people that had like a real interest in helping we were calling all of the counties every single day to all different county sheriff to find out what was happening with the search. That was all the counties that Jennifer and Sarah, drove through and Washington and Oregon and California from calling their cue have correspondence with the FBI. We also tried to organize peaceful protests and also create media awareness of story didn't die. We created flyers for them and put them all over everywhere. We could on the web from Facebook pages to emailing different influencers at them out. We'd also Email their flyers to missing person organization aurthorities and kind of like missing person in the big Asian mostly. It was an online effort. We try to make an effort where we would go. Oh, so the west coast when they're what interest. Fortunately, I was ready to go out there, even when we gave it a the FBI they reach back out to until we sent an Email to the press person for the FBI. It's I think it was six days for somebody to get back to us which I thought was rather alarming since it was still very much. A case seem like they were looking into and it was a dictated phone line. Four hips. The FBI still has a site soliciting information about the heart crash and the messaging on their includes warning that tips may not be fold up on. But still Amy was frustrated. And when you're putting that kind of time in it just was frankly disgusting because if like wow their lives were race when they were living and now it's so easy to raise them when they're not alive. How would you react? If you found out your sister, or friend was investing twenty hours a day in trying to solve a crime that happened in a faraway state. Eight involving strangers. I asked Amy what people in her life had to say about it. And how she knew when it was time to dial back her time in the group their reaction from the people that I spoke with that were off line was neck, first of all some people hadn't even heard about the case. And then I sent them more information about it. And they couldn't believe that. It wasn't something that they had heard about or they had recalled seeing a headline of family grabs off of a cliff, but didn't have all the information. But then the people that did know about the case a little more. It was a combination of. Wow. This is so wonderful that you doing this. And then there were people like, well, why you doing this? But I I would say I had large more people thought. Well, it's so great that somebody is doing something sleuth groups often pop up after an especially grisly crime possibly as a receptacle for all the emotion sparked by tragedy, but there's a certain poetic Justice to the hearts immortals Asian on Facebook. Considering it was jen's preferred mode of communication, and in recent months, we've uncovered another world where she was equally entrenched. Jen was an avid video gamer the name of her game of choice. Ironically enough was Oz. Broken kingdom. She played for hours on end while Sarah was at work that makes plain white devante till Dana DeKalb that his mom's weren't really paying attention to what went on at home. Jen was a guild leader, which is kind of like being a team captain. And she kept meticulous handwritten notes of her players moves investigators fem pages and pages of them when she died. Do you know what I love meeting friends after work at a local brewery, maybe gathering around an old barrel or something sipping a well-crafted juicy IP while discussing personal finance, Matt, buddy. You're totally speaking my language, except I'm pretty sure most peeps in this scenario aren't talking about money with their friends because that's a super topic. Why does everyone make it so weird, dude? I know right. It doesn't have to be that awkward, and we'd like to talk about personal finance, especially weekly in my dining room over a craft beer on our podcast how to money whether we're talking about ways to cut your grocery Bill creating side hustles or traveling the world on less. We're having conversations about personal finance and how it relates to normal people who want to enjoy life in also be money smart. That's right. We're all about making these topics relatable and enjoyable, so it's something you'll want to talk about the next time you meet up for drinks. So if you wanna level up your personal finance game. Then be sure to listen and subscribe on apple podcasts, the heart radio app, or wherever you get your podcast. Just. Search for how to money. We're about to hear from drew who knew Jen through the gaming world. He asked us not to use his last name. If my employer knew the amount of hours dedicated to gaming would be fired to gen when they were both playing Oz and ended up in the same clan. If you're a gaming novice like us. You might be wondering what in the world. This means are living offers social components at least the best games do and to foster the social environment. They've created these entities called clients and usually clans consist of about fifty people and you join the clan, and then you compete against everyone else and enjoying clan. Benefit, you gain of courses, obviously, the social opponent in order to keep you hooked gaming developers understand they have to foster that social environment. So what they'll do is offer you. Rewards in game for being part of a clan in so to put it simply if you're highly competitive, and you also happen to like people on any level than you will definitely join a choir because it's the only way to really win. Jen was a co leader of the clan that I happened upon and she was good. Bye good. I mean, she developed relationships very quickly with people with all Clinton members. You've got to know them on a personal level talking to people making sure everyone's good and Jin really signed. When there was a newcomer. If someone didn't know how to conquer a particular part of the game that was her wheelhouse. She loved the. The bird with the broken wing became a part of the leadership board for for that clan Witten, and we would have conference calls on a fairly regular basis where we would just touch upon gaming concepts on a weekly basis. You know, we would strategize. Jen's clan was called dropping houses inter screening was simply heart. There were a bunch of different characters. You could choose from hers was the tin, man. Remember, the tinman was the one who went down the yellow brick road in search of a heart. Drew says it isn't unusual for player to spend twelve to fourteen hours a day building character. There's opportunities in these games where you could have endless hours of intense concentration. There would definitely be weeks where I mean, just by her rank it was clear that she had spent a ridiculous number of of ours. Drew describes Janice highly competitive another game. Where we spoke to called her a stone cold narcissist because she kept her clan. Members on such a tight leash bossing them around at all hours of the day. It was common for Jen to sit near the top of the rankings. Not just the clan rankings, but the individual ones, which is a bigger deal team members teased her about how she was the first to crack a really complex part of the game drew told her she must have developed a diagram to figure it out. In fact, she had sometime in the summer of two thousand seventeen Jen abruptly left the game claiming she wanted to spend more time with her kids drew believes her hasty departure was because of a conflict with a fellow gamer who she believed was cheating. Jen refused to continue on if he stayed in the clan. And when he didn't leave she signed off the chat with a picture of her kids at the beach would consistent with show photos of her with her kids in the woods, all at the beach. Sure where. Trevor in clan chat talk about these escapades that they've gone on. Or they are planning. She taught. And about the fact that they were adopted but far more than that even just the amount of oppression that she experiences because she is the mother of black children Jenin drew spent hours chatting about everything the game holiday picks their families. But he says there was one subject that never came up. Sarah. She never once I'm talking like six months of consistent talking. She never once mentioned her wife Sarah in personal communication with me or in clench. She never mentioned her sexual orientation to me. For whatever reason drew happened to check in with Jen shortly before she died, we had both left the game talked to several months, and I just reached out to say, hey, see how things were going in that conversation. We got around to talking about a real life personas a little more once again sided scenario where she was oppressed shipping, grocery shopping with the kids and person in lying gave her a nasty look because of what she believes she believes it was because of the color of her kids skin. She illustrated that in far more words, but that was the basic gist of it, and I really did sympathize with her like. I wanted. It was clear that because she talked about these scenarios so often like it was pretty clear that she was being hyperbolic, but Jim was a such a fun personality. You couldn't help give her the benefit of a doubt. Some like this is absurd. I can't believe you're in doing this again in retrospect, I'm convinced that almost none of it actually happened. And that I guess I should preface this by saying I've never met anyone like, Jen. I think she became so fixated on this persona that she really did become convinced himself, and you know, when she's following these statements up with these. These photos of her precious children. I mean, it just. It pulls the strings Jrue has five young kids. So he and Jen bonded about the challenges of living in a crowded house. Her message to him enjoy it while it lasts. He says he got the impression that she missed being able to control her kids who doesn't when they have teenagers. We wondered did she ever talk about her kids being delayed the way she communicated it to me was more focused on the idea that they were developmentally delayed win she adopted them. But thanks to her efforts. They've come so far. They're different people better people, of course, the bird with the broken wing. This sounds like the gen we've come to know we wondered if Jen talked about the kids futures withdrew never never wants to read. Now that she was reportedly depriving them of food like it is in fury. Rating not just to me, but all of us who spent so much time on line with her because we can't help. But think that the hours that she was devoting to us and to our clan into our game the money that she was devoting to the game should've it should've gone the children when I realized that she was a home school on like fish, no way in hell. Those kids are learning. I mean, really it's impossible with the amount of time. She spent on this game and with with the gaming community. It's impossible that six kids could be learning like many people who thought they knew Jen heart drew has really struggled to figure out why she did what she did her life had become wrapped up in this image that she so carefully. Crafted this image of her as this doting, mom and champion of racial reconciliation her life. Had become so identified she'd at dinovite herself by this. 'cause if you will that when she came to grips with the fact that it was all going to fall apart strangely enough. I think she took the same approach that she took with that guy in the game. It was like, okay. It's either him or me. But in this case, it's it's all of us either. I get to maintain my image. My my preferred image or none of us get to maintain anything at all drew also points a finger at video games, which give players a quick hit of dopamine. They come to crave. He describes this phenomenon as quote an analyst rewards based experience. I think about the Vegas shooter in his motive has been so elusive, Hugh spending even more absurd hours and money pulling this random number generators seeking these flashing lights this dopamine hit. And I think in my experience, the more I played the less impressive real the real world proved to be I have been described. I hope in some sense justifiably as like a pretty great dad like a very involved at a really do take my kids, my wife, and I both are very active with our children. We love to go hiking love to play sports. I mean, the list goes on and on. But it's strange like the more. I played the more in depth. I got into the game the gaming experience the less interested. I was playing catch with my son. The lest interested I was in spending time with my wife, and I really like her. I really do. Great. But. Was a dictated truly addicted to these the highs of the game provided and then on top of that. I didn't wanna let my clam mates down a wanted to win didn't wanna let Jin down when real life gets more stressful. His win the temptation to escape into his alternative live becomes stronger. The game is not the call. I think the game just creates conditions that perhaps contribute to acts like Dr crash or the Vegas shooting. I'm Ariel Casten. I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs in failures and business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions we'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson together, we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen in scribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. So maybe Jen was running away from her real life from her six growing kids who had little to no education and uncertain futures into the arms of Facebook in video games. It's sad. If you think about it. Of course, you wish someone had heeded the calls if the kids, but you also wish Jen had gotten some help let someone come into the house and keep her company taking a walk with a friend talk to therapist joined a support group for adoptive. Parents would any of this have made a difference. The source close to the family agrees the gen needed help. This person says I think that this whole thing comes down to she was always trying to fix everybody else and make herself look good. When in fact, she was the one who needed the help. Of course, all of this begs the question where was Sarah of all the people we've spoken to her Kohl's colleague, Cheryl heart is the one who knew Sarah best. She said that they used to just always go out go to concerts. They would go to shows. And and Jen was always really happy all the time in Stephan in now, Jen was just really closed off chiefs tired our time when she had migraines. When Cheryl would press for details about medications, Jen might try or whether or not she was seeing a doctor Sarraj shutdown the conversation, she'd get personal, but only to an extent and won't Sarah was willing to acknowledge that Jen might be suffering from depression. She definitely didn't wanna get into specifics. Other details Cheryl remembers the heart set of family library. But the kids were only allowed to check out two books at a time. Jen never slept in a bed. She always fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV. She also wouldn't let Sarah wear her hair and opponent till none of this paint support of the happiest marriage. Jen had some sort of online game that she ran. Through Facebook that was her escape ever since kinda like the whole thing went viral with devante. Yeah. She didn't wanna do the trips or the concerts or any of that stuff. So she trying to the virtual world 'cause she did. Call the store one morning. It was before we had opened. So the call came to my desk. I I'd answered the phone, and it was a woman on the other end they had asked to speak with Sarah heart, my place on hold on. I told sir was for her and Sarah had gone into a complete panic. And she had gone into an office in shut the door. And she came out about her about ten ten to twelve minutes later, and she had told us that it was Jen. It was on the phone, and she was upset with her because Sarah had not done her part of that game or the day studying up something and Jen was really upset because it was really important that Sarah, do whatever it was. She was supposed to do for that game. Choose really she had told Sarah that that was her only out was her only reason for living. There was no if she wasn't going to help her through that. There was no reason for her to exist anymore. Just kind of gave me this look like of kind of like fear, and I remember making this comment. Like, you're like an abused wife. And she just kinda gave me this look like, no kidding. And it just kinda kinda like the whole tone kinda change doctor that it was just like, okay? Something's not right. Would Cheryl have responded differently. If Sarah had described this kind of controlling behavior coming from a man now, it's like, oh, well, your lesbians, you guys can do whatever you want. And then you try not to delve into their hersal relationship. You don't know what boundaries you can trust? Cheryl says Sarah was very open about her marriage to Jen. She didn't try to hide the fact that she was married to a woman. In fact, she says Sarah, probably used the word wife a hundred times a day to the point where other colleagues teased her about it. She could never say, Jen. It was always my wife. My wife, my wife, and that was like she rarely ever called her by name. We just thought it was funny because it's like I didn't around it. My husband this. My husband that Cheryl says Sarah talked about what it was like to work long hours, and then go home and take over from gen who'd been alone with the kids all day, Cheryl got the impression that Sarah. Did most of the cooking Sarah was also open about the pressure of being the breadwinner. She carried most of the credit card debt, which Sheryl says was the result of everyday expenses and home renovations. Sarah's unpaid balance was over fourteen thousand dollars as of March two thousand eighteen and jen's was about two thousand dollars. According to a report released after their death. Not astronaut, Michael. But enough to keep you up at night. If you're supporting a family of eight on forty five thousand a year, and you're to lose your monthly stipends for kids at a foster care Sarah made a payment to her discover card early on the morning of the crash, which suggests she didn't know what was going to happen later. The payment also could have been an automatic one. Some Facebook sluice speculate that the hearts decided to end it all because of their debt, but while fourteen thousand dollars is no joke. The Bank wasn't for closing on their home. And it doesn't seem so insurmountable. The Chen would kill the whole family. Another persistent theory that one of the heart moms was terminally ill in a Facebook status update. Jen vaguely blames health issues for months long hiatus, but nothing in our interviews and the hearts emails and paperwork points to any kind of physical illness. It doesn't seem like such a big leap to say gem suffered from depression. She was isolated she had removed herself from real life. She didn't have a strong support network. No family nearby or in the flesh friends. She saw regularly. Seven months after the hearts died. Lauren smiley made a trip to Mendocino county to talk with sheriff Tom Allman who has been leading the investigations and stay one. He was at the scene of the crash hours after it happened and has returned countless times since here's Lauren I stopped by the Mendocino county sheriff's office on my drive up from San Francisco to the cliff. The office is on the edge of the county seat town of ukiah right next to the jail medicine county is known for redwoods, marijuana farms and on Spiring coastline almond has been the sheriff coroner here for more than a decade. He looks like the sheriff from the movies white fishermen mustache, really ready skin a bust of George Washington sits behind his desk. His start helmet from his time as villian peacekeeper in late nineties Kozovo sits on a shelf. My name is Tom almond. I'm the sheriff of Minnesota county, and I've been sheriff three term up Stormin for. Term worked for the county since eighty five. Listen, I'm not going to downplay the super sleuths because we got good information from people who found good information. And so law enforcement would be full hearty to say. Oh, no. This is our job go away. We're actually sluice to you know, we can think of these things in we we work with chemists and the fringing labs, and it fashioned police were saying, you know, who done it. How can we all this prime? We are following leads. And we're not putting up press releases of of new shock information that we find to satisfy some sluice. Sheriff elemental does something we hadn't heard before that. There was a group of friends and acquaintances of the heart who came from his far away as Minnesota to help the search efforts. They used the bluff where the family died as their Homebase does movement were camped at that all out for reminds former they'd walk the beach. That's how the one gentleman from back east was walking the beach each morning, he found the one body, and and then the people who found the foot in pants leg earned it over to him, and he turned over. Hi, paul. Give us the body. Sheriff almond is referring to is Sierra heart who was found two weeks after the accident you remember she was the twelve year old baby of the family. She was small and spunky and loved music and animals the foot sheriff almond mentions was Hannah's. She was the one who jumped out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night. One of the friends who came out to help with the search was a man named AJ. He drove all the way from Minnesota shortly after the family died. And stayed until the beginning of June. We weren't able to connect with AJ directly. He didn't respond to messages, but Lauren chatted with how hill a local resident who got to know pretty well here. She is to set the scene. As you drive through the tiny town of Westport on highway one you'll see an all wood building with a Pepsi sign in one gas pump. That's bell store. The highway sign of announcing the town says there's two hundred ninety nine residents, but local say only fifty actually live here. Fulltime in all seem to know. How people kept telling me to go there and inside there's a small deli with the menu written on chalkboards and rows of groceries like wine cooking oil toilet, paper, despair. Residents the half hour trip south to the bigger town of Fort Bragg, locals pin notices on an announcement board outside. Handyman for hire a support group for people with depression. Val has lived in Westport since nineteen eighty he took over the store from his mom last year. Everybody knows AJ very nice, man. The super dedicated even law enforcement was worried about how he was going above and beyond. And you know, he's just real nice fell on. And it gave you a different perspective to all the rumors and all the speculation and all the stuff, you know, because you basically have a tragic incident that looks almost like crime scene one's guilty until proven guilty. But there's all these regulations. So it was really hard. And then you get a face to some a friend of the family, and and it helped put a normal everyday thing for especially in this real small town AJ brought that to us. He was also, very polite. Very honest and just really wanted to get the bottom of thing. It wasn't really one way or the other. It was just wanting to find. And he did he did make a difference. Dow talked about how AJ walked out. On the cliffs so far out the fire chief was concerned. He wouldn't make it back before dark. I can't even magin how many miles he walked in those beaches and bluffs and drove around and sat on the who. With binoculars day after day after day after day after day. I mean, he was just a figure of our town for months, you know, once you become a part of a little community like this. It's not like Fox News where they come up and set up their stuff. And then, you know, go home, this was a whole different thing. And it was interesting. It was definitely nice to have like I said a human connection to something that seemed hard to put words with what he come into your store about every day. Not every day in the beginning. Yes. Every day and look for you know, have questions on what might be the word out on the street. So to speak. And then it came down to where it would be a few times a week towards the end. And what sort of tips did you share with him? Just the tips of the weather. Not what to look for the big tip for him was was when one of my guys that I grew up with on the part of said, you know, there's a certain way that the water currents work, and even though the winds blowing south where that incident happened we need to look north in the bay north and he did and he did and he did not play found stuff. He learned the tricks of the trade very quickly adapted himself. You haven't been to the ocean? You know, he didn't know about civic, and you know, you doubted any state dedicated and that when the key everything and that was the key to making. Maybe AJ had it, right? The key to making a difference is about actually showing up lacing a pair of boots and walking along the cliffs, rain or shine alone, or with other heart friends AJ did that he was at the place where his friends died and looked for them in real life. He didn't just click through pictures of them or sit in front of a computer thousand miles away. He didn't try to piece together. The clues from afar, then bounce ideas and hypotheses off strangers. Maybe the key to real friendship is being their in the flesh for better or worse in sickness and in health as Val said, some people look for crowds and some people look for lonely places. If we've learned one thing from the hearts this. There are lots of lonely places in the world. Too many. And once you've lost yourself in one of them or several as we believe Jen did it's really hard to find your way back. Next time on broken hearts. We people who are are abusive those inner kind lies, but also in their public lives, and we know this now not to be true. Coming up here. I felt like a sense dread. Origin quest is going to in my opinion, give evidence that will shock the consciousness of people who are falling his case. This will be a water cooler conversation throughout our nation. If you suspect to child is being abused. Call one eight hundred four a child that's one eight hundred numeral four A C H I L D or visit child help dot org to find out how to report your concerns. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reaches on Twitter at glamour MAG or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy uncle Lawrence. Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce piddle, Pat singer and Luke Zeleski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. I'm Katie golden. I studied psychology and evolutionary biology at Harvard, and I pretend to be a bird on Twitter and my new podcast creature feature. We've you nature in man from a new perspective each episode asking comedian to get inside the minds of animals, so we can explore the startling connections to human psychology, you'll find blood bands and treachery that make game of thrones seemed like a dumb show for babies. Join us every Wednesday and subscribe on apple podcasts for on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jen Sarah heart Facebook apple Cheryl heart Amy atlas Dan Hannah Lauren smiley FBI depression Justin Harman Jenin Liz Egan iheartradio Jin Julie Chen Valentine HALE
Work & Cancer

Talking Cancer

43:17 min | 1 year ago

Work & Cancer

"What happens with your work when you receive a cancer diagnosis? Hello and welcome to talking cancer. A podcast from Milan where I'll be meeting real people to have honest conversations about living with cancer in this episode. We're talking cancer with Helen. I'd apply for a job or it's pretty good at getting through to second views. And as soon as you mentioned I can say you suddenly found that it would stop. Helen has a hereditary gene. Which makes them more susceptible to cancer so much so she's being diagnosed six times of had by all cancer cancer. The wound cervical cancer breast cancer skin cancer. Helen talks to me about how her numerous council diagnosis have affected her career and her finances the night before eighteen to have surgery. My boss set me off to get somebody else in. I ended up two days after my surgery. Zoom payroll from my hospital bed. What has nearly three decades of cancer looming large taught her about the way employers handled the disease years fag. Big See something you didn't speak about each shoved it under the carpet whereas I think now people realize it's not Sarah. Death sentence plus later on million professionals. Dany and Liz are popping him for a Coupla to talk about how to deal with work when you have cancer it's important that you're open with your employer and tell them about your cancer so that they're there to be able to support you women melon and we're talking cancer Helen. Welcome alone it's lovely to me. I love me now. Most people who we've had a chat way than who've joined us on the podcast have had a single diagnosis of cancer. Tell us how many times you've been diagnosed in an on what you found out about it. I've been diagnosed with cancer six times. I'm at risk of getting several other types of cancer. I've had by our cancer cancer. The womb cervical cancer breast cancer skin cancer. And I found out that I've actually got age. Netting condition which the easy word is Lynch Syndrome and that gives you previous predisposition to actually a lot more cancers and it also is hereditary so my son has tested positive for it so that means that in the future he could. He's got an eight percent chance getting pummeled cancer. It's a on a very basic level. It's really lovely that you are here. I caught me just. It's absolutely amazing. I didn't I had no idea that this was a condition. And we're GONNA talk about lots more. I want to tell you about though to life before cancer and before the diagnosis. So what was Helen? Like before the initial diagnosis. What was life like for you? I was bright bubbly. I had not wrong got married. I had a two year old son. I was working fulltime. I enjoy dancing reading walking just north things. Family things and that initial bowel cancer diagnosis. Then what were the first indications the first signs that you had that were worrying you I for a Lotta stomach aches and bow crimes. I was going to the toilet a lot more and I lost a lot of weight so I went to my doctor and he told me was. Ibs and then. Eventually it took them eighteen months to even referred me to specialist. But only because I kept bugging them and when they eventually did the tests are had the tests done on the Mandy results back on Wednesday of his in hoster on Sunday at the operational Monday. Tell us when this was well. Because we're going back a while aren't we? We are nine hundred ninety one. Okay so that's nearly thirty years ago. Yes and that process obviously sounds extremely frustrating when you left the GP for the first time how did you feel about almost being brushed off the the GP that was telling me? There's nothing wrong. I thought I was not being listened to and I was told that I couldn't have anything seriously wrong with me because I was too young. The wrong shape And the wrong sex to actually have anything serious lightbulb cancer. So and it was Ashley. Hinted at the psychological Okay now I know at this point and then you get the You. Get your diagnosis and you. You're into hospital. That must have been a really difficult time for you. I know that home life wasn't particularly happy at that point as well. That's right. My husband couldn't cope with the idea that I had cancer. We were all say not getting on that well At a two year old son and the back of my head I was just thinking how am I can cope house. My little boy can hope but I can get through. This scared. Didn't know what the future is going on and the doctors weren't telling me anything it's amazing. How much has changed over the years? Isn't it I'm glad to say now. This experience the initial bowel cancer diagnosis. You get over that. And at what point are we are we into realizing that there's something else there's an underlying hereditary issue that is prompting all these different cancer diagnosis. I heard a breast cancer cervical cancer. At that time you had those and I was saying doctors. There must be something going on here but they they said no no. There's nothing and then just by chance. My sister started having some problems because I'd had bowel cancer. She was worried she wanted to get tested. Genetic testing was in. It's very very early days at that time. And the only way that she get tested was if I was tested I had to prove that the cancer went back three generations so had come up with the the Death certificates and everything else to prove. This oh my goodness me And it was on one side as well because that that was way had blood tests done and it took them six months to get the results. Back I'm wasting all that. Time must have been excruciating Was this may be an onset. An explanation to what was going on. That was something that was quite welcome. Almost that you know at least you could call it something. Well at least somebody was listening. And at least they were explaining to me some court so reasons why this might be happening. And also if it was something hereditary. I wanted to make sure that my family and my sisters and everybody else because it doesn't just affect me would affect my sisters their children if my mom because it turns out that my mom had passed. It's me no. Well Yeah I guess. Of course of course and then so you get this diagnosis which is called one more time Lynch Syndrome. But you want the real name for it is hereditary. Non of equipment sorry is gone. H An PCC registering on police posts. Polyposis colorectal cancer. Try saying out there on a Friday. So you you've got this diagnosis. Does that then help you process what's happened to you and how you view and how you approach the future? I knowing that I've got it not really because it doesn't change. Anything just makes me realize that I might have passed it onto somebody else. Bought the good side of it. Is that everybody else in? My family can get tested. Yes and so. They could get caught a lot quicker and it wouldn't have to go through everything that I went through to actually get the diagnosis. My son now has annual Colonel Skopje's and guest roscoe peace and it means that if he gets the teen years tiniest little polit they will take it away straight away so the risk is high for him to get bowel cancer bar. The chances are he will get caught a lot quicker. Tell me about that. Tell me about the current state of your current state. My Cancer I mean remission which is good. I still have chances of getting other types cancer but I have actually had all my colon taken away. I now have an estimate so I walk around with a lovely little bag on my side whose lovingly called Donald. I went to the reasons why. They and los generally good. I get very tired. I do still have time. Wake up middle night. Don't know why I'm feeling frightened or scared. And if I do something wrong with me I do probably wonder more than other people might do but generally I'm fine I want to talk specifically about work Because I know it's been. It was important to you. What were you working at the before your first cancer diagnosis before my first cancer diagnosis. I was working for a design company and I was doing finance. So practically most of my career's infinite. She's good with numbers and it's been a new what full-time and we're progressing and enjoyed being a working woman. I enjoyed were king on. I loved being in city. I loved the Baas And I'm not really a stay at home person so we're talking about the early nineties. Which is a way back now when you got your first diagnosis. How supportive initially were your employees that point those employers employers always with the time they were they were following in the office. It was a bit strange because people didn't know what say what to do so some people just ignored the fact that I'd be weighing. Come back some people made jokes other people. They made jokes made jokes. So we have new bags and things like that it was. It was quite strange being back but I love being bad. And how much time did you take off so you went? You had some surgery and then you had some treatment for the cancer. And how much time door-to-door did you have off work really at that point probably a couple of months? Okay and at that point. Did you negotiate the sick pay thing fairly easily through that company? That company was fine. They gave me full pay but unfortunately I was made redundant from that company and after that was when the kind of not messed onto and tell me about how that did start so I would apply for a job and at back at that time and then weren't rules in place to cover. Things like disabilities and sickness so employs more or less. Do what they wanted. And I'd apply for a job I would get through. Always pretty good again getting through to second interviews and then they would start talking about health and they asked me about my health. Lead US got sick days off and as soon as you mentioned I can say you suddenly found that you didn't get any further. It would stop really. Yeah did that happen. On several occasions not getting through to the next stage on many many occasions I actually had one contract. I'd actually signed the contract. And this was after I had my my womb cancer. They sent me. The contract are was Jud starts and filled in the medical form sent his in then all of a sudden the job disappeared. Apparently they'd restructured and they didn't need me anymore. That must make you feel terribly terribly. Sad and frustrated it made me feel very depressed One of the big things by cancer is you don't have control and you feel a bit useless. Sometimes you feel that you're not the same person you not normal so to get back to work is one of the very important stages of getting back to as normal as you can be so to be told. Time and time again that you can't have a job makes you feel worthless. You did get a job eventually. I got a job with an ice company. Ping Canary Wharf. Nice people that lost two week. Okay whoa how dumbfounded. What do you mean that lasted a week? I started with them. Started doing the job and after about four days they called me in and they asked me if I need problems and I said well you know not really well. This is only. We've noticed that you go to the toilet a lot and we've been timing you and you spend about ten minutes time in there. You really can't do computation with this. So I'm sorry you have to go. Helen how'd I mean at this point? Man How are you negotiating these tricky conversations with with employers this point? Are you more aware of your rights as an employee at all well at that time the rights were very much in place so it was quite difficult but at the time? You've already been through a long struggle and I'm quite lucky because I'm quite open. I'm quite extrovert and I will stand up for myself. But there are a lot of people out there who don't and I found the conversations very frustrating but I was quite optimistic. I'd find something else so Forward a decade. And and where are you now? You're working ten years later. You are working and there were multiple diagnosis that you've experienced already. What was the situation at work that point then so then eventually we if we look sorta back about ten years ago. I got a job in a company Start do very well. In that company on started offers. The finance manager ended up as finance director. But during that time my Balkans came back. I had several thousand hospital the night before. Eighteen to have surgery. My boss said to me. I think we'll have to get somebody else in and I sat down. Hang on a minute. I've been here for three or four years. You can't just do that. I ended up so that he wouldn't get somebody injury place me. I was working in hostile. Today's surgery I was doing payroll from hospital bed. What so what are the conversations you have at? That point was their their verbal pressure at the time to come back to work. Yep always asked before ain't gonNA asked hand on the off and I said I don't know burn fishawy probably about six weeks. Maybe two months. He said he was going to be very supportive. Yes very supportive but couldn't do that meal that time. So could I work so you have your certificate saying you are unfit for work. But the expectations to work seem to have been quite high. I came out of hospital and I was working straight away. From the moment I go down hospital. I had my in hospital. They actually confiscate my laptop. I I should think so. Goodness gracious me case. It's interesting though because you. You're a bright hardworking woman and I'm sure you had a great sense of duty to work. Which a lot of people do not being taken advantage of a little bit here in the situation. It feels like people know you enjoy your work. Yep People can say that you are sick so and they I think the back of their minds they know that maybe find it hard to get another job so I think they do tend to play on bet because what they say is well repressurize little bit. She'll do some work because you'd be worried it's GONNA loser job. It's obviously having the you know having time off work and then being out of work has must have had a financial impact on your life. How have you managed with great difficulty? I got interests with mortgage my mortgage. I had to go onto benefits which I'm done before I had to take loans from friends and families. I have what a supermarket with a calculator to make sure that I didn't go. Overspending afford my bank. They went very helpful. That's where people like McMillan come in because they do campaigns and I got involved in a campaign to help try and get the banks to setup specialists people because people earned the phone. They don't talk to people. I mean if your best wrangled cancer you'd find it if God seek into them about two so somebody at the end of the phone doesn't know how to do that so campaigns to help getting people to specialize operators put you in touch with my bank and there was nothing they could do and the person at the end of the phone. I said are we saying to the Michael Cancer? I need help. And they were saying yes. But you'll have to go into mortgage arrays. And then they'll do this and then they'll do that and I'm saying I can't do that you know I've got a young son. I've got faith and nobody listened at the time it has got better. I must say was You mentioned Macmillan. Obviously would that other avenues that you push you to find financial advisor or did you very much feel. There wasn't alone out there at the time. There wasn't a lot out there. My main backup through the whole thing right from the start as b McMillan because they got wet sites and they have help lines and they give a lot of information about financial stuff from what stew and they were the people that really helped me with the work issues They put me in touch with. I have a contact called Allison. Who Helps me in a lot staff? And when I told her I was having all these problems at work she said give them this and she gave me a copy of the Disability Act. I popped on my desk after that. Generally he started perk-up Betton started to take more notice. And I would say to anybody out there who's having problems first and foremost be honest with the bank and be honest and open with your employer. How concessions with them and if they don't listen plot the disability act in front of them. Phone Allison Allison special. She'll help you. I'm so you have a new job don't you? I have a wonderful new. Tell us about the job. Say My new job is I've done finance so my years and I decide age the some my last job. I was Kinda managed down because I I've been off too much so we came to a settlement I left or to three months off and then a friend said there was job going. I'm as a finance test analyst and I taught now I can't do I t but then I thought well hang on a minute Lots of things. I've never done before that I can try and so I decided to give it a go so now I'm working in an office where they take sickness and disability very seriously wonderful sick pay and everything the most exciting thing for me when I started in this nurse. I'm really really stupid to anybody. Who Doesn't have a story? Mubarak is that they have a disabled toilet way at all and they do they care. Um first-time because Donald has had a habit of leaking sometime. Yes so first time that happened but everyone in there a month six weeks. They sent me a said. No no no. No no no go home because it's always a bit traumatic so they sent me home If a phone up and say I'm really tired. Okay work at home. So they apparently done. It can be done and I'm I'm so pleased. It's it's Overdue that you've been treated while at work now. I did want to talk to you as well. Because when you met your second husband yes click at the big smile on your face. You decided to cover to Islam as that helped you. It has is given male of strength and comfort and I feel like I've found myself and an interesting question I think is is. How have you found? Cancer is discussed in the Muslim community. Generally it's not there's an some of it is culture which isn't necessarily to do with Islam but are a lot of myths and culturally shoes with women gained see male doctors with husbands and they don't want to tell their husbands because they're embarrassed some people think that they have got cancer because being punished There's an awful lot worse off an awful lot of work to do there. I had a friend my local mosque. Who eventually spokesman told me that? She was worried because she had a lump in abreast It turned out that she had stage for breast cancer. She'd had that lump for over six months. Goodness me. She didn't go because the doctor was male. Yeah and I did explain to. You can ask to see a female doctor. Awesome to send you to a female consultant. If you're that worried but I did also explain to her that she could have somebody with her. Because it's all about showing yourself off to other people and so there are still ways to get round that but we do need to set up. More support grates beneath there to be more help for and I'm sure it's not just in the Muslim community now we're probably talking about in Hindu and everywhere depend coaches the ripple effect of your experience in your cancer story is GonNa have far reaching effect. I think isn't it and it must be very nice for some of those women to have another woman to come and talk to who has had some experience as well. It must be you know. Really Nice for that lady to come to you and said they own worried about that. Not My style. That must make you feel you know good. It does make me feel good I try to do as much as I can even like talking today because I feel that a lot of people they sit there in silence. They have they're worried about it. That don't short their family visit. Don't want to put their problems on the phonics. Another family is going to be worried anyway. They feel embarrassed about talking about stuff to people they don't know ought to family and friends. I've had friends who've actually cross the street so they don't have to talk to me because and it's not because they don't love me and they don't like me just they didn't know what to say and. I think that we need to get more help from training. Gp's to be a bit more understanding. We need there to be better facilities hospitals so people don't spend loads of money on parking and we need to be able to diagnose more creek. There's much more today. I wanted to ask you as well that the country experience is so unique because it spans almost thirty years. You must have seen improvements in the workplace in that time. That make you feel encouraged. I have I seen attitudes towards people we can see. Changing more facilities are available so segregate more disabled toilets again more ranch. You're getting people being more understanding. I think people are more open to talking about stuff. Now and years back the big C was something you didn't speak about each shoved it under the carpet whereas I think now people realise surly death sentence so managers more able to talk to people. I think there's been more training going on in the background. So people know how to deal with people more for sure. I think generally people more aware so even your colleagues now a more aware. What's going you still find that some? Kansas don't want to talk about. That's why I have. Donald Roth makes it easy to talk about but generally it's much easier to work now now you I mean we've only known each other for a very short period of time but you start. Music generally chipper type of lass. And I know that you're encouraged boiled the the changes that you've experienced but it has been a battle clearly for you and does that does that leave you bitter and angry orders that. How have you coped with you? Know the the not just the cancer and not just the multiple diagnosis but the trauma. Work and I'm what you've been through. How'd you manage that emotionally a choice? Think about the good stuff I've got going on and I try and be positive. And every day they are finding new cues new ways of dealing new treatments When I look at how things were back in nineteen ninety one and I say how they are. Now that gives me great. Hope for the future because things have changed so much in that thirty years. So how much more can they change? In the next thirty years we have. Obviously the people listening may be in a similar situation at work and Struggling with how to start these conversations negotiates the landscape of of employment. When you have a cancer diagnosis. What what is your talk tip? What's your advice to somebody who is going through something like that? Find Somebody to talk to. They will tell you what your rights are an NBA as open with your employer as you can be have an open and frank discussion with them so that they don't have any false expectations so they know what they have to do and speak to your colleagues to make sure that they understand as well but most of all make sure you tell your employer if you've been through cancer you've been through chemotherapy. You've been through radio therapy if you get a cold. You're not likely stay off. You're more likely to be at work. So you're more likely to stay there work hard. Not Because you think you might get the side but because you need to because you won't see and that's the biggest thing. Helen thank you ever so much. It's just been a delight to speak to I I I can only imagine what you've been through into into come out the other end of the small faces quite something. Thank you so much time McMillan. Professional Daniel is with me as usual. Dany hello lovely to see you again. we are also joined however by Liz Egan McMillan's work in cancer expert. Liz Fantastic to have you with us. Welcome great to be here. Thank you now. You've both been listening to fantastic fabulous. Helen Dany what do you? What do you make of her story? What an amazing lady and and actually we so need people to be open and frank about the challenges that they've had particularly around Work but also their other experiences so that we can help other people. We talked to helm primarily about about work Liz. And what was so amazing to hear from hers. Well is that affirmation that going back to work and being employed is so important not just not just financially but also to you emotionally It can really turn whole work. Landscape upside down content absolutely. It can totally do that. But I suppose what I'd like to kind of emphasizes that you know. It's not the same experience for everyone and it's very dependent on the type of cancer. You have the sort of job you have and also how supportive your employer is and has support of Your Line. Manager is going to be in terms of your experience so some people have very easy journey and then some people have much more difficult experiences. And it's just going to be different for everyone and I think we have to. We have to realize that and understand that. I mean Dana. Particularly when we've been speaking I've being a and I didn't think I would be but I've been very surprised about how different everybody stories because not. Everybody has six months of chemotherapy. It's just not that straightforward. Is it no absolutely not? And Ashley said There are lots of different types of cancer. And they're all very different. They will have different impact on you. And that's the difference but so at the beginning then when you are going to start negotiating this this tricky time With your employer. How should someone begin to approach their place of work? Well I think talking about your diagnosis is the first step chuck. She having a conversation with your employer about your cancer and how you're going to be managed in the workplace And most people actually find their employers are very very supportive particularly when they're shoot through treatment but they worry loft that if telling their employer they must have a negative reaction so they're worried that maybe there would made redundant or that. They might lose their job but actually there are laws. That are in place to protect you if you have cancer diagnosis and actually it's important that you're open with your employer and tell them about your cancer so that they're there to be able to support you when you say employer. Is this a walking into on a Monday morning? And saying can I speak to my line manager or the CEO or is this an HR thing? How literally from the For the moment? Who is the first person in your opinion? Is the best place to go if you can. So your manager is the most important person to you absolutely supervisor. They're they're the person that you're going to have to talk to thrasher cancer journey through your treatment when you go back to work so they're the first point of contact for you and it's really good. If you have a good relationship with your line manager it can make such a difference to your whole journey absolutely such different so I would say talk. July monitor issue I portion of coal. However if you don't have good relationship with your line manager then tried to speak to somebody else business. Maybe somebody in the HR department if you have a HR department And you know if you're worried about having that conversation you know you can actually bring somebody in with you into that. First Conversation with your line manager so that you can get support and it could be a colleague work for example And that's really quite important and we'll see if you belong to a union. Sometimes it's good to bring a union rapid and But you know you don't necessarily want to do that unless feeding really uncomfortable in having that initial conversation and I think in terms of thinking about preparing for that conversation the first thing I would do if I was in that situation as I try to find out as much as possible in advance of the meeting about your diagnosis you know thinking about you. Know what time off you might need from work. Ask Your oncologist. Ask Your clinical team find that information is and then what is a good tip is actually to actually write down exactly what you want to say to your employer before you go in And then that will guide your conversation and think about things like he know. Do I want this information to be confidential? Do I want to tell my Boston? My colleagues about my diagnosis What time off would I like to request What would help me may be. I want to work through my treatment to stay in my job. Things like If I'm good to be off work for treatment how are we going to stay in touch? You know how often she should be by phone by email face to face. You know if you're in the middle of treatment you're feeling very sick. You might not want to appreciate a phone call from your line manager. So knowing all of that's really important and then also asking about things like well pleasure my sick pay entitlements you know water the policies are there any good schemes work to support me. I love employed places of employment have employee Assistance Programs. Which offer counseling so there might be some good services that your employer has you might not know about so do ask as many questions you can get as much information as you can but be prepared and be prepared for that conversation And take some notes if you want to If your employer takes notes you can ask for notes of that conversation. All these things All this advice is available on our website. So if you don't catch it all just Google McMillan and work and you'll get all this information and advice there for anybody. That is just getting a diagnosis Who's at work? However the basic the basic premises? You are entitled to some sick pay. Well sick pay depends very much on your contract of employment so I would say. Ask Your line manager about sick pay. That's really important. Because there's two types of sick pay their start she sick pay. Which is a minimum amount that you can get up to twenty eight weeks and most people who've contracts of employment can get ten gets statutory sick pay which will be paid by your employer but on top of that you may have occupational or company sick pay and so some of those policies can be very generous. You know some some employers can pay full pay for periods of time and half pay for another period of time If you work in the public sector for example it's very very generous. Sick pay So I would say talk to your line manager find out what your entitlements are if you're anyway worried and concerned with what they respond to you just call the Macmillan support line as well. We've got some really good work. Support visors and financial Guides Welfare rights advisers. That can give you some very good advice around issues like pay for for someone like me. Who's sitting here as a self employed person is there? Is there some advice that Macmillan have as well? Well if you're self employed or you run a small business. It's it's really difficult because what you're doing is you're juggling Huron Cancer Diagnosis doesn't employee of that business. And you're juggling the business itself and that's a real struggle however we have some very good advice on our website and also our helpline advisors will also give you some advice on finance and how to think about your finances as you as you move. Move along diagnosis. So I suggest. Check the website colour advisors if you're self employed. Are you going to small business? Dining one of the things that Liz has just mentioned is is going to that. Meeting armed with lots of information about You'll likely Treatment Program. Who who dictates how much time you might have to ask for of work is that you're in College. Est. is that how you feel personally. Is it what you're allowed to take for as an employer? It's a combination really because there are some types of treatment and some Chemotherapy regimes where you might be more at risk for period of time if you're in an open office environment so it's it's important to understand If there are any risks a period of time through your treatment. Some people don't know how they're gonNA feel when they have their treatment and they're much more tired than a than they think. But actually if you have the open conversation with with your employer once once you know what type of treatment you're having and you've been able to ASA specialists The likely impacts of treatment then you can absorb that and think okay. I actually if I just travelling to work two days a week instead of five days a week. Can I have the ability to work home? I might be able to manage it or maybe I can do some part time hours. I think that's a very individual thing. Annesley says what she got the information about the type of treatment the potential impacts of that treatment then you can make some choices and have some open conversations with your employer. Yes Liz because it seems like the encouraging thing is that this is not one one meeting where it's black and white and it's an ongoing conversation. Yes because think the time off that you might need at the beginning when you're just diagnosed and you just going to treatment is going to be very different from when you've finished your treatment and it's time to go back to work And actually I think probably earlier on it's clearer time off you might need because hospital appointments dictate off really But I think the trickier bashes when your treatment finishes and you're in that recovery stage while while it's like Danny said you know your oncologist. Clinical team can give you some indication of what your how you might feel over a period of time. What's really really hard to know exactly what's going to happen And actually how much time off you might need. And how and how you would phase your return to work for example so one thing that you can do is make sure that you talk to your oncologist. Trying get some sense of that. And then talk to your gp about issue with a fifth knows and knows is really quite important because on the fifth note your GP can actually say you know. Suggest adjustments that you might for a period of time like a phase return to work and that can that can start with your GP or compensation there it can start with your GP. They're not experts on the workplace. Obviously but they can listen to you and China understand your needs and ask you. What is your colleges told you. And then you when you go insure up to talk to your line manager you can have your book with you and have thought is the basis of your discussion with your with your line manager. Now some workplaces they will have ocupation health department and your line manager may request. You have an occupational health assessment to understand your fitness to work. So that is also a fitness statement. That could also form part of your conversation with your line manager. Oh this is fantastic. When you have a good relationship with your line manager in the unfortunate event that you might not and things aren't going to plan and you're experiencing some resistance. Where's the first place and one of the first things you suggest you do? Well I think you know. First of all as Helen mentioned earlier. You have rights at work when you have a cancer diagnosis and there are two aspects so across the UK There's legislation in place equalities legislation in place that protects you from being treated less favourably. Because you have concert from other people that say in the workplace it also puts a requirement on the employer and your line manager to make what we call reasonable adjustments to support you to say. Stay in your job now. I want to be clear. What's reasonable just anything absolutely anything that sports you stay in work? It can be support for phase return to work for example over at say two three months to help you get back into build up your strength to get back into work. It can mean Enabling you if you can't work at home for a period of time avoiding rush hour traffic traveling in Russia our It can mean you know working part time it could mean changing your job description in fact or changing your job on a temporary or long or a long term basis with your agreement of course It can mean things like you know seating you next to toilet areas for example. If if it's easier for you to for you to use bathroom for example. So any adjustments coming up anything that will support you to stay in your job. But there's always a technical issue there in there have to be reasonable adjustments so reasonable means essentially. Is there a cost there? Is it possible for your employer to do that? So what might be reasonable for a massive in a massive multinational company might be very close unreasonable in the tiny small business? So I think you have to take that into account and it's a judgment call really on the Porsche on your part on the part of your employer. Helen mentioned not having to tell her. Employees Pre being employed about her diagnosis is a requirement so This is a technically trickier issue. So in England. Scotland and Wales. Your employer shouldn't ask you about your health prior to offering you the job however there are some exceptions to that and what I would suggest. Is that people come to our website and have a look or talk to one of our work sport advisers if they want to actually talk about those exceptions in Northern Ireland. Your employer can actually ask you about your health at interview but what everybody needs to remember to understand is actually if you talk about your cancer. Countries is classified as disability across all the four nations in the UK. And that means you get the protection of the law. So you shouldn't be discrimination against in your interview just because you've had a cancer diagnosis and you need to understand. Another important point is remember if you're applying for a job and you're asked are you disabled. You should actually take the box. Yes because actually you are legally disabled for the purposes of legislation. And if you take that box than your protections kick in so that's an important point to remember you to a complete legends. I'm like you know I feel. I feel the most prepared person in the world. Should I ever been fortunate enough to find myself with comes a diagnosis but you just wonderful mine of information anywhere? We need to go to get more information about Comes diagnosis and our workplace rights. As Lewis said I think we have a wealth of information on our website. And there's actually a tool kit that has everything in there so information for your employer information for you Which is an amazing resource. So I would let people go to our website and look through the resources there and pick out what's best for them and can also plug also are a work support service so we have Asia advisors on our help line who specialize in working issues and they have a wealth of experience and they can offer you information and guidance about any stage whether you're having difficulties at work if you're looking for a new job and you want advice on how to talk about your cancer diagnosis and maybe talk about when you've been off sick for work so reading important. They're great team and please call them. And if you're in trouble and you're having problems at work our advisers can also offer you a one-off legal advice as well so An important resource to be aware of Dany List. Thank you so very much as always thanks to Helen for sharing his story to get more information about what we've talked about in this episode. Then go to our website McMillan Dot Org dot. Uk forward slash talking cancer next time which talking cancer treatment with Ben. There was a nurse that came over to me and she was expecting things. Look down a name Badge and seven Macmillan on it I thought Oh my God things of really really real really quickly. Subscribe if you'd like to hear that and every new episode whenever it's ready and if you're enjoying the series why not give it a rating or a review? It helps us find the poll COSMO reasoning. I'm a maybe talking. Cancer is a Macmillan cancer support podcast.

cancer Helen Dany colorectal cancer Donald Roth Macmillan Liz Michael Cancer Liz Egan McMillan Ashley Ibs Mandy Lynch Syndrome Milan UK England Ping Canary Wharf Lynch Syndrome Baas
Patrick Radden Keefe on Empire of Pain

The Book Review

1:04:08 hr | 3 months ago

Patrick Radden Keefe on Empire of Pain

"With information stuck between different apps and platforms. It's hard to get a full view of where things stand monday. Dot com. marcos is visual platform. Where teams run. All of their work over one hundred thousand organizations are using monday dot com to meet their goals to start your free two week. Trial go to monday dot com. That's a free two week trial with monday. Dot com him. One family responsible for america's opioid crisis. Patrick credit keith will join us to discuss his new book empire of pain. What makes a novel a choose your own adventure for adults. Liz egan will be here to discuss her latest pick for group. Text the novel. What comes after. Plus we'll talk about what we and the wider world are reading. This is the book review podcast from the new york times. It's april twenty third. I'm pamela paul. Patron kief joins us now. His new book is called empire of pain. the secret history of the sackler dynasty. Patrick thanks for being here. Thanks so much for having me back. So let's start with a very basic question. In case people are not aware of the sackler family and why he would be writing about them with title like empire of pain. who are the sackler. So this sort of to waste answer that question until a few years ago what. The sackler name Generally to to the extent that people were aware of this family it was a very wealthy family. One of the wealthiest families in the united states with a branch in the uk in london and they were known chiefly for philanthropy right art museum wings. Hundreds of millions of dollars to art museums and universities and medical research and would very often put their name on these bequests. If you you know in new york city go to the metropolitan museum of art and there's the sackler wing And that was what they were known for. What was more mysterious. Was the source of this wealth and it has People have become more widely aware. Recently that That the bulk of this wealth comes from a company purdue pharma which produces the powerful painkiller oxycontin in this era in which the naming of things and the un naming of things mounting and the on mounting has become very active. Is it still the circle ring. In the metropolitan museum is sackler still emblazoned on all of these buildings and donated wings. Well it's very much in flux. So as i speak today it's still the sackler wing but the has actually announced today initially. They said they weren't taking any future. Donations from the soccer is because of the connection between the family and the crisis and then more recently. They've said that they are You know i think assessing is is the word whether or not the sackler wing will remain the sackler wing. Some institutions have started to take the name down so tufts university took down the sackler name from a series of buildings Because the students there this is at the medical school had said. I don't wanna go to class in a building named after this family and and get my medical education. They're more recently. New york university has done the same. The louvre in paris is taken down the sackler name. So there's a real question for many of these other institutions and there's dozens and dozens of them were the name still stands whether or not they'll keep it all right. Let's find out why people want to take that name down. You start your book with arthur. The potter familias of the clan. Who is he and how did he make his money. And how did he differ from what some members of the family called the oxy. Soccer's arthur sackler was a kind of incredible protean. Very new york character. He was born in brooklyn in nineteen thirteen. He grew up the oldest of three brothers in a family of immigrants who had come from from europe and he became a doctor. He had grown up during the great depression and he was sort of forged by that experience and he had this amazing energy so he became a doctor and encouraged his younger brothers mortimer and raymond to become physicians as well which they did but arthur was also a businessman and so he started companies left and right. He got into medical advertising in addition to practicing medicine and ended up running his own wildly successful medical advertising company and made a huge fortune as the person who designed the marketing for valium. But was the valium tagline. How was it. so we'll see. This is what they call the minor tranquilizer and the idea was that there were major tranquilizers on the market at the time which were really for people who are psychotic for people who have pretty severe conditions that required a very strong response minor tranquilizers. The idea was look anybody who feels a little anxiety. a little. social nervousness or depression could take minor tranquilizer. and in the case of valium. What that entailed was overplaying. The therapeutic benefits the number of conditions abuse for playing the risks. So for instance. The risk the valium potentially be addictive which turned out to be and then really appealing not just to consumers but to doctors this was what arthur sackler really excelled that he was a doctor himself but in medical advertising and so his pitch was to the prescriber he realized that that was where the riches lay. If you could convince physicians to write prescriptions. That was how you developed a juggernaut and sure enough volume became at the time the most successful drug in the history of pharmaceutical industry. You have to wonder are not idiots. They'd seeing this. They knew this history. How did this work for oxycontin. Why wasn't there more skepticism in it for doctors. I mean i should say just for the sake of clarity. That arthur who i very deliberately chose to focus the first third of the book on arthur but arthur dies in nineteen eighty seven and it's only later in the nineteen nineties to other branches of the family which own this company purdue unveil oxycontin this powerful painkiller but with a similar playbook to what was used with valium. You know this question of how easily swayed physicians are was one that i really fixated on in this whole process. I don't know about you. I think people differ like even my wife and i are different about this but if i go see my doctor doctor tells me if i say i've got these symptoms but doctor says okay. Have you need to take wi. I will just sort of blindly follow his advice. Because i figured he must know i wife will second guess any doctor no matter. How expert with a little googling of her own but i'll just take it on faith and arthur sackler in particular had to notion. The doctors are kind of unimpeachable that they couldn't be swayed by something like advertising. He actually would say you know. It's not really advertising i do. It's just education. But as i dug into this i found that there's a lot of a lot of evidence that doctors can be swayed in a purdue pharma this company that still sells oxycontin. One amazing figure. I came across as i was researching the book. There was a period of time when they were spending nine million dollars a year just to buy food for doctors and if you talk to physicians and i have they'll say oh i would never be swayed by you know somebody. Buying a meal can change the way i prescribe. But you have to figure that at the company. They're not gonna spend that nine million dollars if they're not really closely looking at the numbers and realizing that actually it does change the behavior of the doctors. All right let's get back to the two other brothers and purdue pharma because as you pointed out oxycontin doesn't come to market until nineteen ninety-six. What was the company doing before. Then and how did they end up developing oxycontin. It was originally called purdue frederick this family business in arthur sackler bought it in nineteen fifty two. He basically bought it for his brothers and so the three of them owned it but it was really his younger brothers mortimer and raymond who were following in his wake who ran the company and for years and years it had it had a kind of steady business in very unglamorous staples antiseptic solution. That was very successful. They had ear wax remover. Various not particularly groundbreaking products over the counter products that they sold and and they they did a tidy business in the nineteen eighties. They started becoming more innovative. As a pharmaceutical company and they marketed a new drug called. Ms contin which was a painkiller. Morphine based pain killer. That had a quite innovative coating on the pill which would allow for dose of morphine. That would slowly filter into the bloodstream of period of hours. And eventually the that was very successful and the the patent on that was coming up and it was at that point that they thought well. How could we use that. Coding and find another drug that we could use with it and that was where they came up with the idea of using oxycodones. And they'd painkiller. And that gave birth to oxycontin this drug that now were familiar with what was so special about oxycontin successful. So it's really all about the coding the seal on the pills. There's only one active ingredients oxycodone on that drug had been around for decades nearly a century. And what happened. There was in the past. You know if you've ever been prescribed pirka down or percocet. There are prescription painkillers. In which you get oxycodone in quite small doses and it's mixed with or acetaminophen which means that you wouldn't take too much you bet because those can be toxic if taken in large doses. So you'd have a small dose of oxycodone in something like burke down or percocet. The real novelty of oxycontin was you could have a huge dose of this drug. Oxycodone that with this that what they call the content seal it would regulate the flow of the drug into your bloodstream of her twelve hours. This was the idea. So you get a kind of continuous almost like a drip of the drug into your bloodstream. And what that meant in terms of the market was that people wouldn't need to take. They would need to wake up in the middle of the night to take painkillers. In order to relieve their pain. They could sleep through the night because in theory in we've got to be more complicated in practice but in theory the drug lasted twelve hours and so there was a big marketing campaign with oxycontin where they would say you know it just takes two doses one in the am one pm and you're set okay. So this struggle comes to market in nineteen ninety-six presumably. It's used primarily and hospitals and then for post surgical pain rate. Has it become a big problem. Ms contin the predecessor drug had really been a cancer drug. There was a sense that it was a kind of nuclear solution that a patient would graduate to and it was it was morphine and there was a sense that it would be administered when somebody was battling really severe cat related pain or was in end of life care situation. The problem is that while that was a robust market and made hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the company. It's a limited market. And so what purdue and the sackler set out to do was position oxycontin as a drug not just for severe pain but also for moderate pain and that would be a much much bigger market in the united the company s itself estimated that there were forty to fifty million americans who suffered from some form of chronic pain. And so if you could position this drug so that it would be a kind of approachable alternative. Not the thing you go to as a last resort when you've tried everything else. But actually to use the tagline that they developed roxy content said. It's the one to start with and the one to stay with cow to well exactly and that was the intention. I think in ways that probably even they didn't anticipate with the want to stay with part turns out. This was addictive. They hadn't done any studies in advance on addictiveness and in fact in their marketing they rather cavalierly told physicians. that wasn't addictive. Basically what they would say. And i've interviewed lots of former sales reps from purdue who would go out and they would meet with doctors all day long and they would say you know dr. We've looked into this their studies. This is addictive. Less than one percent of the time said in part probably didn't even realize it in terms of the the stay component how culpable worthy. I mean at what point did they realize that this is having unanticipated consequences. This is something. I've thought about a lot and that i try and pretty carefully in the book these questions of culpability and you have to be pretty careful nuanced. I think in your discussion of this sort of thing because the opioid crisis which we end up with which i would argue really springs from the launch of oxycontin ends up killing nearly half a million americans right. It's just absolute catastrophe from a public health point of view. So i do think that you need to be pretty scrupulous about who you assign blame to. And in what measure and you know for me looking very carefully at purdue but then also the sackler family which owned the company which made billions and billions and billions of dollars from the sale of oxycontin and which ran the company. You know the the family now claims that they had only kind of distant occasionally. They got emails telling them what was happening at purdue but they really weren't weighing in in a major way i was able to. I think establish a pretty elaborate paper trail proving that that's not the case that in fact many members of the family were fanatically micromanaging. What happened in the business straight up until just a couple of years ago. So how do we assign blame so for me. The really critical point is not the original launch of oxycontin or the fact that they didn't do tests verdict or the fact that they design this crazy marketing strategy. And they thought that you know. Let's persuade doctors that these drugs addictive even though they didn't know that and they aim to make a drug for everyone to start with into stay with all of that i think is is hugely problematic and does end up birthing the opioid crisis that we know today morally though for me the really critical moment is after the drug is released pretty quickly thereafter there. Start being these indications that it's not what the family in the company of cracked up to be that in fact people are abusing it. they are growing addicted. Their overdosing under dine and word starts coming back to the senior leadership of the company that this is happening. I feel as though at that point. That's when it really matters. That's the moment where they could have said not. We're gonna pull the drug from the shelves but they could've said maybe we should slow down our marketing just touch. You know maybe we should be a little less assured about telling doctors. This isn't addictive. Maybe we should do a little soul searching here and think about the magnitude of suffering that we're hearing about and just kind of take a hard look at power handling this and that didn't happen. What was instead the both the business and the family kind of got into this defensive crouch and they said you know. The drug is flawless. There is no problem with the drug. The drug is not addictive. The problem is drug abusers that there are people out there. Who just you know. If they weren't abusing oxycontin they'd be using something else and they're they're morally degenerate and we share no responsibility for that. And when was that in time the the drug comes to market in nineteen ninety-six. When did it begin to realize the implications and respond in that way. The story that produce voice told us that they didn't get an indication of any major problems until early two thousand so four years later right this is like echoes of the tobacco industry. Yes yes exactly. So it's this question of what did they know. And when did they know it. And what they have always claimed including. I should say in congressional testimony in sworn depositions. They've always said oh. We didn't really get it in a sense that there was any major issue at all until the spring of two thousand and then we learned about it from media reports they learned about it from they claimed by reading the newspaper. One thing i was able to establish very definitive in the book is that in fact there is this paper trail really starting in nineteen ninety seven so just a year after the drug is released off sales reps sending messages back saying. Hey we've got a problem here. you know. People are abusing this drug. This is not working out the way we we got an image problem with this drug out there on the street and in an indeed in the medical community and there's very high level discussion by senior executives at the company some of whom subsequently testified under oath that they did know anything about this until early. Two thousand in terms of the timeline. It's very hard to reconcile what they have always said publicly. And what. I was able to substantiate with internal documents. You also spoke to those salespeople. As you mentioned earlier i mean what did they say. How do they realize they're going out there. There are meeting with doctors presumably. They're selling these drugs. How do they realized there's a problem. One thing i found talking to the sales reps. And i think this is this is true for executives at the company and publisher of the soccers as well as there was actually a fair amount of idealism. It might have been naive idealism but in the early going with oxycontin there was a sense that you know we're out here. God work were bringing relief to to hundreds of thousands millions of people who were suffering from terrible pain so it becomes this question of. How do you recalibrate your understanding. What you're doing as new evidence comes in and for the sales reps it was pretty immediate. Because they're out there meeting doctors and doctors would say god you know. My patients are coming back. And they're saying they need more and more they were talking with pharmacists. Who are concerned about some of the who. Were getting prescriptions. I had this amazing conversation with one. Sales rep the way. He discovered there was a problem as he'd been on the job for a while. I think this is in one thousand nine hundred nine so again before the company claims they ever knew anything and he had this one doctor who was a big prescriber and for the sales reps. They loved the doctors who prescribed a lot of oxycontin. They actually had a name for them. They called the whales. The way people in In vegas refer to big big gamblers because it's very profitable to have a doctor like that. And he went to call on the doctor and he found her just looking really downcast and asked what had happened and she said that she had a relative who had just died and that she had overdosed on oxycontin so literally the way. This guy learns that. There's a problem. Is that the doctor who he's been visiting who's been prescribing. So much oxycontin lose a family member to an overdose. We talked a little bit earlier about the division within the family between arthur's errors and the so-called oxy sackler the his brothers and their family members is there any other dissension in the family. Are there any internal whistle blowers anyone who would talk to you for this book. This is one of the big riddles for me is. I was convinced that there must be. And i spent a lot of time trying to figure out. Is there some apostate right some angry nephew absolutely someone who feels any measure of discomfort about the source of the family wealth. And it's funny because there are a lot of particularly younger. I mean i describe in the book and sackler who's a filmmaker who makes kind of social justice type films. There are members of the family who don't work for the company never have worked for the company and some of them quite righteously. Say why. Should i have to answer questions about this business. You know who would suggest that. I am in anyway complicit when i didn't make any of these business decisions and i kind of balk at that a little bit i mean i would never suggest that the level of complicity is the same but these are people who who are very very wealthy because of the sale of oxycontin. You know they all have these trusts which cumulate money coming from the sale of this drug and there is not a single person who has shown any daylight between them and their family any level of discomfort to a point where one thing i obtained as i was researching. The book was a private whatsapp log of a family. Chat among the heirs of mortimer sackler that lasted over a year. A back and forth. And you know a lot of it was planning dinners and wishing each other merry christmas but then some of it was talking about the pr problems for the family and all of these younger sackler for the business. But who have been hugely enriched by it. They talked about this as a pr problem. It was incredible to see that even in private on this line. that's just family members. There's nobody who says. Hey god maybe you know maybe we should take a beat and think about this. Maybe we do have some responsibility. I'm taking it. They are not pleased about the publication of this book. What was it like trying to get some kind of comment from them. During the process of your research. It wasn't pleasant. I knew from the outset that they would. Not i had written this piece in the new yorker in two thousand seventeen about the family and as soon as it was announced that i was doing the book i started. Getting legal. threats mortimer after branch was actually less antagonistic. But the raymond sackler branch of the family. Really kind of you know came after me with a whole string of legal threats suggestions that they might sue live outside new york city in the suburbs. There's a point that i describe in the book where there was a private investigator sticking out my house i should say. I don't know that the sackler said the investigator but it'd be hard for me to imagine. Who else would. And when. I asked the family whether they knew anything about this. They refused to comment the challenge for me as a writer is if you're going to tell a story like this without direct access to the people you're writing about. Can you do it in a way. That feels vivid and authentic and intimate enough that the reader doesn't feel like they're seeing these people through a telescope. And the way i manage to do that was through gathering a lot of documents through doing a lot of interviews and talking to people who who know the family but also through gathering a huge amount of private correspondence. So even though i wasn't i didn't have the opportunity to interview these people in person. The book is still very largely told through their own words where things stand now with purdue pharma and the sackler family. We talked a little bit about their name coming off of things. But where are they legally and financially as of now there are about twenty five hundred lawsuits against purdue pharma statement union is suing the company over its role in the opioid crisis. Roughly half the states are actually suing the sackler orders individually. And you end up in this kind of crazy situation. In which over a period of about a decade the family started really aggressively pulling money. Out of purdue so they would get these huge disbursements few hundred million here a few hundred million there and over about a decade. They took ten billion dollars out of the company and in private accounts offshore and their private trusts and so forth. And what happened. Is that you get this huge storm of litigation these lawsuits and at that point. The family says all will work. We're just going to put the company in bankruptcy because the bank. The company doesn't have any money anymore to deal with all these lawsuits. So you end up in this strange state of affairs where purdue pharma is now in bankruptcy in evacuees according in white plains new york. The sackler have not declared bankruptcy. Because they've taken all the money out of the company and the the big legal question now is what kind of accountability they may or may not face. Will these lawsuits by the states. Be allowed to move forward or will the family do with. I think they want to do which is wrap this whole thing up in bankruptcy court they would make a contribution that proposed contribution of i think four and a quarter billion dollars and what they've made like eighteen billion dollars off this. I mean nobody even really knows we know we know for sure. And it's been it's been documented and they don't deny that they took the ina. I think it's eight years. They took more than ten billion dollars out of the company. So so if you think about it that way right. I mean four billion dollars a lot of money on the one hand on the other hand. The one other thing to add is that just this at the end of last year. Purdue pharma pled guilty to fraud to any charges for the second time actually hit had done so in two thousand seven as well so you've a period of time when the company is committing fraud. It's since pled guilty and the family is taking money out and what they're saying is we'll give you forty cents on the dollar for what we took out so much about the story. I would sound very strange to people who don't live in this weird little country we live in with its odd practices from the bankruptcy to the the way in which the firm suitable industry is structured. But one big question. I imagine people who don't live here have to ask. How did this drug get to market in the first place. Why is there so little regulation not to absolve the soccer family. Or purdue pharma of responsibility but you have to wonder like why was no one else paying attention to this. It's a great question. i should say i mean. I focused on the family for a number of reasons in part because i felt as though their story had not been fully told in part because honestly i think it's a great story i mean i've always been fascinated by family dynamics and and i i love to read family sagas and so that was the particular story that i wanted to tell that is not to say by any stretch that there isn't plenty of blame that can be assigned elsewhere and part of the story i wanted to tell was actually a a structural one about the way in which in our system in the united states. Money just pollutes everything. And so whether it's the department of justice which kind of let the company off easy or congress which i think not until fairly recently engaged enough scrutiny in this way and his is all too easily bought off by donations influence-peddling or in this case the fda into the role of the fda. I think is is a real problem here. So what the soccer's would say you look. All we ever did was sell a drug that was approved by the fda. What was wrong with that. And if you put a lot of stock in the fda being good at doing its job then that might be persuasive. Answer but in the case of oxycontin. There's a story i tell him. The book about a guy named curtis wright who was the chief examiner at fda responsible for approving not just the drug but also the marketing language. That could be used. So curtis right approved the drug and then he leaves the fda and within a year he goes and takes job at purdue pharma for four hundred thousand dollars in compensation. I've foyer the foyer. The fda to try and get all his communications pieces together and they were never responsive. So i sued. And i got a judge in new york to compel them to turn over thousands of pages of documents to me. But when it came to curtis redskin indications. They said you know. It's the strangest thing we don't have anything left. It must have all just gotten lost or destroyed. I'm going to translate one word for listeners. Foia is freedom of information act. I guess is how you would put it to request documents okay. It's a very complicated story. I wanna ask you one final question related to that complexity but on a personal level your book say nothing came out in two thousand nineteen. So you're paperback was out last year. You also had this great. Podcast outlasts summer which i think defined my early slash mid pandemic period winds of change. Where i would like to stalk around the neighborhood listening to that series and you were writing this book. Explain how that was done and now that it's basically all over what are you doing. Oh god yeah. I mean the To take the second parks. I i wanna take a nap. I'm exhausted the it's been a long. I mean it's been a long year for all of us right right. There was also that pandemic there was no matter. The truth is that twenty twenty was supposed to be. We can all tell some version of the story right. There were a lot of things i was going to be doing in twenty twenty Say nothing was going to be coming out in other countries. And i was gonna do some interesting travel and so forth. Everything just got swept away and so in terms of the writing of this book. I found that it was very helpful to have all of my plans canceled for a year and be forced to stay in my home. It's like house arrest for writers. I m somebody who particularly when it comes to things like just getting a book written. I have like confinement fantasies. Sometimes you know. I think if somebody could just cancel all my plans my social obligations and you really can't do anything but but sit in your room and in this instance. It was one of those bizarre ways. In which the awful things happening in the world for. We're kind of helpful. So i am tired at this point. I think going to take a break all right well. The very good result for readers and for listeners is that you have three different. Patrick radin keith. things that you can consume. Nothing and patrick was on the podcast for that. The second is his excellent podcast. Winds of change and his new book of course is empire of the secret history of the sackler dynasty. Patrick thanks so much for being here. Thank you for having me. This podcast is supported by better. Help counseling therapy as a place. Where you really dig deep into who you are without needing to be too concerned with the relationships that you have with other people all of your life's responsibilities. It's just you time that's heavily. Joe have clinical support at better help. Join the millions. Who are seeing. What therapy is really about listeners. Book view get ten percents off the first month of better help dot com slash book review. That's better h e l p com slash book review. Hi this is melissa clark from new york times cooking. Who doesn't love a simple one pan. Neil take my shakshuka with federal recipe for instance in a single skillet. You get perfectly cooked eggs nestled in a bright and fragrant tomato sauce surrounded by creamy nuggets of melted fed up. It's a delicious breakfast. But it's just as good for dinner and it won't leave you with a lot of cleanup you can find this recipe and oliver fan favourite one pan recipes at n. y. T. coming dot com and cooking. Has you covered with recipes advice and inspiration for any occasion joining us now to help. Celebrate the one hundred. Twenty fifth anniversary of the book review tina jordan. Hey tina hey pamela. So today i'm going to talk about bylines because of course today all of our reviews are signed but in the beginning only a few of them were and then only when they were written by a well known critic or scholar in one thousand nine hundred ninety five. The editor of the book review noted that the annual holiday issue was remarkable for the large number of valuable contributions from writers have in their respective fields. But this really was the exception. Because the unnamed pundits regularly took potshots at authors and poets and drama some of whom began writing directly to the paper's publisher asking that he intercede on their behalf. And that adolph ochs. He was very firm and courteous in his replies and he told people i should be pleased to have noticed taken. If your book. But i do not interfere in fact i cannot do so without totally demoralizing our organization but there was one review in particular that set people off and it was a review of george bernard. Shaw's plays pleasant and unpleasant a collection that was published in eighteen. Ninety eight and in the end signed review review. A few choice lines from it. Here's a good one. He is not a touch of the poetical in his composition and the critic and satirist who is not a bit of a poet cannot reasonably hope to win. Wide renown is dramatize but my favorite favorite lines are these. Mr shah's new book is one in which multitudes of readers would find intolerably dry. A smart that of historical perversion is called. The man of destiny. Itself is supposed incident in the life of napoleon and does show that shaw has the instinct of stagecraft and the neck of devising situations. If only he had a poet's gift he might become a real dramatist. I kind of love this. Obviously george bernard. Shaw was an incredibly important playwright of the era but this relief was the norm that these reviews were not signed and in fact it wasn't until i believe the early nineteen forties that the rule was that every single review be signed who that was very common in the era. I mean for a long time time magazine articles weren't signed. Newsweek didn't i don't think had bylines the economist but still doesn't have bylines. Absolutely things were not signed in the case of critics though i do feel like criticism began to be signed earlier than other things. Well let's hear about more of those bylines in the weeks to come. Tina thank you so much. Thank you pamela. It's time for our april group text. Pick and elizabeth egan is here to talk about it. Liz thanks for being here hemlock. Thank you so much for having me on thrilled to be here to talk about what comes. After by joanne. Tompkins are what kind of book is this. This is an atmospheric thriller slash mystery slash garden-variety. Just really good book about a small town in the pacific northwest. That is reeling from a tragedy that the title what comes after is very apt because this is the story of what comes after a tragedy where two teenage boys have died. One has been murdered. One dies by suicide and we follow pregnant sixteen year old as she wanders out of the woods on the outskirts of town and arrives at the home of the father of one of the boys and we see how the town except the girl and hold off on asking some pretty difficult questions about who she is where she came from and as they piece together who she is. We do also really. The vibe is watching the the town and these two parents recover from this huge loss okay. There's a lot in there. But i want to start with the wandering out of the woods thing because i'm thinking to myself as you say that we need to make a list of all of the novels that start with someone wandering out of the woods and then compare that with i mean. How often does someone wander out of the woodson real life right. Never he where. I live in suburban new jersey. The person you wanders out of the woods is somebody. You want nothing to do it. So okay that aside suspending disbelief for a moment on that. But i guess it is a very effective thing in a book to have someone wander out of the woods. It's sometimes it's a child who's been held captive for who knows how many years into windows who her parents are and other times. It's someone emerging after an attempted murder. And i don't know what it is. Well i guess this person wanders out pregnant right. She does and actually. It's worth noting. This is the second group textbook in one year where we've had somebody wandering out of the woods. The other one was dear child writing right. Which i i'm sensing you have an affinity deals in this case. Actually you do know a little bit. And i'm not giving anything away but the girl evangeline you do learn right from the get go that she has been abandoned by her mother. Who is a drug addict. And she's leaving this trailer that she's been living in with her mother so it's not like she's a woodland creature she's really down on her luck and she has a connection to the boys who have died and i won't go into what it is but she knows that the father of one of the boys is living alone in this big house and so she she seeks him out and he opened his home to her. And there's this amazing theme in the book which i didn't get into so much in my review of it. But this father who she takes up residence with his name is isaac. He's quaker and he's really struggling with his faith in the wake of his only child's death so we get these this story of the community rebounding the families rebounding the story of evangeline pregnancy. And we also have the story of a man's search for faith which is not necessarily my favorite story line. But i knew very little about quaker ism and i thought that joanne tompkins this is her first novel. I thought she handled. It was such a light and thoughtful touch and that to me elevated this book into a different level of of beauty. I would say the things we don't know at the beginning of this novel are who is the father of the child that evangeline is carrying. What happened to the two dead teenagers. Exactly and why and what her connection is to those characters and those are the underlying mysteries in the in the book. Yes and i should say that. Because i always think i know everything when i start a mystery. I always think i've solved it. I thought oh. I personally liz egan. I know who the father of this baby is. And i'm just telling you right now. I really didn't. It's it's a true shock. So it's a real mystery and it unfolds very slowly and gracefully and poetically with a lot of fog and views of the southbound and pine trees. And i think i mentioned this in my review. Our maybe i didn't. There are a lot of animals in this book and unfortunately for us pamela. there. I don't think there are any cats but i love when the family dog is a is a character and in this case there's one named rufus got under my skin. You mentioned earlier that this is his debut. What why did you choose it. It's really fat. It's a long book. And i was looking for something that i could really lose myself in. Also i am the mother of three teenagers. And i'm constantly looking for the book that makes me feel a little better about how little i know about what's running through my kids heads at any given time. I'm aware that on some level that's developmentally appropriate. But this book reminded me that. Teenagers have a life separate from the adults around them and even now in the middle of the pandemic they have secrets. They have their own adventures. That try to keep track of but there was something about this book that fell if kind of reassuring to me as strange as that sounds because it begins with this terrible tragedy but is really actually a book about life and tomkins presumably is effective at capturing that teenage mindset and voice. I thought she was. I'm eager to hear from a teenager. Who's read this book. Because i read it. And i felt the teenage voices seemed very authentic. But if i've learned one thing in my years as the mother of teenagers they have a whole different. A meter. For detecting a word. That i i won't say on the podcast nonsense. Let's say yes. Yes exactly so. If you were running a book club on this right now that would be what you would want to know from any teenage members who happen to wander in. but what else would you want to ask everyone over authors. Would you open your door to somebody who arrived on your front porch with no history in your life. Would you have the capacity to dig deep in your lowest moment and share yourself with somebody else. The way the people in this book do. I thought that was an interesting question. Also i think that questions around the quaker piece of it were were really interesting. The way that isaac the father relies on his religious community to help him through this in your tux column. You compared the book to other novels really different ones and i'm curious why you chose them and if you could describe each of them to listener so that they know what those books are about the i was. Gabriel talents my absolute darling. Few years ago that one is about a girl who's living alone with her father who is horribly abusive and what connected it in my mind to what comes after was the of atmosphere and wilderness around their home. She's this almost feral kid who finds comfort in the land and is like a i i it was. It's been a while since i've read it. But i think that she'd like knows how to use a bow and arrow and she travels barefoot miles at a time and her self sufficiency reminded me of evangeline. Actually the opposite where she's living in this hone that's probably abusive and not conducive to little kid. Life in what comes after. I found the opposite. They're they're such a center of warmth and peace in the home where evangeline takes up residence. So i thought it was an interesting comparison aren't in the other book is lionel shriver's we need to talk about which i think i'm the only one in my demographic who is not read that book you have got to remedy that situation. It's a story told from the perspective of a mother whose son has turned out to be a bad seed and she has long suspected that he isn't normal. Of course what is normal. But that he isn't well and we hear his story from her perspective after pretty much. The worst has happened. That was very succinct. Liz it's interesting. 'cause i always think of that book as i think. The shorthand at the time was this is like the the dylan klebold book. This is the post columbine. How could that happen. How does someone raise a child like this novel. I don't know if shriver based on either of the columbine killers but perhaps it's just that it landed at around that time but for whatever reason they're closely associated in my head. I closely associated them until i read. Sue klebold memoir. She's dylan klebold. Mother and i had a completely different perspective on her relationship with her son and what their home life was like when he was growing up. After i read that book she was a guest on. The podcast of that book was a really powerful conversation. I almost listed her memoir and commended reading with what comes after. But it's so real. It felt almost wrong to parent with fiction. Felt too casual. But it's really a stunning book to the book is what comes after by joanne. Tompkins give us one last like you want to read this. If kind of idea you want to read this if you're grappling with the idea of why terrible things happen which i think we all are right now. How do you pick up and walk forward into the world when you're feeling disillusioned and devastated and yet this is not a sad. It is sad book. But it's a book where you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Always make me wanna read everything oh good. I'm glad to hear that. I think you like this one all right. Elizabeth egan is an editor at the booker view. And she writes. Our monthly group taxed column joining us now to talk about what we're reading my colleagues john williams and lauren christianson hater. Everybody amer so john. What have you been reading. I have a little mini quest story to go with what. I'm reading this week. Which i always liked because it's so easy to find everything nowadays. I've been looking for a while for this book by jane. Garden called crusoes daughter said novel. She's best known here. I think for her book. Old filth which i read a million years ago and i think i read another book of hers half a million years ago but a few years ago i talked on the podcast about this short book that was published in britain called robinson who publisher there who used the pen name to write it and it's all about robinson crusoe it's about hundred pages it's part memoir but it's really a cultural study of the novel's reflection of british culture and also this sort of remarkable number of books and other artistic works that have been inspired by it and one of the things he mentioned. Was this jane garden novel. And so i've been looking for it ever since it's out of print tier. I finally just ordered it from the uk. I couldn't even find it in used bookstores. So i felt like when it when it takes you so much work to get a book. You're really into it. You think this better be good and it is. it's fantastic. i'm about ten pages away from the end of it. It's about a six year old girl named polly flint. Who is an. She's not orphaned quite yet when the book starts her father drops her off at her two aunt's house. Aunts live together on the northern coast of england in a fairly isolated. Place right the water and polly's mother has just died and two months after her father drops her off he dies. This all happens very quickly. So not spoiling anything. And the two aunts one is bleak and one is gentle as polly describes them their religious. They don't like poly doesn't want to go to church. She has kind of stubborn disbelief from a very young age but also from a very young age she loves the novel robinson crusoe to the point. Where to the point of obsession really. I think when she's an adolescent. She says she's read at twenty three times and she goes on to keep reading it and when she's in her early thirties. She translates it a couple of times. She writes us. I think what she calls a spiritual biography of the novel. And what's great is that there's that through line of this beloved book and and the way she talks and thinks about it but it's a fairly short novels less than three hundred pages and it doesn't it feels even a little bit shorter than that when you're holding it in your hands and yet it has this great old fashioned sweep where you get polly's life from well the time she's six when she's dropped off at the house to toward the end of the book. She's in her forties. I think and it happens without you really realizing that that much time passing and she has these relationships with a couple of people she ends up meeting locally it's pretty sparsely populated place but she falls in love with a couple of people. One of them goes off to fight in the war world. War one happens. War two starts to bloom into the horizon. You get this great sense of history and also of this very isolated life lived against its background and she's a great character. It is written in the first person from her perspective. And i'm loving it. And actually when i started to think about talking about it on the show today i realized that you know. I think i like it even more than i was feeling as i read it. It's it's i think it's going to stay with me for a long time. Jane guard number children's books too. So it's kinda interesting that she's she's starts. This went off from the perspective of child. Yes you can almost study this book much closer way to find out what she's doing with the fact that she's telling the story from the perspective of herself almost at every age and it's very seamless. I'm not quite sure how she does it. Gardens done a lot. She's in her nineties now and she might still be writing. But i was gonna ask the both of you though. If you've ever read because i actually haven't read robinson crusoe itself. I read after. I read that book. I mentioned it also talked about james. Kosei is novel foe. Which is also about runs chris which is great and it mentioned. Muriel spark novel. That i have but i haven't read yet and all the i mean it left me with sort of twelve to fifteen books to read afterwards but i've never read the foundational tax than i wonder if it's great or you were bored by it or i haven't read it either. I read that jeff l. And fo the say in a class that i took in college that was about the origins of the novel because robinson crusoe is considered one of the first novels. Some people might argue that it was the first novel in so far as it was really about the interior already of the person so i read it largely as one reads for class. Not for pleasure but about that question. I think it's worth reading for historical reasons if nothing else to just get that sense of. How did people create those first novels. Had that of all. There's this great senior. I think police on a train and she's talking to someone. She's always defending the novel against her aunt. Thinks that it's i don't know if she says boring but she she wonders why she's bothering with it. And i think there's a man who says defoe you're reading to fill. You should read dickens. He'll make you laugh so there's like she's though is trying to tell people that this is actually a great work. And they should they should read it. Lauren what are you reading these days. I am reading debut collection by dish affiliate. A secret lives of church. Ladies it came out this past summer from west. Virginia university press. It's nine stories. it's a slim collection. Paperback all centered on the lives of black women at various stages in their lives and they're really pushing against society's expectations of them whether you know figuring out their own sexualities or growing up and just gaining new understandings says as all of us can relate to who their parents are. The parents flaws in how those shaped who the daughters are themselves it just really astounding collection and the one story. That i really can't get out of my head is called peach cobbler. It's narrated by the daughter of a single mom who you know. She's just known for making this really incredibly rich and sweet dessert from scratch all the time. She does it by intuition. Which in very limited. Aching experience i have. You really can't do you know. She just kind of feels out the proportions of the ingredients. But it's just this magical desert and her daughter witnesses for making this all the time and she smells it. And she's kind of like salivating for it but the mother never lets her. Taste it because this. This cobbler is for pastor. Neely who's a character. Who is the pastor in the town who is married with family and he just comes over to their house where this mother and daughter live to eat the entire pie himself. You know he's like he's so he's so hungry for it and it's it's just it's this really like carnal enjoyment that he gets out of this pie and the daughter watching him. It's a it's a really interesting. Look at hunger and desire but after he's finished with it you may take some other back into the bedroom and they have this this ongoing affair and eventually the girl experiences mail betrayal of her own. She's an adolescent girl. She she has feeling of being used and then discarded and she experiences that for herself but beyond that great storytelling. There's just this really quiet effortless power of the sentences that video rights. I wanna read just a really short sequence. It's like four sentences that i mean. I think i could still cry but podcasts. I won't cry podcast line. I start crying. Crying almost poached. The bag are is that she. The daughter has learned or taught herself to make this by herself. She just figured it out and she's really proud of herself. And it's this accomplishment. And she imagines making it for pastor neely as well it's just she's just imagining this that she she writes. I imagined him tasting my cobbler and telling me it was better than my mother's the best in the world i also imagined sent him a piece with ground up glass baked into the crust and watching him crumpled to the floor more than that. I wanted my mother to know and be proud. That i could make good cobbler. Mostly just wanted my mother. I feel like you posted one of these sentences on instagram. And it freaked me out. I think i emailed diese. When i read that i just i still find it so powerful i feel encapsulated so much of decided feels like to be like a young woman in the things that you want. And you're informed like maybe don't get and you know. I'm hardly the first person to love this book a. It's really made a clean sweep of this year's awards at. I think it was a finalist for the national book award won the pen faulkner and the story prize. I think it's up for a couple of other things including the l. a. times book prize at i. Just i really can't say enough great things bad so anyone hasn't read it. Go pick it up. It's very slim collection. That's been on my radar pamela. What are you reading. I feel like the theme. This week is kids because one thing picking up the dickens is one of my kids is reading dickens. Right now and something. That released depress me that he said because he does find it really funny. He's reading david copperfield. And he read aloud to me. This really terrible letter that mr macabre writes in the novel and just for the bad writing of the mr macabre but in writing is even worse than the way that mr macabre speaks and he said to me. You know i remember. You always talking about this character. When i was little. I was like what you know. It's it's one of those moments where you realize that because apparently just like blah blah blah. You're not even listening to yourself. Talk errantly i. I knew. I'd spoken of your ira heap. But i did not realize. Apparently talked about mr macabre so recognizable character to him. I'm gonna pull john williams. Which is what. I think of when john would come into the podcast studio with like three novels in pale. Like i have read these three books while you have struggled through chapter of yours. I'm gonna talk about two bucks. The first is the book that i just finished which was true grit by charles portis. And it's just one of those things where you know. I i feel really irritated at myself. Like i just no matter how many times people said you have to read it. You have to read it. I'm like no i don't. I've seen the movie three times. I don't need to read it. I've done that. And i'm talking about the coen brothers movie. I haven't seen the john wayne version but of course you do have to read that book. It's just a perfect. Have you both read it. I love that book. I bought it after the appreciation. Piece that we ran soon after he passed away. And i still haven't read it yet but it's on the shelf all right so john. Let's talk and we won't reveal anything to you. Lauren seen the phone or the either foam. It's all right lawrence mike. Yeah it was a long time ago. That i read it when i say a long time. Goes probably isn't a smug and superior tune twelve or thirteen years. Probably the memory of the details isn't super close. But what i remember is how funny it was and also how perfect it is as an exercise in a very very overused word which is voice. Yes yes it's like the perfect pitch of capturing this character's voice throughout the book is is really remarkable so so for those who haven't read the book and haven't seen the movie just in short is about a fourteen year old girl they mattie whose father is killed this is in the eighteen. Seventy s in arkansas so very much kind of frontier western novel but told from this fourteen year old girls perspective and she wants to avenge his death by going after the killer and she seeks to employ a federal marshal to help her with this task. And you know it's interesting that you say voice. Because my one problem and lauren here i i i feel like i just need to say this. No uncertain terms. Read the book before you see the cohn brothers. Phone buys hailee steinfeld in that film to my mind. She is maddie. she's never not going to be mattie. And matty can resist without her and lauren. I envy you that you will find your own mattie because you haven't seen the film you will hear your own version before you on here haley's and then after you've done both of these things he will come back on the podcast. Please send us. It's so interesting that you say that. Because i love the coen brothers and i really liked that movie. I saw a couple of times. But because i had read the book i i kind of felt like haley wasn't maddie and i. I thought she was doing a good job. But i could never get over the fact that she didn't match the one in my head. Wow so each one really ruins the other. Yes yes okay. No but i think john you did it the right way and lauren you will too. And that's all. I have to say about understood. But there are these things these cadences to matty's voice and it's so persuasive and it's so winning that i was working on some a writing project of my own after. Nfl myself wanting to write. You know she she. I mean i'm not even gonna say charles portis. Because i feel like just like he just like she's yes she writes in because it's also supposedly account that she's written and he is writing in the style of these women's accounts of history. He's giving legitimacy to that perspective from the time she writes in this voice. That is so winning that you just want to take it on. you know. i don't know. I want to write and speak like mattie from now on totally 'n things with an exclamation point very strategically she's strong influence. She is all right. So the other books that i read and lauren. I know that you read this too. So i'm eager to hear what what you think is clara and the sun by kazu ishiguro. I don't know how deep breath. I loved this book. I think that. Lauren you and i are both super fans which i feel like as an understatement of remains of the day which is another novel where the book and the movie are truly incredible separately as works of art but this book which rodica jones came on the podcast to talk about a month or so ago again from a very distinct voice. Which is that of a an artificial friend which is a kind of a creature who is developed at some point in the future to keep company for children. And i don't wanna say much more than that but you talk a little bit. About what what you thought of the book i mean i just. It was incredible old fashioned straightforward storytelling. Of course we are experiencing the world through. The eyes of clara is artificially created to have emotions that are adjacent to those of of a true human but so much more perfect than that. And i think it's a really incredible. God like indictment of of actual natural humanity that you know i just kept thinking when i was. I could never be as selfless as clara. I could never thinking clearly or at the thing about clara is that she's really gifted. She's not even the newest model of artificial friend but she's just so gifted in her perception and so. I think it's a a wonderful premise. For an author to set out for himself to tell the story of a real girl who is clara's eventual companion. You know through the eyes of someone who is just singularly adept at noticing things and perceiving human interactions and motions. If either of these things is true would you say the his intent seems to be to inspire us to be better or satirically to show us how bad we are. Oh i don't think at all it's it's to show us how bad we are. I don't think that the the humans are portrayed unsympathetically there. It's very realistic and relatable it's almost a parable the world is quite small that he draws very relatable these characters go through falling in love and growing up and growing pains and all those kinds of things that are very universal and certainly not pessimistic anyway. It's definitely inspiring and it. Just a as meditation on loneliness clara's designed to keep company and why we need that. It's a really interesting question of of why you know. Loneliness is something that needs to be addressed. And and it's it's a really great way of coming at the loneliness that we're all feeling have been feeling but in a universal way. We've always been lonely. It's beautiful storytelling. I guess the the parallel with true grit really is voice and the challenge that i think is shapiro set for himself or maybe one of the challenges is how do you create the interior already. The perspective of someone who isn't human and works of science fiction have done that before. But i don't think that he is. He's interested in that less from the point of view of technology and more from the point of view of humanity and he uses this deceptively. Simple language to articulate the way in which clara thinks and that to me also is mastery in itself and restraint. He doesn't show off in any way. He sticks to the rules that he sets out for himself. So clara never has the is overly complicated thoughts or expressions because she's not capable and so to kind of define for yourself meaning ishiguro. These are the rules. This is the world of this creature that i'm setting out for myself. This is what she can. And you know isn't is not capable of seeing and then to abide by those and to have that run throughout and yet also have character development. I think is just such an interesting talent and achievement pulls it off you both. Give them something to read this week. And i resent that. Well you know. That's that's usually the thing that you do that irradiating here to annoy one. Another all right. Lauren john let's run down. Titles again what did you re a red crusoes daughter by jane garden. I read the secret lives of turkey. Ladies dacia fila. And i read true grit by charles portis and clara and the sun by kazu. Grow remember there's more at ny times dot com slash books and you can always write to us at books at ny times dot com. I write back not right away. But i do. The book review. Podcast is produced by the greek pedro rossato from head. Stepper media with a major cyst for my colleague john williams. Thanks for listening for the new york. Times i'm panel.

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"If Not Us, Who?"

Broken Harts

29:19 min | 2 years ago

"If Not Us, Who?"

"Hi, I'm Ariel Casten Jonathan Strickland and together, we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs and failures and business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required. Making tough decisions. We'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Me a heart kids as they appeared online. This is a family sing along gen posted to YouTube back in two thousand thirteen devante is on the Bongo drum Abigail is holding a guitar but not playing and Jeremiah is shaking Morocco while Hannah dances off to the side there in a sunny room with a gleaming wood floor and the shelves behind them are packed with neatly stacked picture books. Happy times. Right. It certainly looks that way. Especially when devante pauses to give Hannah a hug is it spontaneous. Whereas the person behind the camera prompting him with his stern glance. We'll never know. We don't know when Jenin Sarah Hart decided they wanted children. Maybe they always wanted to be moms or maybe they just felt like kids were the next logical step years after they adopted six children Sarah would tell colleague that she wished she'd known. It wasn't mandatory to have a big family. She was the oldest of four kids. Jen was the oldest of three. We're piecing together the events that led Jenin Sarah from the early days together all the way to the edge of that one hundred foot cliff in California. How did they go from being just the two of them living in Minnesota working at a department store to a family of eight in less than three years? From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm just eat Harmon. And I'm Liz Egan. We've been looking into the story of the Hart family for the past six months in public and on Facebook. They looked like the perfect family fun loving joyful and wacky in the best way. But as we've learned sometimes perfect is the perfect cover up. In two thousand four when Jenin Sarah were in their mid twenties. Still living in Alexandria, still working at Herberger 's they took an fifteen year old foster daughter just to give some context this was the same year. Minnesota state Senator Michelle Bachmann, laid the groundwork for her twenty twelve presidential run on an anti gay platform, calling homosexuality personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement when thousands gathered on the steps the capital to rally for same sex marriage. She spoke out to a Christian television network or something that's happening in our schools. One of the reasons why I felt like I was called take up. This issue is because of the profound impact that this would have on every man every woman every child in the state of Minnesota because everyone thought this would only impact that one point three percent of our population that is a same sex individual again. Don't misunderstand. And I am not here. Bashing people who are homosexuals for lesbians who were by sexual who are transgender we need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with a very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life. It's not funny. It's sad. It's part of Satan. I think say this is gay. It's anything but gay. So this is the backdrop for the world in which the heart started to build their family. You already met Jordan Smith. She was only nineteen when she worked with Jen, and Sarah and her berkers our field reporter, Lawrence Miley talk to Smith about Jen. And Sarah's first foray into parenthood. They were one of my early role models for what like non traditional family could look like I was nineteen at the time the foster child he was probably fifteen. I remember one of them sharing with me a lot of like this girl is so difficult. She's awful. And that she was eating on the garbage is not like mean girl gossip, you know, like us. She's the worst. It didn't feel like they really had interest in developing her as a person and giving her the tools, she needed to be a successful adult. And I just felt so sorry for the girl. I wasn't really old enough to realize that lake either shooting parents. But even at the time, I just kinda was like this is a child she struggling like something's not right about this. Like is it your job to make her feel more confident than encourage her to have healthy habits? But you know, I also grew up in the midwest where I didn't see a lot of like rate, parental model happening. A girl were people still hit their kid in the nineties like. In the mid west and Minnesota, you became parents. I like twenty one, and let's be honest. You're you're immature like, okay. My brain's still developing in July twenty eight and now I have to develop this other human instead of focusing my energy on, you know, becoming adults I need to become. Herberger would have this like friends and family sale? And all to make counters were feeling the book with a lot of makeover for like from more business, and so Sarah in gen buying their foster daughter for one of the makeovers as kind of oh, let's bring you into our world a little bit, you know, late. Maybe this is something she would want to learn about. I was the only teenager working the counters. They wouldn't be fun to have her go if another teenage girl, so I did her makeover. And you know, I'd say like she had really pretty skin which she did. I remember that for some reason, and she was hunched over like holding herself in. I could tell she did not want to be there. I remember Jen and thera- mostly giant, interrupting an answering question or being like, she doesn't talk much. I remember being both very annoyed with the situation lake. We came into Wor on a day. We're not working and we're doing this nice thing and our author daughters being difficult and annoying. I don't remember her being difficult or annoying. I remember her being very insecure and unsure of herself and giant being very intimidating. I didn't feel a lot of empathy coming through like I remember that very clearly in being like. I feel sorry for this girl. After Channon Sara died in March. Their former foster daughter told the Seattle times that she never ate out of the garbage. She remembered the makeover she said, she was a tomboy back then and never were makeup. Which would explain her slouched posture that day with Jordan, the former foster daughter now in her twenties and preferring to remain. Anonymous also told the Seattle times has she remembers jet in Sarah, showing her pictures of the three young children. They were planning to adopt. She was thrilled Jenin Sarah had told her she was going to stay with them until she turned eighteen and now she's going to be a big sister. But that's not what happened. They were applying for the children the first three they had gone and visited them. And I remember being really excited. I didn't apply. A lot of critical thinking to the situation at the time. I mean, like if I had my now I'd be like you don't seem very excited with the child. You have how do you want three more? But mostly I remember hearing it like after I left Herberger. I'd here that like their Jen. They got their three kids like they're so happy. I remember vaguely hearing that they dropped the foster daughter off and like just abandoned her. I remember being like fuck cold blooded. Oh, gee excitement about getting adopted kids. Did you get this? They really wanted to be moms, or I got the sense that they wanted the validation being a foster parent didn't have the clout of having children, Mike. They wanna be like we have children that are ours versus a child here watching and do you mean validation as in? We're a real couple. We're a real, you know, where real family. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve the media or investigators. They're very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go on notice. But the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. Dear editor, this is only expecting if you do not print the cipher by the afternoon of Friday. First of August. I will go on a kill rampage Friday night L cruise around all weekend killing people in the night and move on to kill again. The best part of it is that when I die be reborn in paradise. And all that I have killed will become my slates. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app. Jennen Sarah dropped their foster daughter at therapist office and never return. She never heard from them. Again. She was moved to a different foster home. Her belongings were already there. She would not become a big sister. After all she told the Seattle times, she remembers feeling abandoned devastated. Two years later in two thousand six jet, and Sarah officially adopted those three siblings from the Texas foster system, Marcus than seven Hannah four and Abigail two on December twenty six twenty fifteen in a Facebook post, celebrating Abigail or abbey's twelfth birthday Jen wrote. She was the first of my children I ever held in my arms, not only is today her birthday. But it also marks the day. Sarah, I became mothers we flew to Houston, Texas, ten years ago on Christmas day to meet our first trio of children due to a plethora of issues that came up with our flight. And then finding the hotel had burned down. We wouldn't beat the children until the next day December twenty six two thousand five. We walked into the foster home a bundle of nerves and excitement. The foster mother called Abby from the upper level. This dainty little peanut walked out grabs. The railing walked down the stairs stood right at my feet and held out her arms as a gesture to be picked up lifted her and she mmediately nestled her head right into my chest with her tiny arms. Gripped around me genuine love boozed out of every pore of my body. I will never know what it's like to Bertha child or the feeling of holding your new board for the first time. But I imagine the feeling is much like what I experienced with Abby. We'll get more into the adoption process leader, but just to give you some quick background Marcus Hanna, an ABA gal fell into several categories that might have made them hard to please with the Dopp give families. They were black black children are over represented in foster care and less likely to be adopted out of it. And it can be more difficult to find him Leigh's willing to take on multiple siblings and Sarah had their work cut out for them. They were young they had no family in the area and overnight. They became mothers of three. Ten years later on the anniversary of the day. Jenin Sarah brought Marcus Hanna and Abigail home to Minnesota gen would revisit their first night as moms in a Facebook post. The post is accompanied by jen's profile picture Jannine, Sarah Hart, cheek-to-cheek their faces mostly hidden behind big sunglasses. Here's what she writes. And bear with us. This is long, but we want to give you a sense of how much Jen. Release shared on Facebook. A different kind of mother's day March third two thousand six with temperatures in the teens and in abundance of snow on the ground. I wondered what their reaction would be as we pay back and forth peering out the front windows, while clenching our phones in anticipation of their arrival. The three hour flight from Houston seemed like days nearly two years of our lives had been dedicated to making this moment reality, and then bam parenthood times three Jen continues. The lengthy post with rumination on their first day as parents all the challenges of a lesbian couple trying to break through barriers in a rural community in Minnesota just transformed into a story of hope and try out. The social worker pulled up in a silver sedan and out came three little humans that gifted us with motherhood. My heart pounded with pure love and the strength of a million drums as we embrace and welcomed them to their home for the first time to say, this was an unforgettable day would be an enormous understatement. It was unforgettable in all the ways we weren't expecting. We had no idea. What challenges we would be facing in the coming months years? I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like for child that had lived their entire life with inconsistency abuse and neglect to be swooped twelve hundred miles away to a new place with the promise of this time. It will be different. This is how the first twelve hours of motherhood was for us the youngest urinated anywhere, but the bathroom several times and fell down a flight of stairs, resulting in a bloody gash on her chin. The middle child pulled out chunks of hair and smeared feces on the wall and gorge yourself with food until she started choking and needed the Heimlich resulting in episodes of projectile vomiting. The oldest banged his head repetitively on a Rockwall until we were able to safely restrain him blood was involved. This was a result of not giving him a king size Tootsie roll that he requested at nine pm. It took hours to calm him and get him to a place where we could leave him in his room to sleep. We were physically and mentally obliterated by this time. We went to be absolutely terrified as a million thoughts. Ran through our minds as we drifted off to sleep. We were abruptly reminded that our day was far from over. Loud crashes. Banging in strange sounds slash voices. From above us resulted in us. Sprinting upstairs to find the eldest in a closet. He told us he was possessed by demons as he growled Claude and spoke in multiple voices while continuing to thrash bite and bang his head on the wall. My heart was breaking and I was terrified I was terrified for him. And it would be disingenuous if I didn't admit I was afraid of what he could do to others as well. Hours passed before we were able to get him to sleep that night. Just when it seemed like we could breathe again the youngest had an asthma attack in stopped breathing. A one AM ER visit followed. I didn't sleep at all for the first forty eight plus hours of parenthood. I cried a lot. What had we done? We had no experience with these kinds of things we question everything when the social worker called to check in after the first night, we relate everything the good the bad and ugly. Her response, just give them whatever they want. We were dumbfounded. That's it. That's the golden advice in that moment. I knew what to do. We could not give up on these kids before we were matched with these children. They were going to be separated and adopted into two different families with the oldest place in a residential treatment facility. How can a child even know what they want when they haven't ever been gifted with what they need if not us who. At twenty five years old. We didn't have any parenting experience under our belts. But we had boatloads of love compassion intelligence and the natural instincts to navigate these wild. And uncharted waters. There was no way on earth. We were going to toss these children back into an incredibly broken and abysmal foster care system. Here. We are one decade and three more kids later ten years ago today, we became mothers and began the grandest adventure of our lives. Through the spectrum of despair and utter joy, I give thanks to all of us who have joined this journey of the hearts, look what love can do com. Assist. In writing the next chapter with us. Love love love. Hi, I'm Ariel Casten Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs in failures in business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions we'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. The adoption records for Marcus Hanna and Abigail sealed. So it's hard to fact, check dens claims of health or behavioral issues, but there is no evidence that Abigail the youngest had asthma. We also can't verify whether Marcus was going to be placed in residential treatment. The sibling. Jen was referring to here may have been the older brother of the Davis's the second set of siblings adopted by the hearts kids. Sara Jen hadn't even heard of back in two thousand six. Maybe Jen ten years later was just getting the kids mixed up. There were six of them. After all every mom calls. Her kids another kids name at some point. But the night was so momentous for her one can't help but wonder if she was going for drama over truth. Can you imagine? If your mom posted something like this about you on Facebook. Remember at this point the heart kids were teenagers. Marcus was seventeen Hannah was fourteen and Abigail was thirteen. Maybe they never saw their mom's Facebook posts. But if they did they would have been old enough to be completely mortified. Janet, Sarah must have gotten into the groove because not long after they welcomed their first three kids a picture of their new family of five appeared on an adoption agency website they were smiling. Everyone looked happy. This time Jenin Sarah were seeking up to three more kids of any ethnicity up to eight years old two years later in the spring of two thousand eight they took in three more foster kids five year old devante and his younger siblings. Jeremiah four and Sierra three Davis siblings were also from Texas and they'd been removed from their mother's home in Houston. According to court records, she was a crack cocaine abuser and was forbidden contact with the kids the records show that Jeremiah had tested positive for cocaine at birth and the kids mom had tested positive for cocaine after Sierra was bored. They'd been living with their paternal aunt Priscilla solicited for five months. She'd moved from three. Room apartment to a five bedroom place to make room for them. But then one day a CPS worker made a spontaneous visit to their aunt's home and found their mom babysitting. The consequences were swift. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra were removed from their aunt's home and put into foster care Shawna. Jones sell esteems attorney Sela Stein had been called into work for an extra shift and needed childcare in a pinch. She's trying to keep her job. So she scrambled for childcare called their mom who she says was clean at the time Jones met the family ten years ago. But she still remembers their case, here's how she described it to Lauren. The father's rights terminated because he had alcohol problems and the mother had drug problems. And so that's why their rights were terminated which I don't take she with that. That instance, that was the prudent thing to do by always take issue with this case is the harsh manner in a way that they dealt with Masella scene. There was nothing in her background whatsoever. Probably never even had as much as driving ticket. And to this day. It just seems so strays I don't what is the rush. I do think that race plays a part thing. Absolute ethnic racist playing apart. You know, people are sitting in the audience thinking that okay? Why does the judges rule that way? I would think if I was trying to stop the kid, and you had a family member that wanted to adopt them. I personally with think that's great. Why should I try to interfere with family members adoption of their family? Right. That's kind of like the ACLU right then. And there that this is a person you've don't they can operate in the best interest. Let's pause here for a second on that point. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra headed aunt who wanted them she really wanted them. But instead they were sent to live with Jen, and Sarah Hart who were soon to be under investigation for child abuse. Yes. You heard that? Right. We'll get into more on that later. But first we want you to know a little more about the heart children who they really were as best as we can piece it together from Jin's Facebook posts and our conversations with people who knew them. I there was Marcus the one with the big floppy hair. He loved to read and devoured twilight in one sitting. He wanted to change the world one Christmas, according to his mom, he asked for a world without cancer. Hannah was the spunky one with a closed mouth smile. Her front teeth were missing jen's Facebook post described as dancing and singing once she told her mom she couldn't concentrate on subtraction. Because she had a song stuck in her head. She must have been a courageous kid too. Because she would later jump out of her bedroom window and run to the neighbor's house task for help next up. Devante whose face you might remember from a photo that went viral in two thousand fourteen devante was the boy hugging cop tears streaming down his face. He was known for wearing a free hug sign wherever he went. He loved animals and hated Donald Trump. He appeared to have a special bond with Jen. He may have gotten special treatment as a result. Abigail known as abbey had big Brown eyes more glasses. She loved lime green yoga and exploring the wilderness. She had homemade strawberry shortcake on her birthday, all the heart kids were arrestingly beautiful. But when you look at pictures of Abigail face, you feel like you can see the elegant woman, she might have grown up to be. Jeremiah war glasses too. They called him the J man, he was stoic a survivor. Jen said he wasn't expected to live more than a few days when he was born what with all the drugs coursing through his system. Instead he made it to fourteen and last, but not least there was Sierra. She was another animal lover she adored her kittens Sebastian and pulled him around the house in a cardboard box in one of jen's final. Facebook pictures, we see her holding one of her brothers hands backs to the camera. She's wearing a bathing suit and her shoulder blades are so pronounced. They look like little wings. In the past several months seen, and I have seen hundreds of pictures of the heart kids, but we only have a handful of recordings of their voices. Here's one from two thousand twelve you can hear the kids giggling in the background and jen's voice as she hands. Jeremiah, an earthworm. Yes. E. I did. Can you try not to throw him time? He's turning kits me. Remember moves you. Up next time on broken hearts. Them the right over his head. It doesn't look like it. But that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. Noble war. Nice. That Jen was good. She was good at the time. We're thinking while phenomenal parenting. You're not exploiting your children. We learned now that there was some abuse charges in Minnesota or fleeing to Oregon, so there's probably more of a reason why she didn't want to go on national TV you seen jen's Facebook. Gen loves Sarah to insane degree. Broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy alkyl, Lawrence Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief, Julie shed and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh theme special. Thanks, jen. Lance have questions for us about this podcast reach us on Twitter at glamour MAG for access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts. If you like what you heard. Leave us a review. If you haven't checked out my new series the end of the world with Josh Clark. The now's a great time to start the holidays are over the doldrums of winter had begun. And there's no better time to explore existentialist dread than right now. But wait, there's more to the end of the world in that. Yes. The series is about existential risks. But it's also about hope the threats that are coming our way that could wipe humans right out of existence. Could also be just the thing that makes us band together. In a way that humanity never has before in the end of the world. I take you on a journey across time and space from the moment and asteroid collided with earth and set off a chain of events that wiped out the dinosaurs to the post biological future where we live in a digital format. If we don't already we'll explore big questions like whether we're alone in the universe and exactly how artificial intelligence could take control of our world from us. It also has beautiful score. In cinematic sound design. So it's an adventure for your mind. Which is just the thing to snap. You out of the winter blahs all ten of the end of the world with Josh Clark are available for you to binge now on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you get podcasts.

Sara Jen Jennen Sarah Facebook Minnesota Jeremiah Marcus Hanna Jenin Abigail Sarah Hart apple Hannah iheartradio Houston Devante Disney Sierra the Seattle times Ariel Casten Harley Davidson
"There Were Good Times"

Broken Harts

35:17 min | 2 years ago

"There Were Good Times"

"You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. You're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. A November eight two thousand eighteen our field reporter Lawrence Miley made the four hour drive from San Francisco to the Mendocino cliff where the heart family died. I'm sitting here at the remorseful on the edge of the bluff, there's a wooden cross and on we honor. And remember you love from your Dopp brothers and sisters from around the world adoptees deserve better. Hashtag adoptive voices. They're six stuffed animals lined up in a row a lion. Bear a monkey another bear tau bedraggled teddy bear there. And in front of the stones that have the kids names on them to Bonn Tae Hannah Abigail, Marcus Sierra, Jeremiah. It's right on the edge of the bluff year, there's just the sheer straight drop. In video she captured that day, you can see the makeshift memorial. She described it's a colorful pile of rock formations fresh flowers and teddy bears covered in a thin coating of dust. There's a wooden sculpture of a heart with wings bearing the handwritten inscription. Please take care of yourselves and others lives are not for the taking the teal. Green sea churns blow. As we sit down to record. This final episode. It has been eight months since the crash in that stretch of time. I just dean have found out that I'm expecting my second child and now weeks away from giving birth. It's been surreal to watch the rough sketch of human life take form while also contemplating the lives of six children who will never get to grow up. Some days we feel like we know Marcus Hanna devante Abigail, Jeremiah. And Sierra that in telling this story, we are honoring them at other times. We feel dirty as if accounting the gruesome but incomplete details of their short lives makes us grave robbers for Lauren who has spent countless hours reaching out to the people closest to the heart family and his endured her share of slammed doors. It's been an especially strange journey is coming up here. I felt like this sense of dread as I got closer and closer to this area. It's been so many months, I've been looking into every last lead that I could find calling so many people some who are to me many wooden requesting all these documents. It's been so much. Six months down and to actually come to the spot where the story both began for me and ended for them. It just so much anxiety about it honestly in sort of feeling of dread about it. In April two thousand nineteen a full year after the crash. A formal coroner's inquest will be released to the public at that time jury will convene to decide whether this was a murder by one person a conspiracy to murder by more than one person or an accident. And then in so many ways it will be over. From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Justin Harman, and I'm Liz Egan. Darah lot of people whose voices we tried. But were ultimately unable to include in this podcast in November two thousand eighteen over the course of three consecutive days and after several months of outreach Lawrence spoke with Sarah's father, Alan ganglia. He decided not to go on the record. We also reached out to Sara's brother, Matt. But did not hear back jen's parents. And her brother Christopher Hart declined to speak to us. Her other brother, Jonathan says, his older sister has not been in his life since two thousand ten and wanted only to make a few things clear in an Email to Lorant on September twenty fifth two thousand eighteen Jonathan wrote one thing I would like to clarify for myself, and my family is that Jen was not ousted from the family for being gay. I have been openly gay even in high school, and it never affected me living in my mom or dad's home, he continued. If anything all this time, my family did nothing but try to help and understand Jen not work against her two months after he sent that Email Jonathan spoke with us over the phone. He doesn't want his voice on this podcast. But he gave us permission to relate the following. Nobody has done anything to warrant this. He says all I have seen my whole life is her getting my parents, grandparents anybody jumping through hoops to give her what she wanted. And that's all I can say people loved her. They really stuck up for her. It really hurts me when this stuff gets reflected on my parents that really hurts my feelings. My mother is wonderful, and she did put up with a lot from my sister. We all did. Sources close to the gambler told us the family had not been in touch with Sarah for a long time. But it was Sarah's choice to cut off contact the distance. One says had nothing to do with them rejecting. Sarah's sexuality. Back in August, two thousand eighteen Lauren connected with Hannah Scott a professor of criminology at the university of on -tario institute of technology who has spent a lot of time studying the psyche of women who commit heinous crimes. In addition to her work is a criminologist Victimologists Scott is the author of one of the only known studies on female family annihilates or women who killed our children, and or their spouses, she said she wasn't surprised to hear that Jenin Sarah fiercely controlled who had access to them and the kids she was however surprised by the way, Jen used Facebook to maintain a facade of a million bliss in the case of use of person. And it's clear that either one or both of the parents was family were abusive, the outward impression management using social media is kind of an interesting twist. Although most people now are using social, but nobody. Really looked at the abuse of partner and how they negotiate their identity. We assume that people who are are abusive bows in their of lives, but also in their public lives, and we know this now not to be true. Many people who are abusive in their private lives are well respected in their communities and not considered abusive in this is problematic for us. It's inconsistent. And I think is human beings we like to see consistency. If you want to continue to abuse and have access to victims in your family, these acts of private violence have to be managed because if you do anything outside the house that might alert people to that you're abusive, you may lose your -bility to continue to. Or in this case, I suspect loose-knit Bill to raise the children in a way that they felt was appropriate and not need active by other people. And in when we say about way, certainly we can understand all parents understand that they should raise their children in a way that they feels appropriate. Scott says that female annihilates are vastly understudied demographic. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that we as a culture have a hard time believing that a woman or women would kill their own children started to go through the literature. We had discussions and we pursued this idea as women in criminology, which is largely a male dominated disciplined with a lot of male focus in patriarchal values. We started understand. There was something that was missing when reverse writings was looking at female serial killer, which at the time when I started my writing way back in the day didn't exist, according to many people. And so I spent a lot of times how Jane those now. Thank yes. They do exist. Exist large numbers, the monikers that pretend to to women broken zero en mass homicide giggling granny's things like that murdering moms these are very sexist than we compared to the names that the men are given we tend to make light of the fact that women being Gaijin these ads and as often we go Pursley, we don't take them. Seriously. It's something to keep in mind. When considering that cryptic note from Minnesota child welfare worker after the first incident of abuse was reported back in two thousand eight the problem. It said is these women look normal. Though Hannah Scott has never seen a case quite like this one that continued abuse across several states makes it unique and there has been little research on same sex domestic violence. She has seen incidents of women who killed their families with what might sound like a counter intuitive motivator. Love the woman and her children are often separated and living in a separate welling or have left with mouse and are living in another place even temporarily they killed her children because they couldn't see them being raised by the opposite parent, for example, or they couldn't see themselves actually sustaining these children now that they were alone. We haven't found convincing evidence that Jenin Sarah were headed toward a break-up. Or as we explored in the previous episode that there was some catastrophic future event on the horizon, but their relationship had been strained over the years. They had spent months of time apart gen would often travel with some or all of the children while Sarah would stay home to work. Sara was this whole breadwinner and money was tight. Gen wants emailed a friend that she and Sarah express themselves in different ways. She wrote for quite some time. I have felt very under appreciated and taken for granted in our relationship and at times on loved. While I know deep in my heart how much she loves me. She is just horrible about showing it we are complete opposites in this regard. The Email continued I never miss an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to me. And that I love them. As a mom. I have felt that I've been raising the kids on my own. She admits this to while she loves them with all her heart. She has not been fully present with me or the kids. The last known footage of Sarah Hart is of her leaving Coles at five twenty four PM on March twenty third two thousand eighteen three days before the crash and mere seven minutes before child protective services arrived at their home. She's wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt pulled over her head and is cutting her cellphone. It's impossible to know what was going through her head or if she knew what was about to happen. It's impossible to know what she and Jen did or didn't talk about over the course of the next few days. But Hannah Scott says the unimaginable might have seemed well logical to these women could be overwhelmed or not necessarily experiencing mental illness. In some cases, homicide union the week ill comfortable saying, it can be very rational choice to some people even they're like circumstances. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve the media or investigators. They're very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go unnoticed, but the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. Dear editor, this is only speaking if you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Friday, first of August that will go on a kill rampage Friday night L cruise around all weekend killing people in the night and move on to kill again. The best part of it is that when I die be reborn in paradise. And all that I have killed will become my slates. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen and subscribe at the podcasts or on the iheartradio app. When Lauren met with Mendocino county sheriff Tom Allman, he reiterated what he said many times before he is no longer viewing this incident as an accident. He holds out very little hope that devante will be found alive. Hope I guess I have hope do I have any realistic hope knowing the fact that there's been no indication he's alive should cause someone to say, well, he was in a car. But I have no problem of someone bringing devante into our office today and saying listen devante is alive. And well, he was just hiding out. I'd give the kid of of and say, we've never met as very nice to meet you sheriff Allman and his team have spent the past eight months trolling the coastline for the missing children examining the evidence, they do have and preparing for the upcoming coroner's inquest all says an inquest of this nature hasn't happened in Mendocino county in over fifty years. But. According to the law its function is to inquire into and determine the circumstances manner. And cause of all violent sudden or unusual deaths over the course of two days in April. A jury of twelve citizens will rule what the cause of death was for all the bodies found at the crash site. Sheriff omen says he hopes to livestream the event in order to put the questions to bed once and for all job. Due to find out the truth of what happened. We have gathered a team of experts that will be making sure that what we're going to say the Enquist is a hundred percent true accurate, and a coroner's inquest is going to in my opinion, give evidence that will shock the consciousness of people who are following his case. What what can you give not that? I'm not gonna talk about any of that. I'm gonna tell you that we're not on a fast time line to throw. This information out right now, this will be a water cooler conversation throughout our nation for those who were critical of how long it took to positively ID Hannah's remains almond says DNA simply isn't something you can match overnight. I think that TV has presented a false narrative to viewers regarding how easy it is to get the compared to fingerprints fair prints were really good. If you know what fingerprint comparative, I've taken I'm going to guess, hundreds of thousands of burglar reports were fingerprints were obtained. But if you don't have anybody to compare them to okay. So you have fingerprints Indiana's same way, if we have DNA from a foot, and we all right, gosh, we have the results if we don't have anybody to compare them to then it's same as a fingerprint. These he's children were adopted, and we didn't have a lot of information. So it wasn't an easy. Tacit has the biggest hold up in. This case has been trying to get information from the adoption agencies. The fact that long forcement has been stymied. Ed finding out information regarding the adoption records and the. Count ability of foster parents should turn a lot of people whether or not this was a crime or an accident when it happened. I don't think laws. Worthless should have been told. No by adoption organizations said we're not going give you that information prior to this case happening. I had no idea the amount of confidentiality that adoption agencies focused while I don't want to disrupt somebody's life with Dr records when a death happens. I would have to ask myself. Why would it adoption agency or government agency fee? So determined to keep information private so how much of what happened to the her children can be put on the agencies tasked with making sure youngest citizens are being looked after properly Dr doors, Houston, the interim director at the Illinois state University School of social work points to the lack of interstate communication between all parties. She also. Eagles at the state of Texas from where all six children were adopted as keen to terminate parental rights and collect placement fees from the government on average. She says a family the hearts could stand to collect twelve hundred dollars a month for each adopted child. We have found that over the past decade the hearts have taken roughly two hundred seventy thousand dollars from the state of Texas taxpayer dollars that are being spent to support children. Why can't we then expect that families would be expected to lease do an annual check? And maybe go for the first few years ago to some of the support groups. I was surprised at find that Texas essentially has a standard of atomatic -ly, preparing the paperwork for adoption. It makes it difficult to envision the effort is really being put into family reunification. Shen if from day one that is the policy to begin to prepare children for adoption, Dr Houston says once in interstate adoption is completed the state of origin is no longer responsible for an adopted child wellbeing with Texas allowing the children adopted in Minnesota, they essentially are evolved of all of those responsibilities is now rack that the hands of the receiving state, frankly, there really has not been movement in any real meaningful way to do a national adoption protection registry. Where information is shared Hannah. Scott, the author of the study on an island. There's calls these interstate disconnect linkage blindness a term coined by criminal Justice expert, Stephen Edgar my still do have trouble in the United States. Finding individuals who both move. Frequently and him or commit serial crime, sometimes cities, don't even time other. But state certainly have more difficulty talking to each other each day as its own set of laws. We know that there were eight people who reported to the place that there was a use of situation. This happened over ten years in three states and once the family came tactic. They moved to another state this stop the process of investigation one St. and allowed them reprieved to some degree in the new states that they had moved to because the states cannot talk to each other cases of child abuse. Like this can go into -tective as long as the family continues to say. April Dinwiddie, the former executive director of the Donaldson adoption institute agrees that this story is should serve as a nationwide. Wakeup call. I can't for families to adopt it transracial in. And I I talked about that case being a cautionary tale of how broken the system can be. And how important it is for us all to be taking care of ourselves and doing well. And and getting the help that we need and getting the help for ourselves and our children, and I talked about it at another sort of gathering of professionals some were treasury adoptive parents. And and there's a lot of head paying and a lot of tears and people are failing. But I hope that just translates into more action and more is wide open with some of the real challenges that the system faces and quite frankly that that people face, look, I didn't know the hearts, I don't I don't know what drills these women. To to do to Dopp to whatever. But like there was something clearly wrong there too. And even those people who do such things need to have some kind of care and support as well. White like, they just don't get erased either. There's mental health issues in all of this that need to be addressed. That clearly were not ours is found like when I talked to friends and mothers in particular. The everyone has something to say about this case, everyone, honestly, read something about their own life into this case and feels guilty about that. And even you know does like a mom his biological child. And she was just like, yeah. That case just made me look in the mirror and realize how much just utter power you have over young children, and how just guile list, they are you're all they have in those early years, and it made me almost scared of my own power that I have a parent. There's so many layers so many layers. The power of being a parent is something we rarely talk about in our daily lives. But it's something most of us with kids understand in our bones. Sometimes when I took my two year old in at night. He recently graduated from sleeping in a crib to a twin size. He gives me this look like I'm gonna get out of this bed. And I give him another one. That says don't you dare? And he doesn't he doesn't there? What is strange influence to have over another person? But what if I pushed it a little further? What if I told him that something bad would happen to him? If he got out of bed. What if and this is honestly hard for me to say out loud? What if I held him down until it hurt? How long would you stay in? There would you love me any less or would his devotion to me become stronger. More desperate would he wonder what he could do to make it? Go back to the way it used to be back to when I would line his little bit without a blanket and cuddle him until he foes sleep, even though I'm. Impossibly pregnant, and it hurts my back. How much would his mind go into overdrive trying to get that feeling and that dynamic back, and how would he process that nearly imperceptible shift years later? As Justin has been transitioning her sweet flaxen-haired two year old from crib to a twin bed. I've spent the past eight months, wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm moving closer to the opposite end of the parenting spectrum. My oldest is almost eighteen almost Marcus age. If all goes, according to plan, she'll be attending college next fall. I think she's ready whether or not I'm ready is another story. But I'll say goodbye to her knowing that my husband, and I did our best to give her the tools she'll need to be successful on her own. She has a strong moral, compass. She knows what she deserves. And how to ask for it. She knows more about the battle of Gettysburg than I ever did. And she also knows not to stick a fork and a toaster. I share this because I suspect Jen, and or Sarah knew their kids weren't as well equipped for adult hood as they should have been at the very least. They had hardly any experience interacting with other people their own age. This supposed to scare Jenin, Sarah. Even though they were the ones who put their kids in this position in the first place who held him down in way, similar to the one. Justin, just described. I think the best thing you can do is give your kids firm ground under their feet, and the heart kids never really had that not as babies not when they were adopted not even in the moments before they died. I'm Aaron Casten. I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs in failures in business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the metal entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions. We'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. You'll remember that back in may when we first started reporting the story Lauren went to woodland Washington there the hearts neighbor Dana DeKalb took her to see where the family lived together. Lauren and Dana waded through the knee, high prairie grass to get to the blue split level home next door when I was up at daynuss house in Washington. I asked the dekalb's of a walk over to the heart property, the agreed. And we walked down the gravel driveway and the cut into the knee high grass up to the light Blue House. A FedEx delivery notice was still stuck on the front door dated a month after the crash Dana I peeked through slits in the blinds. The living room was sparse. Except for a few chairs inside the garage were Christmas, tree box and electric, piano. Some Star Wars puzzles in some ways I felt like I was walking onto the set of a play after the production had wrapped all around. I recognized. Things from jen's Facebook posts there in a shed was lawnmower. Devante ridden with a stock of grass in his mouth like the image of farmer. Joe? There was the temporary greenhouse now in a heap that Abigail had stood in front of smiling with a chicken on her shoulder. I spotted an ornament hanging from a tree and walked over to look at it. It was a ceramic Volkswagen hippie van with flower power details which was so early spot onto the image of the family projected and the way they died. I wondered if some prankster had hung it. Or if the heart sad. I turned it over and saw the price tag was still stuck on the bottom. Ross dress for less seven ninety nine. Walking around the huge yard. I couldn't help. But question my role as a reporter. And all this certainly I was trust passing a both the property and in this family story, I hope that it was right to be here. Looking for any clues as to why those six kids were no longer year. The hunting feeling was nothing compared to daynuss. She stuck an unwinnable loop. Should she have called CPS sooner? Wasn't it that very phone call that said into motion the events that ended with a Yukon over a cliff? Each time. The conversation turns the subject daynuss voice gross thick with grief. If she call earlier, she wonders with the outcome be the same. Who knows? She says who could have guessed that. Dana and both had a question. Just what did it look like on a daily basis inside that house? Dana said, something that stuck in my mind. You know, I guess I wanna believe that. There was good times. But it wasn't constant a gli after all of our research after so many months of digging for certain facts this remains one of the hardest things to come to terms with. There were good times. It wasn't constant ugly. Jen, heart loved her kids and she killed them these realities. Coexist, we know this because we've seen the pictures we've watched joy filled videos, zippy Lomax doesn't wanna share with the public. At least not yet. We've read hundreds of emails texts and direct messages. We spoke into their friends and families for hours on end. We also know this because this story has made us X. Avait the darkest part of our own minds and address issues thoughts and behaviors we've neatly packed away as unfit or not for public consumption. The story of the Hart family was never going to end. Well, as one person close to them put it I've always known. I've always felt something. It's unfortunate that it happened. But I don't think that there's anybody out there that could have stopped it from happening. They had no support system. They had no contingency plan. They distance themselves from their families kept friends at an arm's length preferably on the other side of screen and close their blinds, unconcerned neighbors when schools social services the medical community and the festival community asked questions they were able to use their white privilege to foster doubt and convince people they were normal parents when anybody got too close, Jen, and Sarah withdrew they canceled plans or relocated or move the conversation to Facebook where Jen could control the narrative this was their choice. In the end, they were alone and they made so many mistakes unforgivable mistakes. Gen and Sarah Hart were in awe of Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah. And Sierra they also each in her own way, stripped their six adopted children of their agency there dignity and the futures. They deserved. At best. You might call these women anti heroes at worst. They were monsters. But neither is the whole story because what they actually were is even harder to accept. They were both. If you suspect to child is being abused. Call one eight hundred four a child that's one eight hundred numeral four A C H I L D or visit child help dot org to find out how to report your concerns. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reach us on Twitter at glamour, amac or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy uncle Lawrence. Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief, Julie shed and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve media or estimators, very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go on notice. But the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and fragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. A man who wore a mediaeval style executioner's hood, please and baffled. The media seems to crave publicity. He's letters and Ramsden's papers and bully subject stated, I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it. Here. We are fifty years to the first sodium killing in today's world of friends, the old cases are being solved who doesn't wanna know how it turns out. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen as subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app.

Jen Sarah Hart Devante Abigail Hannah Scott Justin Harman Lauren iheartradio apple reporter Gen Facebook murder Marcus Hanna Jeremiah Jonathan Strickland Dopp Lawrence Miley Mendocino county Jenin Joe McCormick
"My God, There's Six of Them"

Broken Harts

28:29 min | 2 years ago

"My God, There's Six of Them"

"Killers. Don't make any effort to involve media or best Gators. They're very secretive. They don't wanna tension. They almost want their crimes to go on notice. But the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. A man who wore a mediaeval style executioner's hood who has police and baffled the media. He seems to crave publicity. He's sent letters and Ramsden newspapers. And the belief subject stated, I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it. Here. We are fifty years to the first sodium killing in today's world of friends IX, the old cases are being solved who doesn't wanna know how it turns out from the creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster the zodiac killer. Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app. We've talked about how Jenin Sarah Hart met each other. And how they quickly adopted six kids we've talked about how Jen curated an identity for the family on social media and at music festivals. And we've talked about how the hearts lived. Now, we're going to talk about how they died. This is hard stuff, obviously. And we've spent a lot of time thinking about it. What happened in the week leading up to the hearts five hundred sixty one mile trip from Washington to California. And when Jen arrived at the edge of the cliff what made her keep her foot on the gas. From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Liz Egan. And I'm Justin Harman. We're going to check back in with Bruce and Bana DeKalb who were the hearts neighbors in woodland Washington. You'll remember they're the ones who were woken up in the middle of the night by Hannah Hart. Shortly after the hand in they bought blinds and never ever opened never clues for four. So. You couldn't see in the house. You couldn't see in their car. They go from the house to the car and from the car to the house, literally single file, and it was like kind of at a fast clip almost like running. Jennifer would get out and opened the doors then they would get out and single file to the us. I was hoping to see Hannah again as I was hoping to get it to her that you're always welcome Michael no matter what Phil free to come here or have her give me a signal. You know that she health. I wanted to let any of the kids know, the, you know, they need how just gimme the not because I just never felt comfortable about what I was observing. That's Dana who still teared up when talking about the hearts, nearly two months after they died, even though the sheriff's deputy had told day-night wasn't illegal to not let kids play outside. She still had a bad gut feeling about the family. In fact, she vowed to keep watch on the comings and goings of their cars on anything. She could decipher from the house with the blinds drawn tightly shut. She made sure to take notes of each new. Visit devante would make to their house for months. Dana had only gotten tiny tidbits. Devante clipped, greetings when she tried to intersect him in the driveway on garbage runs. But now finally little by little devante was opening up. We have to take our garbage cans to street, and it's a long ways in. So I would watch for the kids has I wanted to try to have a conversation with many of them, you know, but I could never get him to talk to me. And I never saw Hannah one time devante, and I waited for him caught up with him and I talked to him, but he wouldn't answer me. Riley. We went to split. I said, well, you know, the day because yes, ma'am, that is all off from the hallway of the driveway. He got back into the house. And if I saw Jennifer scolding, she went inside and left him standing out rate. And my first reaction. My God was he just aren't trouble for talking to me. And then from that day on we never saw take the garbage. They did it in the night. I thought okay, obviously, there's something going on that they've been instructed not speak with us. That day forward divine team. He was the only kid at the six that was ever outside doing work. He was raking leaves or calling things one day. I sat watched he carried ten bags of soil from the front of the bar. And I kept thinking my God, there's sex of even the Hannity two tiny. There's three boys in Marcus was way bigger on tape. And so it blew my mind. And I watched that thinking eventually I'm gonna see that. It only devante when you told me that the kids chose to live out in the country wanted become so sufficient, then I would expect to see kids out in the yard planting or enjoying the property e-e-e-e-no. If you wanna live like this you enjoy it. And so it wasn't adding up. Gutting staint still at yarn. You talked about it for I was obsessed with she was obsessed with it. I watched their comings and goings a new win Sarah had a day off. Stopped to sensually because I just couldn't let it go. Aside from the few brief conversations in the driveway. The dekalb's felt the hearts were avoiding them. But that changed on Thursday, March fifteenth two thousand eighteen when devante approached Bruce who was working on his truck and asked for tortillas. It was a simple request like asking for a Cup of sugar or a stick of butter and Bruce was happy to help that same day over on Facebook. Jen was celebrating the ninth anniversary of devante Sierra and Jeremiah's official adoption date. She posted six black and white pictures of the kids grinning and wearing cute hats. We won't read the whole status update. It's a long one too. But the lions are about to hear pretty poignant considering what was about to happen. And considering that devante might have been asking Bruce for food at the very moment. Jen type these words I am a better human in every possible way for knowing these children. They have been my greatest teachers, contrary to the common notion that we can't choose our family. We absolutely can we choose by loving and that's worth celebrating every damn day. Dana Bruce weren't friends with Jen on Facebook. In fact, they had no idea she was active on social media until after she died on Friday, March sixteenth two thousand eighteen around nine AM the answer to knock on their door. There was devante again asking for bread this time. Dana was the one who gave him the food shouldn't have bread. So she gave him tortillas instead the first night. I didn't think anything when he came back. I was like that's weird. Okay. He would kind of watch down the road watch down the road, you know, but he was the only here this long as he needed to be or. Never came in the rain. No, go never came. When not step what I'd say to me in any. It's raining, and he'd be like he was always really a hurt. But then when he came back Friday night, it's like, wait a minute. I just give you thirty tortillas. Specifically, I gotta take stock and just, you know, size him a-. A. He was always dressed in baggy or close rubber boots and longer. Sleaze. You know, I mean in March when start coming over here, it's still wet and cold his shoulders super small in comparison to his head. I am little shoulders Hughes. Smaller? He was really thin arms roads because my wrist dollar you five four with he taller than you. Around. My height was fall. The next day around five PM devante was back. He wanted more food, Bruce and Dana tried to get him to stay and talk. Dana was determined to collect information. She could share when she called child protective services again. Remember, the first time she spoke to them after her dad reported the hearts, she was told. There was nothing they could do to help. That's when it was like, okay. We gotta get details. So every time he came over. I would ask him a little more in a little more. You know, I it was just about playing outside, you know, where you are allowed to play outside at your other house than it was what about school? Meanwhile, Jen continued to post about devante on Facebook. He was one of her favourite subjects we know that already four days after his first visit to the dekalb's. She shared a picture where you can only see his eyes Brown smiling. The bottom of his face is obscured by tray full of dirt and seedlings the post rates we currently have six hundred flowers slash vegetables growing in the living room before their move to the little greenhouse. She goes on to say that the kids are quote reading their environmental biology books out loud to each other. And to the plants. It sounds like a cozy scene. Serial killers. Don't make any effort to involve that we do or best caters. They're very secretive. They don't want to tension. They almost want their crimes to go on notice. But the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. Dear editor, this is only speaking if you do not printed cipher by the afternoon of Friday first of August. I will go on to kill rampage Friday night L cruise around all weekend killing people in the night and move on to kill again. The best part of it is that when I die reborn in paradise. And all that I have killed. We'll become my slates. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac killer. Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app. On Tuesday March twentieth. Devante returned to the dekalb's house twice. Although he's still wouldn't come inside. He was at least more forthcoming than he'd been on previous visits. As to how he was able to stick over here. He told me they are very observant. Now, I've learned that Jennifer was Damer a video gamer on computers. And so he came over when she was probably gaming or he would come over late at night when they were probably asleep. Sarah was never home. I don't think when he made his trips over her job. She was either gone to work or it was late enough. That would probably be in bed. This made sense while Sarah was working long hours. Kohl's Jen was running a guild of video game enthusiasts sometimes dominated group chats to the point where one dubbed her a stone cold narcissist. So it seems like there wasn't a whole lot of supervision happening in the heart house and the family life. Devante described to the dekalb's bore little resemblance to the Rosie utopia. Jan described to her fans. Withholding food as punished he would save over teenagers we act out. And so we get punished in in that way. And Dana said, there's nothing you could ever do that would warrant someone taking food away from you. I don't care what it is. Degree. He he did say were teenagers alad trying to claim there was some sort of caused. Yeah. Or maybe they thought that there was a 'cause you know, trying to make it like it was normal somewhat. But obviously it wasn't just to recap. Devante showed up at the dekalb's on March. Fifteenth sixteenth seventeenth twentieth. And twenty first he showed up for the last time on March twenty second started asking for cured me and fixtures. Peanut butter six packages are tortillas in apples in the. He goes and donuts, and he kinda looked and I said, no, no junk food, all you know, you say specifically cured meats, and he told his non perishables even non perishables can't have anything that's Rosen or frigerator. It was like is he gonna run away. They're like a moment that you felt the hitch change of dislike I'm not gonna be guarded about this anymore. I'm just telling you being of us. Yeah. That was on Wednesday. When he first started telling as a little more about abuse in than asking us. Please. Don't call the cops told us that everything has told you was true. The things by mom told you just to make you happy. And it was just like, oh, God, I totally bought into it. And I was just like. Just kill me. I said, okay. So why did she run away that night? 'cause my mom was abusing. It's just like. Too much. Head started out just as you know meal here or there, but now as long periods of time, and then he said serious do not go along with it. But she is now. You know, I just felt like okay now, I haven't off to give somebody's attention. On March twenty second two thousand eighteen Jen made her final Facebook post. It was a thirty second video of a pair of ducklings one yellow one black. We see the duck splashing together in a bowl of water cuddling in someone's arms. Someone who is white and wearing a gray sweatshirt, then the ducks are balancing on the back of a rabbit and a cat and finally climbing over a bowl filled with geodesy starfish and shells in the background. We see a woman with long Brown hair, wearing a blazer and a t-shirt probably Sarah on her way to work. It's a peaceful domestic scene and the last frame says happy spring in Jonty fund, the caption cuteness overload alert, these spring equinoxes babies have waddled right into our hearts so much joy in new life. One hundred forty two likes. Eighty five comments many of which were posted after the hearts died. On Friday morning of March twenty third Dana DeKalb culture protective services to report all of the information. She had collected about Jenin, Sarah Hart officials showed up within a couple of hours. But by then Dana thought every second counted CPS had been contacted in gone out to see them. When I'm here. But I can't find you the I'm up across the street is a Bank of mailboxes been. Okay. We'll turn around now wash for you. And then I'll tell you turn now. So I'm literally standing you're watching for her to go by and I see Jennifer down the ill. Thinking. Maybe the kids were home alone. CPS could've been here by now. So I watch Jim for coming up the driveway and I'm like low their whole. So I totally when you come to drive out of the right? She came to my house. So she pulled up I might know given signal go back I just motion 'cause I didn't wanna yell fixed door to door as I got out the right way. And so she got back in her car went store. She wasn't there. Very long. I watched relief. Now, the cave of this. But. Even if you do answer the door, you can say, I'm sorry. You're gonna have to come back. Another time. What were your feelings? We knew actually made the call reported. I was nervous. You know? I was glad I did it because I got the Bill and it had to happen. I mean, it had to happen where you were that they get abused or him. I was that was my biggest fair. But what actually happened was worse? You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. We're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcast the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. Dana saw Sarah's car speeding into the driveway. And then at some point during the night, the car disappeared as far as Dana could tell the house next door was completely empty. You. Just put it together that they had gone on the run. You didn't see the blades? Well, Rockwall was not the end of it. Clint must've they were leaving around so fast that they backed over that rock wall knocked it down this, you know, that was Saturday morning than Sunday when the car was gone Sunday morning. That's when we said, they're running they're gone at the moment. What did you think would be outcome of this? I guess I just figured they were trying to hide long to sort it out. Yeah. Figured out their story. They own the house where they what are they gonna do? They gotta come back eventually on the chicken still here with animals up there. Sarah's cars, I mean, it just didn't occur to me at that. This was going to be the outcome. Mill. You don't really think about I didn't think they'd tell minnows in my wildest imagination. Sara was scheduled to open Coles at six AM on Saturday morning at three AM. She texted workers. I'm so sorry. I thought I would be able to go to work, but I'm too sick to come in. Sarah's colleague Cheryl hurt had worked with her the day before on that Friday. She says she didn't notice anything unusual about Sarah at least, not then. Her mood that day by felt was fine. I had just found out that I was getting promoted and she had actually known before me. So she was like oh God. Now, you know. Now, I tell you guards relations and everything. And so she was excited for being. So we were. Laughing and stuff on Saturday, March twenty fourth the hearts phones pinged off cell towers, along the Oregon coast into California, and as you know on Sunday, the twenty fifth gen showed up in Fort Bragg on a Safeway surveillance video. She was alone and about twenty five pounds heavier than friends had ever seen her wearing a gray sweatshirt possibly the same one. We caught a glimpse of in the video with the duckling. By Monday afternoon. Cheryl hurt was getting concerned. Sarah hadn't shown up for work all weekend and wasn't responding to texts so Cheryl decided to call nine one one. When you're sick. Did she say what was going on or she just said that she just is unable to come out and able to go to work. And he's gonna have to the doctor. I checked the hospitals your of. And I think the phone is now dead. We were curious about why Cheryl made this call just seen in. I worked pretty closely together. And we definitely talk about our families and what we did over the weekend. But I'm not sure I would call nine one one if she didn't show up for work for a few days, can you through just why you made the call. Well, so it started because there was sick. And because there wasn't answering her phone. The asked me how to pull up the emergency contact list because they thought that maybe they could contact Jen. So I pulled up they call gen. And left. A message. I sent a text message to co-worker like Sunday night. And I says by her from Syria, and she said, no really kind of weird. I said that is really rare said she not miss two days of work without checking in or any done. I'm like, it's so czar because everything that was going on. She's still did her job. She still showed up every day. She wasn't late. She's still took initiative to get a project. She still had great ideas. I mean, she did everything. If you were just to lock in and not know her history or her family or home life, or whatever you would never have any idea because Donovan Joe when she was out on that floor. She had that hat on. You know, all our stuff aside. She did her job. So then her win Monday, and we waited until about nine o'clock, and she still had shown by this time storm hit company, and I had filled her men on everything that had happened a Roo weekend. Who was like, you know, something's going on. You know, what a do? I don't know. I don't know we can get involved or anything. And I was like kind of force in the issue. Like, I think we have to get involved on the stuff that's going on. He had talked to his manager. They said we'll give it another hour or so, and I was like oh my gosh. She geyser being men. This is ridiculous. Something to be done. So then I figured out that jen's emergency contact number was actually Sarah's phone number. So we didn't have an emergency contact number for Sarah. So finally got the okay to call it. And I made the call and then here. Here. I sit today. About two hours after Cheryl hung up the phone a German tourist spot spotted the hearts, tan two thousand three Yukon XL of side down at the bottom of the cliff in Mendocino county. The police report includes a photo of the car from of and it looks like it's flat to the ground with its Brown and grey machinery, camouflaged by the rocks sand and water when you look at aerial shots of the scene, the car blends in so well, it's hard to see the bodies of Marcus Abigail and Jeremiah were found nearby. Sierra's body washed ashore about two weeks later. Afoot presumed to be Hannah's was found nearby as well. But at the time of this recording investigators were still trying to match it with DNA from a woman claiming to be Hannah's, biological mom. Devante body is still missing. The cars computer showed that moments before the crash Jen had stopped on a gravel pullout seventy feet from the edge of the cliff. And then accelerated, you might wonder if the brakes malfunctioned, but according to a Carfax report, the pads have been replaced, the previous July, her industry experts the average brake pads last for around forty thousand miles so unless the hearts had driven back and forth across the country. Six times, the brake pads should have been imperfect working order. Meanwhile, remember all that lush greenery Jen wrote about when the police showed up to search hearts house, they found no plants inside. But over on jen's Facebook, the ducklings continue to splash in their bowl of water one yellow one black. The most recent comment comes from a loyal friend, wishing Janna happy birthday months after she died. Next time on broken hearts accuser skinny while. We just thought they were eating organic foods week not they were almost age they were small so we had kindergarten looking back on. It doesn't look like they were normal. Kids didn't really have friends Abigail had bruising on her stomach area from her sternum to waistband and bruising on her back from mid back to upper buttocks reportedly caused by John Hart. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reach us on Twitter at glamour MAG or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy alkyl, Lawrence Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer, and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh. Thete special. Thanks, jen. Lattes? I'm Katie golden. I studied psychology and biology at Harvard, and I pretend to be a bird on Twitter and my new podcast creature feature. We've you nature in man from a new perspective each episode asking comedian to get inside the minds of animals, so we can explore the startling connections to human psychology. You'll find blood bams and treachery that make game of thrones seemed like a dumb show for babies. Join this every Wednesday and subscribe on apple podcasts for on the I heart radio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jen Sarah Hart Dana Devante Facebook Dana Bruce apple Jennifer scolding Hannah Hart Cheryl hurt dekalb Justin Harman iheartradio Atlanta Marcus Abigail Jenin CPS murder
"Two Questions, Eight People"

Broken Harts

34:20 min | 2 years ago

"Two Questions, Eight People"

"Brought to you by GS K. If we map the genetics of disease could we change? Its course a GS k we know the information encoded in our genes provides vital knowledge, so we're working with partners to Dakota using technology like an advanced search engine we can spot the patterns that lead to diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's because by identifying the patterns that cause disease we hope to transform how patients are treated in the future back in January a few weeks after Hannah hearts remains were identified. Our field reporter Lawrence Miley reconnected with sheriff Tom almond about the upcoming coroner's inquest, Lauren. Good morning, Tom almond from Mendocino. You'll remember sheriff men. He's been on the heart case since the crash and hasn't wavered on his conviction that it was an intentional act. He was the one who told us that the proceedings of the two day hearing would evidence that will shock the consciousness of people who are following his case. Sheriff almond is jovial and good natured. He's allowed talker. And sometimes whereas sheriff star pinned to the lapel of his navy suit. He's been known to give exploding fist bumps. One gets the sense that not only does Tom omen. Love his job. He loves the nature of the work, the responsibility, the respect the attention to detail and the intrigue. If there was ever someone whose job it is to drum up interest in something as Moreau sounding as a coroner's inquest. It's him I left the meeting hearing some of it. I just walked out of the room and said, oh my God. He thought live streaming the event would be helpful for everyone at home with questions. Number one, the whole purpose of the corner. Danquah? All permanent. The answer to question about eight people the manner and cause of den that's it. The first new development in sometime came last month when a California Superior Court Judge officially pronounced devante dead. Even though his body hasn't been found his whereabouts have remained a huge point of contention for many people who have been following the case closely, but the court filing from the sheriff's department reads, it is more probable than not that. Devante heart is deceased and died along with his siblings, and parents in the vehicle crash almond says he is closing devante case with an asterisk. I'm certainly where a contingent citizens who have a belief that devante was not in the car. Do those and to all the sheriff's office would certainly welcome any information. That would prove our belief. Incorrect. It is our opinion and the jury's opinion that he lived with his family, and unfortunately, he perished with his family. And the inquest made it clear that Jenin Sarah made a deliberate decision to drive off that cliff. They planned it. They work together. It was not a spur of the moment act, but as almond points out for those of us seeking a tidy explanation as to why that will never come. There's one question that nobody will ever answer. And that's why we we can tell you what we can tell you almost when we can tell you certainly where we can tell you who. But as a. As an adult who's brother committed suicide. Many years ago. I've learned sometimes the question, why can never be answered and. We can give people the reason they can find their own answer and say, well, I believe it happened because of an influence. But there's not gonna be any black and white answer to why. From glamour an iheartradio. This is broken hearts. One year later. I'm just in Harman. And I'm Liz Egan. Last week Lauren returned to Mendocino county to attend. The coroner's inquest over the course of two days witnesses ranging from first responders to detectives sat at a wooden desk and shared the brutal facts of the investigation behind them was a whiteboard on which assistance taped diagrams of the site and photos of the family. It was especially hard to look at this Meiling faces of the heart kids as the experts related the grotesque details of what their little bodies endured before. And after the fall, an inquest seats jury this one had fourteen jurors, but it isn't the same as a criminal trial. During an inquest witnesses speak straight to a hearing officer there. No objections or interruptions during recesses in the courtroom. Lauren was able to grab a Cup of coffee or check in with us back in New York on the livestream those brakes were filled with a stock video of a babbling brook. It's a civilized affair almost amusingly. So. Allies d- about the least civilized thing. You can imagine. Here's lauren. I've been to Willits once before that can member I drove through on my way to the heart crash site. I'm gonna smog hung about the town the first sign of the paradise fire that covered northern California Hayes a week. The Justice center is a cream colored stucco building that used to function as a bustling courtroom. But now serves as the police station as Tom and explained it to me role to small town of five thousand people we're in a courtroom that hasn't been used for over twelve years because the the superior court of the state close this courtroom officially so this is not active courtroom wearing in a Justice center. Literally, it has not been used for twelve years. And so we came in here couple of weeks ago, and we looked at it. And we changed a battery of the clock, but up new calendar, and is ready to go the courtroom fits in audience of approximately fifty but nearly half the seats are empty. No, family members adoptive or biological are in attendance. The hearts neighbor. Dana DeKalb told me she'd be watching from home. The inquest is conducted by Matthew Shepard a white haired attorney with nearly four decades of law experience, be Charlotte's diligent in soothing manner. Kept things on track. He typically overseas inquest back in the bay area for deaths that directly involve law enforcement like a police shooting or an inmate dining custody. He's done more than a hundred of these before it all begins. I have questions big ones. I wanna know what investigators heard from the friends and family members who declined to speak with me on the record. I wanna know at what point after fleeing from CPS, Jen, Sarah or both of them together finalize their plan. I want to know whether the kids had antihistamines in their system to treat allergies or if they're moms gave it to them to low them to sleep. I wanna know where Jen got the oklaho- that was inter system. Did she stop somewhere on the side off of highway one? Or did she bring it with her knowing she might need it for what was to come later. Call it closure. Even obsession I want absolute clarity about what happened in those final days. And I thought I just tell the jury how we're going to proceed today and for the record I'm going to initially call some of the first responders. I mentioned the inquest is a step by step presentation of the forensic evidence collected over the course of the past year evidence, the California Highway Patrol says took tens of thousands of hours to compile. The key. Testimony comes from CHP officer, Jake slates much of what slates disclosed on the stand is familiar territory for listeners of this podcast. But there are new details accounts to he says that after the photo of devante hugging. The cop when fireable Jen received harassing emails. These were not invented slates read them himself. Another shocking reveal there was a new witness a camper who says he heard the revving engine of the Yukon and a cry from the bottom of the cliff at three AM, but dismissed it as an animal sound, it's awful. Think someone could have responded sooner. But the inquest Thala gist Dr Greg Pizarro thinks it's unlikely anyone could have survived a fall of that magnitude the deaths he says would have been nearly instantaneous. Slate says when rescue workers told the Yukon back up the cliff jen's body which had been wedged behind the steering wheel fell some sixty feet which made it difficult to identify her at first. Those details are hard to stomach but deep into the second day of the inquest. We've got the answer to a question that has been bugging us for over a year. What role did Sarah Hart play in all of this was she complicit in jen's plan. Louis his wife dead. Sid and Nancy Kurt cobaine. Awesome. Courtney love insane. Johnny cash. Dick, did I turn abusive and XXX ten Tassie own Amy wine house completely off the rails. Disgrace land is a rock and roll true crime podcast about musicians getting away with murder behaving very badly. This hosted by me Jake Brennan, I grew up in round rock and roll. In the one thing, I know to be absolutely true. Is that real Rockstars parties? Sane more like feral, nurses to Ghanimat's than functioning members of society in this is precisely what makes them so damn entertaining to pot biggie Marvin Gaye James Brown. John Lennon, Jeon stones and the hells. Angels running security and a dead hit on the dance. These stories and more are all waiting for you in disgrace. Listen to disgrace Santa the iheartradio app, apple podcasts. Wherever you get your podcasts. Sleeps revealed that he was able to recover Sarah cellphone records from right before the crash. Serve again, asking Google questions such as. Can five hundred milligrams of Benadryl kill hundred twenty pound woman. What over the counter medications can you take to overdose? How can I easily overdose on over-counter medications as death by drowning relatively painless? How long does it take today from hypothermia in water while drowning in a car? What will happen when overdosing with Benadryl? One of the last searches that she did on her phone was while they're traveling through Oregon, and it was a surge that she entered in an requesting Google to identify. No kill shelters for dogs. These questions went on for hours Sarah kept googling from after midnight. The Friday fled until six thirty PM the next evening, and this wasn't a hypothetical at the time of her death. Slates estimated Sarah Hart had ingested forty two doses of an off brand antihistamine both liquid and pill versions of the drug were found in the Yukon the family had stopped to buy the medicine at WalMart before ever leaving Washington. So there it was Sarah was in on it. She wanted to die. She wanted all of them to die too. And she wasn't the only one with shockingly high levels of the drug in her system. Marcus after doing the math would have had to take in nineteen approximately nineteen point two single-dose units. Abigail would have had to take in fourteen those units, and Jeremiah would have had to take in eight point eight single dosage units in order for them to get that level. At that point that the blood is drawn now that doesn't mean that they took that number. They could have been given more. But this at the time of the autopsy when we drew their blood. That's what would have been in their system. Fleet said that Sarah would likely have been extremely intoxicated by the amount of medication. She had taken and the kids would be quote more than likely unconscious or sleeping, Jen. Who was driving didn't have the drug in her system, but had a blood alcohol content of point one or about five drinks, which slate said was especially significant we also know through our investigation and interviews of people that Jennifer never drink either witnesses stated that they never saw her have a drink or they'd say, oh Kasur. They'd see your maybe have a glass of wine, but never finished that wine. So for person to be at that level of an toxic -ation and to have never drank or rarely ever drink. It would be. Extremely difficult for that person to function slates testified that he didn't believe Jenin Sarah knew exactly what they were going to do when they spat out of their Washington home on Friday night. Even when Sarah was googling suicide methods on Saturday. He didn't think they had fully committed to the plan. Here's why on Sunday morning the day before their death. Jen bought groceries at Safeway. Remember, that's where she used her club card for discounts that same day, she picked up eight toothbrushes and deodorant at a nearby dollar tree. We've had a bit of an internal debate. Here. Could this be evidence that they still wanted to live after all who takes these precautions or buys these items when certain death is only a few hours away. On Saturday night. They switched off the vehicles GPS for the first time in nine years, but sleeps thinks Jenin Sarah's decision fully crystallized on Sunday as they drove up and down the coast near Fort Bragg in between stops at beaches, and parks. A wonder I tin ary, they stopped waffling. They drugged the kids. Sara numbed herself with pills and Jen who always called the shots in the relationship finished the job. Ultimately, I feel that based on Sarah Jennifer's past history the pattern that we see of the legend child abuse, and confrontations that they made it received out of the community that this was just another case where they would run one of the final questions. I would ask all my witnesses would be based on the fact and how well, you know, Sarah, Jennifer Hart. Would this be an act that they can do this would they be the type of people that would say if I can't have my children. Nobody can have my children and most of the witnesses either stated, yes, Jennifer would say that. Yes. That would be decision that either both of them would make. Jury only deliberated for an hour. The verdict was swift and unanimous certificates for Jennifer and Sarah Hart. We'll be listed as suicide and the six children who perished on a day their death, certainly as a jury will was determined to be at the hands of other other by accident and their death certificates list. Onsite as a demand of death. Afterward most jurors quickly made their way to their cars, but one Tony Howard state back to talk to reporters for few moments. Honest with you guys coming up with the decision really wasn't the hard part dealing with the toll tragedy was the hard part. There was some discussion. However after some short discussions it was. Just the magnitude of all the children. Hard part for people. It's been nearly four months since we wrap the eighth and final episode of broken hearts since the series launched in December. It's been downloaded over six million times something Liz Lauren, and I didn't expect when we first started thinking about this case with a wide range of the series. Also came comments from our listeners, many of whom experienced the same roller coaster of emotions we did while trying to better understand what happened to the hearts. There was positive feedback about how we viewed the story through an empathetic lens question. How social media can distort the truth and how we were able to reveal the cracks and loopholes in the interstate adoption system. There was also criticism were really the right people to tell the story. Should we have brought our own experiences as mothers into it? And how could we have used the word anti hero to describe jetted? Sarah in the final episode. We've read all the reviews and one point of clarification anti hero. Doesn't mean a sympathetic hero. In fact, it means the opposite. An anti hero is someone who altogether lacks heroic qualities and Jenin Sarah were not Heroux heraldic. While the details revealed at the inquest confirmed the worst of our suspicions. We still believe that trying to see the humanity in even the ugliest stories is the only way to understand why people do the things they do more than anything. We created this podcast not to tell a story perfectly or to solve a crime. But to try to give voice to six children whose own voices were silenced. Their names were Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah. And sierra. Through all of our reporting. There were very few recordings or pieces of evidence that could help us fully understand the hell the heart kids endured a few weeks ago. A listener emailed us about her own experience. She says she was one of four black siblings adopted out of foster care by a white family across state lines and her story bears more than a passing resemblance to the hearts. She told us it was hard to listen to this podcast because so many times she thought that could have been me. My mother during the eighties had a crack addiction about twenty years. She had eight children told on a little blurred because I've never been able to get a clear cut story for my office. My. Because of the sensitive nature of her story. We've chosen not to use this listeners name. We were like the granola eaters, if you had a blueprint it was them they were big in Hindu, tree huggers. You know, we've been having processes closer hand me down. My main wild hair, you know, like all make at the lifestyle and was shocking. We're coming of, you know, eating Long John silvers and living in a home with other lack people. So then, of course, start off to be a horrible situation because their intentions in my opinion were good, and we have to be because of the fact you're taking on children that even will have some type of attachment issues emotional issues. They have a slight understanding of the Chiltern that's bringing on. I don't think it's a full understanding of what they're about the take on. She says she and her siblings only took instruction from an older sister. There were trust issues. There were behavioral issues she thinks her adoptive mother became overwhelmed by her lack of control over the kids. She thinks no she knows. There are many more children with his similar story. And she wants them to know, they're not alone. She wants to help lift them out of the despair. She so acutely understands her type of punishment wasn't necessarily that. She would hit us of beat us. You start off doing that? And realize that really wasn't affective for because we came from. We used to get our ask me all the time with from the foster parents, you would really have to do at number to really be moved by violent far punishment dues to starve show bad that we would still from the neighbors brighten up to their home and raise the fares. Moore the mo- chills on the block because we wouldn't Bill. Things we'd break into the home and still CPS got involved if you times, but the warning signs, and there were many warning signs. Didn't sound any alarms. People saw what they wanted to see. Nobody coming out about five children. Are out the closest on have been a new half hour drive. They just felt like you were saying the pot at that. What could possibly Ron? Thank God, the white people wanna take care of black children who are visit to crack have all these issues. Thank on like you should be adopted link group. You know, she has sought long and hard about trying to press charges, but it's complicated. I still have relationships with both of them extra spoke to my dad yesterday has a new partner and really helped him not try to sweep things on the bread. Has been able to kind of give him perspective. As why children so mad at him done. Now have trillion turn allies that's his right there. And with also my mother, you know, there's no way she cannot here and income than none. And that's all. He says she liked to write a book about all of this one day. She has a baby of her own now. And while it's been healing to feel that love it. Also reminds her of what she lived through. Now that I felt like, and I knew it was going to change after you know, I have child 'cause I went always tells you definitely have a child. And now that I do like, I don't understand how you could even looking to face a child in the them not feed them or do anything. What is hard? But I was so afraid I can lose everything loves wonderful and confusing magical and infuriated often in the same day. She just finally said like if you think something's wrong with the baby, you know, what let's just check. And then thirty six hours later, they called me. And they said you have to rush her to the hospital, then I started mildly panicking, and I googled looking for a quiz for is. My husband transgender that's not really his choice. He doesn't really have control over that. But yet he's still chooses to be the partner to me that he is. Because I love you. I'm Joe Piazza join the millions of listeners who've made committed possible and promise you it's cheaper than therapy. Listen the committed on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you get your podcast. So where do we go from here? There was a woman at the inquest named Mary. She says she never knew the hearts, but the story hits close to home. She up at three of her four kids out of the foster system and knows firsthand how taxing and isolating. It can be to raise children, especially multiple children who have experienced trauma. You know, when you're going through the process out of foster into adoption, you know, there are people in agencies around that can answer questions, and you know, provide some amount of support, but for most families once the adoption papers are signed you are pretty much on your own. And of course, it's it's after that time where a lot of the issues come out from when whatever led to those kids being taken away from the biological families. Whether it was abuse neglect. Drug and alcohol issues, finance that is all gonna come out eventually and sometimes when the kids are younger but very often when their teens, and if you have more than one teen going through all those issues at once can be really extremely challenging. I told a few friends that I was thinking of coming in the all tied to talk fit. Knowing that would be really distressing. But I don't know. I just feel like I need to be a witness to what happens to the tragedy of their family. Mary hopes that if anything comes from the rehashing of the gruesome details of this case, it's reform in the adoption and foster systems. This is not something that would just obviously happened overnight. It's something that happened various places over time. And I mean, I don't know I've never met anyone from the family. But as an adoptive mom, if something's gonna come out of this it shouldn't just be about finger pointing it needs to be about what help and support. Can we give other people who are in these situations where you just feel like you don't know where to go or who to turn to and who can help. And that I mean, if we're going to honor them in any way that to me would be would make the most sense. Sharrif almond hopes this story and the findings from the inquest will show lawmakers how desperately we need a national database for child abuse. After the inquest he held a brief press conference. We have a national database that reports mental illness which prohibits them from having guns with a national database for criminal histories. We also have a national database for gun registration. We do not have national database for child abuse allegations. In the fact that there were five states involved, Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, California, certainly should be a. An enlightening moment for our national legislatures. I'm not going to say that if we had national database that heart family would still be alive. But certainly there would have been more of an investigation and find out if the adoptions had been appropriate in or if CPS should be a little bit more involved in what they were. And then it was all over the livestream shut off. It was time for Lauren to go home. After all was said in done sheriff almonds, circle the puck lot shaking journalists hands as they got into their cars in saying goodbye to investigators. He finally walked over to where I was sitting on a bench and ask why looked so despondent. I had in fact found the last bits of the puzzle shocking. Just the predicted imagining just how awful those last hours were for the kids. And when the hearing officer read the verdict the most closure we'd ever get in. This case I utterly cried silently for a few seconds before collecting myself. I didn't even want to be at an inquest. I wanted to be at a trial with someone there to actually punish someone to take the blame. The heart is a horror story. Yes. But it's more explicitly in American horror story one that could only happen here in one that was aided in a bedded by the culture in which we live, and I'm not just talking about r adoption courts and CBS systems, if we believe Jennifer heart into a lesser extent, Sara Khan, women as friends and neighbors, we've interviewed now understand them to be that it's worth considering this Akon woman doesn't succeed by making up new rules for society. She succeeds by artfully using the rules by playing on our expectations. More often than not Jen found people would trust the explanation of charismatic woman. And yes, white woman more than her black children, friends and neighbors noticed how robotic in thin her kids were, but in the end they trust to Jen more than their own is she also new political correctness would be a shield against unwanted scrutiny. She knew the power of strong narrative on social media. She knew how much people mostly white people wanted to believe images of racial reconciliation, whether it was fawning over. Devante hugging that cop or liking Facebook images of their rainbow family. When I see the gen was good. She was good. One of my early role models for what like non traditional family, look light. Everyone was very envious of them because of how they could pull this off how they can raise these six quote, unquote, developmentally delayed children. There's no part of me and all of my looking magnets capable of seeing that it was just assuring reassume peeper who are our views. Most inner pine it lies, but also in their public lives, and we know this now non to be true. No. Doesn't look like they were normal. Kids didn't really have friends. They were small. So we thought they had been kindergarten. The kids are skinny well. We just not they're eating organic food. When I realized that she was like, there's no way in hell. Those kids are learning. It's impossible with the amount of time. She was devoting to us to our game. That was an issue for her, and you know, being gay. I guess so I just thought, you know, I don't want her to think that I'm being judgmental. I just want to be a good neighbor tunnel. Like most people don't want to get involved. I feel guilty for not realizing that the us were red flag was like God. I totally bought into absolute ethnic races playing apart base. Kids are being used the prop these white lady seaman and safety six black children. Nice work you save. You know, that was the narrative which just. Parents do operate this way in a local did where symbols of racial harmony, and our kids or are evidence of that. As we love kids so much. Heartbreaking the fact that that would be utilized of the way to math some of the abuse neglect. It was happening if it's just deficit urban, and too many people bought in Jenin Sarah Hart got away with what they did. Because there were green lights where there should have been red ones. They weren't criminal masterminds. They just weren't stopped. Kids. Broken hearts is a production of I heart radio and glamour. If you suspect to child is being abused. Call one eight hundred four a child that's one eight hundred numeral four A C H I L D or visit child help dot org to find out how to report your concerns. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reaches on Twitter at glamour MAG or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy uncle Lawrence. Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is Glamour's editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Zeleski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. For more podcasts from iheartradio. Visit the iheartradio app apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows on the next Ron burgundy podcast. This is actually exciting. You got Mr Peter Dingle. He's Chang's impersonal poetry actually, a lot of people actually find poetry interesting. The sound machine away series thrown of games game of thrones Ron in any surprises. We can expect from Tylenol Lancaster, curious minister. Iheart radio is number one for podcasts. And it's easy to see. Why? Thank the Ron burgundy podcast on the iheartradio app or wherever you get your podcasts.

Sarah Jen Sarah Hart Liz Lauren Jenin Devante Abigail Sarah Jennifer apple officer partner Ron burgundy Sheriff almond iheartradio Marcus Hanna Justin Harman reporter Lawrence Miley California Superior Court Slate CPS
"Fear"

Broken Harts

38:36 min | 2 years ago

"Fear"

"If you haven't checked out my new series the end of the world with Josh Clark. The now's a great time to start the holidays are over the doldrums of winter had begun. And there's no better time to explore existentialist dread than right now. But wait, there's more to the end of the world than that. Yes. The series is about existential risks. But it's also about hope the threats that are coming our way that could wipe humans right out of existence. Could also be just the thing that makes us band together. In a way that humanity never has before in the end of the world. I take you on a journey across time and space from the moment and asteroid collided with earth and set off a chain of events that wiped out the dinosaurs to the post biological future where we live in a digital format. If we don't already we'll explore big questions like whether we're alone in the universe and exactly how artificial intelligence could take control of our world from us. It also has a beautiful score. For and cinematic sound design. So it's an adventure for your mind. Which is just the thing to snap. You out of the winter blondes all ten episodes of the end of the world with Josh Clark are available for you to binge now on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you get podcasts. The cliff is the kind of place. Jennifer heart would have loved to photograph or kids. Located two hundred miles north of San Francisco. It has a green edge bluff right off of California's highway one with a gravel path leading to dramatic one hundred foot drop into the Pacific on other trips. Jen and her wife, Sarah might have pulled to the side of the road and had their brood lineup as they often did backs to the camera hands raised in peace signs, a technicolor sunset framing their silhouettes. They were Marcus nineteen Hannah sixteen devante fifteen Abigail and Jeremiah both fourteen and Sierra twelve two sets of biological siblings. Both black adopted by two white moms a beautiful family by most accounts friends, called them, the heart tribe, but this trip wouldn't be like the others the heart tribe took to places like bliss, Idaho or Zion national park in Utah. Vesta Gators have been desperate to figure out how that family flew off that cliff in California, and whether it was on purpose. Scene two days ago. There was no skid marks we have no evidence. And they'll reasonably that this wasn't intentional act. Certainly people are wondering what caused this. On March twenty six two thousand eighteen a German tourist spotted the families two thousand three GMC Yukon XL belly up on the rocks below the picturesque Mendocino cliff. The car plummeted more than one hundred feet. Here's what we know happened in the days leading up to the crash. On March twenty fourth at three AM. Sarah's co workers at Kohl's where she worked as an assistant manager received a text from Sarah saying, she was too sick to open the store that morning that same morning the hearts next door neighbors. Bruce and Dana DeKalb noticed that the Yukon was no longer in their driveway. And that the bright red Pya, but typically sat on top of it had been removed cinderblocks littered the driveway suggesting that family had crashed into a retaining wall in their rush to leave on March twenty fifth at eight oh, five AM a surveillance camera in a Fort Bragg, Safeway captured Jen in glass is an ill-fitting gray hoodie paying twenty dollars eight cents in cash for groceries. She bought the nana's saltines and chef boyardee ravioli and used a club card for discounts friends said she looked twenty five pounds heavier than they'd ever seen her. On March twenty sixth at one twelve pm. Sarah's co Cheryl Hart no relation called nine. One one asking for a welfare check on her friend. Can I help you? If I was calling to see thing get welfare chips done. Okay. And her we taking on Sarah. The reason that we're taking on our she sent out. Text message at two o'clock in the morning on Saturdays stating that she was sick. But over these get ahold of her tackle her or seen her since that is. Or her wife was his Jen. So confirm okay in did. She say when she was six that she say what was going on or she just said that he just is unable to come out and able to go to work and out go to the doctor. I've checked the hospitals. They didn't have any other. And I think the phone is now dead. Okay. And just the two of them of their children. Okay. Any known medical history about that. I'm aware of now she has been sick. I think it's like a cold. Okay. Has she been societal at all or? With. The call. You just heard came several hours too late. Early the morning of March twenty six rescue workers repelled down the cliff where they lifted the dead bodies of three children later identified as Marcus Abigail, and Jeremiah heart and spotted two more Sarah in the back and Jen in the driver seat the corner founded ingredient commonly used in allergy medicines like Benadryl in the bodies of Sarah and to the kids. Gen's blood alcohol. Content was over the legal limit. No one had wearing a seatbelt. The cars computer revealed that Jan had stopped on a pull out some seventy feet from the cliff moments before the freefall she then gunned it off the ledge. Ten days later, the county sheriff issued a statement about the gruesome incident arm to the point where I had no longer. I'm calling this an accident. I'm calling it a crime. From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Justin Harman, and I'm Liz Egan together. We've been looking into this story for the past six months, and what has emerged is one of the most complex and compelling stories of abuse, neglect privilege and confusion in the digital age. We've ever encountered one astounding element of this story is that this family, the heart tribe didn't just burst into the news after the horrific crash over the years they had somehow managed to be at the center of multiple news events. Remember that picture of the young black boy in a blue fidora embracing a white cop in riot gear at a black lives matter rally in two thousand fourteen and the debate that ensued over whether it was a symbolic moment of racial healing or semi staged. The inter that was devante heart. The third oldest of the heart kids. Devante was a trumpet player who loved to brush his dog. Kenya? He had big teeth and big is his whole face. Looked like a smile. He often more a free hug sign around his neck. He was an extrovert and an m path. That photo from the rally was taken in two thousand fourteen nearly four years before the families death. And that wasn't the only time the hearts found themselves in the spotlight, but we'll get into that later. A few weeks ago, our producer Jason asked us what drew us to this story in the first place. Our answers were different. I was on a ten day road trip with my family one afternoon after spending about nine hours in the car with my three kids who are seventeen fourteen and eleven I looked at the New York Times homepage. And I read a story about the heart. I was really surprised by how quickly it fell out of the news. There weren't that many stories that sent me down a rabbit hole of wondering what had happened at glamour morning meetings. We discuss not only what we're working on currently, but what stories are sort of peaking interest. And Liz brought up this story that I had almost surreptitiously clicked on the night before something about the picture. I saw these two women white very tractive sort of. Every day. Looking nothing seems sinister about them and six really adorable. I mean, the kids just looked so happy and so to have that juxtaposed with such an egregious storyline. And headline I was instantly captivated by will what could have driven these women to do such a thing. How does someone get to a place where they're willing to choose not only a path for yourself? But that of six young people, I am a mother of two year old. I can't imagine ever being pushed to the brink that way. But at the same time eat is relatable feeling as a mother as a woman to feel trapped by the choices you make the story is so complex in fact that we brought on Lawrence Miley, a San Francisco based investigative reporter to help us figure out what really happened in the days months and years leading up to the crash you'll hear from Lauren. She's the intrepid interviewer with throaty chuckle and the Iowa accent over the course of this cross. Journey that leads us from South Dakota to Minnesota to Oregon Washington and old timidly cliff in California. You'll also meet a variety of people who knew the hearts or thought they did. And you'll get an exclusive look into a case that left six people dead two missing and a nation. Puzzled over the perfect family. They never knew but the most important voices in this podcast along to the people. We couldn't interview the heart kids, Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah and Sierra henna in devante were not found in the car that day in March and their bodies have not yet surfaced at the crash site since their whereabouts have yet to be located some fear. They were killed before the plunge others speculate, they escaped in the Nick of time back in may we sent Lauren to woodland Washington to meet with Dana, Bruce DeKalb the hearts next door. Neighbors the family shared a driveway. Take the fork to the left and you'll hit. The dekalb's spread split level. Take the one of the right and drive down a little bit. And you're at the hearts, this is Lauren. I got out of my car and felt like it landed in a postcard of the Pacific northwest. It seems like the dekalb's property could be swallowed up by nature at any moment. Their houses blanketed by pine trees, rhododendron bushes. Just for some orientation. I driven up from Portland for about an hour on I five which continues on up to Seattle, I took an exit and then drove along this twisty road with trees overhead for five minutes. Even though this is huge freeway just minutes away by the time. You get to the dekalb's. It feels really remote you out here to be close to nature. Not people. Data agree to me at the door. She's in her late fifties and has short curly hair. She's a talker. And always wears a smartwatch to tracker daily steps to decades ago, she and Bruce moved from California cul de sac to this spot in the foothills of the cascades where you can see cleared amount Saint Helen's BRUCE'S about six feet tall. He's more laid back. He's chatty too. But when together let's Dana do talking their days usually include some beating back of the Washington wild that have entering out on jetski or kayak last September, the retirement good life was interrupted when a small frightened girl wrapped in a fleece blanket. Rang their doorbell at one thirty in the morning. Doorbell rang, and and I went to the front door. Here's this girl. Standing there on blanket wrapped around her. She comes Bolton in the house and yelling for Dana. You know? Hey, wake-up come help me. And she ran up the stairs on her own. Bolted upstairs. Pounce on me. Because that's when I woke up thinking who are you merging come from. I came down. Here was talking to her trying to get calm down to understand. What was going on? And she was just frantic and begging you know, that take me to Seattle don't make me go back there. There are racist. They're abusive. You know, we're just going. Well, you know. Bruce Astrum away you mean, and she's like they with about. And he was like, Wow, I've been what for the belt trying to think. Oh, you know. And in the meantime on trying to figure out where she came from. Because we don't know she lives next door. I noticed that the whole family was outside looking for with. Flashlights? And she's freaking out. And I'm like, you know, they're coming. I have to figure this out. Just stay put. They came in. And they just trying to push their way into, sir. Jennifer did. And they started going around looking through the house went up to the federal advice. The family to go into. No. Came in. And we, you know, it's one thirty in the morning, and you're freaking out. Hannah hit crouch down between my bed dresser. And this little slot. And she was like in the fetal position. And when they just went in in Sarah approach to person Hannah, she was like, no, you know. So I said, well, he's back up give her some space. You freaking around freaking me out with back up. And about that time. Jennifer, kind grabs Sarah said I'll deal with this you go down back downstairs with the kids. So Jennifer started talking to her calming her and being all nice and stuff. So I thought okay, I'm gonna give him a minute. And so I left the room regretfully. And then they came back downstairs, and they start come back downstairs, Jennifer told Sarah you need to take the kids. Go Hannah's having a problem with her big brother right now. We were like. Her issue was her brother at all. What do you mean? So that kind of a little bit weird. But you know, I I don't know. So they sat there thing. You know, you need to tell these people you're sorry. Yes, ma'am. And you need to explain to him. You just had a really badly. Yes, ma'am. And she just constantly was looking Jennifer never even talked to us. It was just robot. And so they ended up leaving. Now. It's two thirty in the morning. You're trying to figure out what? Wow, what what's really going on here? You know, a guess. The arm education. For variety of reasons. Dekalb's wouldn't call the authorities until nearly six months after the incident, but that didn't stop her eighty year old dad, whom she told about the event from getting involved unav- eighteenth 2017, nearly three months after Hannah visited in the middle of the night daynuss dad's Steve placed a call to nine one one. There's some kids that I feel as being highly abused. What's the address? Okay. I'm gonna good address my daughter's house 'cause it's right next door. Yeah. If you're going up the road to her house, it's a house on the right? Okay. And what's going on there? Well, they help Fluck children with that part. Doesn't matter their new here with the other night. A little girl jumped out of the second story window on the roof and then down onto the ground and random my daughter, and this is like two in the morning begging them to help her to help her. And when they came looking for she was big, and my daughter, not to let them know. She was there, and then eventually my son-in-law, let them know he doesn't want to get involved. But the more I sit on it. I just can't live with somebody's got over there. And how old was the little kids. Did that Randy your daughter's house about twelve years old thirteen and then she had all four the kids? Come back later into say. Everything was okay. And they're all standing at attention. Like they were just scared to death. And I think there's something very serious going on there here from Texas the kids might even be kidnapped. In basically, my son in law's like most people don't want to get involved in. So he's keeping my daughter out of it. But since she's told me about it. I just can't live with it. I'm very concerned for these kids. Someone from the county sheriff's office called the dekalb's to ask whether there been more incidents in Dan, explain what you'd observe since that night, the kids next door were almost always indoors. She remembers being told it's not illegal to keep kids inside on August, seven twenty eight teen a little less than a year after her dad called I contacted county sergeant Brentwood L over the phone so data's dad and called down here and reported that Dane is neighbor child had come over in the middle of the night. And the deputy contacted dad in also contacted Dana. When the deputy talked with Dana. There was no indication that there's any ongoing issues or anything like that. What L wasn't the one who talked with Dana? But the department had done internal review of how they handle their interactions with Dana, enter dad inquired documented that he talked with Dana, and they had discussed or anything over there sense. That's happened anything concerning and Dana, basically said, you know, we never see him see him out for us to go up and knock on the door. We would need something a little bit more people have rights in this country, and this state in just because your neighbor, you know, there was something a little bit more current and some of the factors again, we don't know what happens behind closed doors. So just because the kids aren't playing outside or aren't outside or seen that much that in -mongst itself is not the trigger. A red flag hindsight being twenty twenty. Who knows? But you know, there's, you know, the deputy Dana had a conversation, and in the deputy was okay with not going up and knocking on the door. Hi, I'm Ariel Casten. I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs in failures in business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions we'll be talking about some companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson together, we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. But what really went on behind the white door in that baby. Blue split level who are these women, and how did they come to adopt six children two sets of three black siblings. Their stories starts in small town, South Dakota where Sarah gambler, and Jen heart both grew up. A photo of five year old gen shows her dressed up in a roughly blue dress with knee high White Sox outside of cornflower blue home with astroturf covered stairs. Extremely rare. Find she wrote on Facebook in may of two thousand sixteen me in address. The women met when they were twenty years old as undergraduates at northern state university in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It was nineteen ninety nine. American pie was the biggest thing at the box office JFK junior had just been found dead off the coast of Martha's Vineyard still strapped into the pilot seat of his plane, living LA Vida loca was the biggest thing on the radio. But it would be more than a decade before Ricky Martin would publicly come out as gay. At aberdeen. Sarah would go on to earn her degree in education. Jen, never graduated later gen would describe on Facebook how she called Sarah her friend her roommate once they did come out as a couple, however, the mid western mindset, she wrote was relentlessly unforgiving. The pair of eventually moved to Alexandria, Minnesota a lake town famous for big Oli, a twenty five foot tall statue of Viking. That was built for the sixty four world's fair. Herberger? 's were the women worked Jen in the juniors department, Sarah as department manager was the biggest store at fighting milk plaza a one level strip mall located off of route twenty nine. Jen was probably the one I met. I she was taller than me. She had like thin, bright red hair. I remember her feeling so much older than she actually was like she probably was twenty six or twenty seven at the time. And she was confident and a third of and intimidate I immediately did not feel like I was on the same level as her. This is Jordan Smith Jordan worked with Jenin Sarah in the summer of two thousand four at Herberger 's we asked Lauren to find out what they were like. Most people who knew the women back then noted their differences. Jen was more colorful outgoing abrasive that will be the Minnesota term for it. Smith says Sarah could be more emotional stressed. But she lovingly kept the picture of her in gen cuddling on her office desk when I talked to Jordan, she remembered the time Jen complained about a mannequin nipples being sexist, Jen hauled, the mannequin to a back room and Herberger 's Emmanueli cut them off with a hacksaw people'd mannequin back to do it. He wanted to doing it on the floor. It was probably her relationship with their that like gave her you know, that kind of like I can do the as a couple they're very, discreet. It took me on nine month realize they were a couple. I mean, we're talking real rural Minnesota like the bible belt of Minnesota. That's alexandria. In two thousand four Alexandria, Minnesota a town located one hundred and thirty two miles north west of Minneapolis had a population of around eleven thousand it was a bit more progressive than rural South Dakota. But it wasn't exactly the most tolerant of places either as Jordan recalls, it would pretty usual to get called a dike or a fag. And you're gay and everything negative. It may not seem that long ago. But two thousand four was very different time socially, especially in the rural midwest, you kind of describe them in. Ability as well don't ask don't tell Jordan identifies as queer now. But back then it wasn't so easy to be out to Farren, Jen credit. They were Bob ably. One of. Very rare handful of open and out homosexual couples in area years later in a Facebook post gen would recall the realities of being a gay woman living in the unforgiving an unaccepted mid west the truth of our love is clouded with fear. She wrote fear of rejection from family and friends fear of being unwanted unloved. Fear of not being able to get a job fear of acts of violence. Fear of not being able to have a family fear of walking through this life alone with our love, keeping it a secret. The hearts would eventually find a community over the years. They became regulars at transformational festivals days long, socially conscious. Mashups of music, yoga, dance, and creative costumes. The kids would join too often dressed in colorful, costumes and carrying motivational signs and interacting with the musical acts. In one YouTube clip, we see devante at the beloved festival an annual gathering dedicated to what its website describes as vulnerability belonging and liberation in the clip, a large group of adults dressed in tie-dye and bucket. Hats congregate around the musician Xavier Rudd as he plucks at guitar place to cross his lap Rudd is shirtless. His long blond hair is pulled back with the headband. His eyes are closed about eight minutes into the song. He notices someone in the crowd and beckons him to the stage. Devante dressed in zebra, costume, a free hug sign around his neck and the word beloved shaved into his head approaches the musician and gives him a hug, their tears in his eyes the embrace lasts over a minute. Homing moment is a lot. But it was also at these festivals that friends legs zippy Lomax, a Portland based photographer. I encountered Jenin Sarah in twenty thirteen after the news of the crash broke Lomax like so many of the people in the hearts inner circle took to social media to defend the women. She knew they were that really bright kind of presence. It was pretty hard to miss them any event that that I was at where they were if I had a camera. I was of course attracted to that. I was inspired by them. They gave me hope everyone who's them like the heart trad. It was just sort of a natural term that would kinda come out when you see them showing up at places, there's a hard time that term like tribe has been shown around a lot in that. 'cause there's some sort of like returning like Rian digitization, and like these interesting terminologies, there's even a book that this other photographer put out called Tri. Able revival. It's all about like the people from all these different festivals. So beloved is just one of many of these kind of festivals that sort of fit under the umbrella of what would be considered transformational festivals that have this very similar kind of goal. I guess of experimental community different ways of coming together and being supportive rather than competitive. Looking a little deeper into understanding what that festivals kind of part of Mosul maybe give a little bit of context for why there were so many people quit to kinda like jump up and say like, wait a minute. You guys have the story wrong. Zippy Lomax Jen, especially became close often communicating over DM and social media zippy shared with us over three hundred of jen's Facebook posts often, accompanied by long well-written captions, many of which served as keyhole into who these women and who these six kids were there are photos of Abba. Gallon. Devante eating breakfast with hens perched on their heads vegetarian, chicken and waffles. The caption reads. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra painting on the living room floor mini Jackson, Pollock's all six kids. Grinning with kindness is contagious sign. Redwood nation is about to get blasted with kindness. Jen wrote? Each post reaffirms the same story line two moms and their rehabilitated kids thriving against all odds. But as we've had to remind ourselves to the course of digging into the story, Jan Hart who is far more active on social media than her wife. Sarah, isn't the most reliable narrator. This is something zippy and many friends of the hearts struggle with zippy has received a lot of messages from people who once knew the family, but maybe lost touch over the years. It's a nice counter. She says to the loads of hate mail. She received like this letter. She got two months after the crash from a high school friend of gents with the subject line, your heart subject. She just said your heart has a poor. I wanted to reach out to after all of this heart story broke. I could sense that you're a beautiful soul with good intentions condescending people thinking new. I knew Sarah John from college in. I was in disbelief. I was not even brave enough to admit knowing them. So I was proud of you for stepping out there. And speaking up the people I knew in college were not capable of this act, although looking back now, it's clear there were warning signs from Jen in the way, she exerted absolute control over Sarah. I just thought they were in love. I'm wondering if you to have had any change of heart. I'm looking for some deep philosophical guidance on this because it is weighing heavily on my heart. I go between anger and confusion inside Nissen Levin. Disbelief. I visited them in Alexandria in two thousand five before they adopted their kids after that. I phoned them on Facebook and was amazed in proud of how many lives they were touching. I know you're busy. But if you ever have time, please send me a message or point me to a person can hope you doing. Okay. I'm sure the painting grief, you feel as thousand times worse than mine. I was grateful for that. 'cause every other message I got was hateful awful like that. So many saying that just kind of echoes what other people said oven more quiet ways that they were grateful that I was willing to speak up. No part of zippy is able to reconcile the women's. She wants new with the women who began to emerge on paper after the fateful crash. If you haven't checked out my new series the end of the world with Josh Clark. The now's a great time to start the holidays are over the doldrums of winter had begun. And there's no better time to explore existential dread than right now. But wait, there's more to the end of the world than that. Yes. The series is about Xs -sential risks. But it's also about hope the threats that are coming our way that could wipe humans right out of existence. Could also be just the thing that makes us band together. In a way that humanity never has before in the end of the world. I take you on a journey across time and space from the moment asteroid collided with earth in set off a chain of events that wiped out the dinosaurs to the post biological future where we live in digital format. If we don't already we'll explore big questions like whether we're alone in the universe and exactly how artificial intelligence could take control of our world from us. It also has a beautiful score in cinematic sound design. So it's an adventure for your mind. Which is just the thing to snap. You out of the winter blondes all ten episodes of the end of the world with Josh Clark are available for you to binge now on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you get podcasts. As we've been reporting most of the heart families found dead at the crash site in March twenty six that was just days after child protective services, tried to visit their home car county to look into reports of potential Glick against parents, Sarah, and Jennifer heart tonight, investigators held a telephone news conference to confirm that they believe the SUV was crashed on purpose, but first appeared to be a tragic accident now looks much more. Sinister captain Bart said information downloaded from the airbag control module shows the SUV actually stopped before accelerating over the cliff parak- celebration from the last break application until it hits the bottom of. Yoshi? Investigators are releasing new details about the heart family tragedy. Telling us that Jenifer Hart was drunk when she drove the family's car off a cliff in northern California and your wife Sarah had a drug in her system. Even now if he has a hard time, believing her friends were living do allies, there's no part of me all of my looking back at my observations of them. That's capable of seeing that it was just assuring somehow the smoke and mirrors of the compelling digital narrative. Jen created was able to cloud a sense of civic responsibility. It's not unlike the same mental gymnastics perform on a daily basis while absent minded Lee squirreling through anyone's feed, we know. Of course, we do that perfect is a myth. But we also convince ourselves that other people must have achieved it pictures have an uncanny way of making any story. True. Marcus hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah and Sierra died because everyone. Saw something different. When they looked at them, the perfect family, some lucky rescued kids a symbol for post, racial Koumba. No, one saw six young people in desperate need of help. Not even the people who were looking right at them. Next time on broken hearts. She would eating on the garbage into this debt. You just seems so strays I remember vaguely hearing that they hopped the foster daughter off and like just abandoned her that's kind of like the ACLU right then. And there that this is a person you don't they can operate in the house best interests. I hit her monologue would like something not right about. Absolutely. I think race played a part. You know when people are sitting in already as thinking that. Okay. We'll why did the judge has ruled that way. Kidding me? Well, ever have owes you. Broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy alkyl, Lawrence Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Zeleski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, Jen lands have questions for us about this podcast reaches on Twitter at glamour MAG for access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts. If you like what you heard leave us a review. Most serial killers don't make any effort to involve media or investigators. They're very secretive and don't want tension. They almost want their crimes to go unnoticed, but the idea of committing a crime, and then calling the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. A man who wore a mediaeval style executioner's hood who has police and baffled. The media seems to crave publicity. He's letters and Ramsden newspapers and police subject stated, I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it. Here. We are fifty years to the first sodium killing in today's world of friends. The mold cases are being solved who doesn't wanna know how it turns out. The creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster zodiac yet killer. Listen as scribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app.

Sarah John Lomax Jen Dana DeKalb Jeremiah heart Jennifer heart Devante Abigail Josh Clark Facebook dekalb California apple Marcus Hanna San Francisco Minnesota South Dakota Seattle Justin Harman Hannah
"The Perfect People"

Broken Harts

38:02 min | 2 years ago

"The Perfect People"

"The most serial killers don't make any effort to involve media or best Gators. They're very secretive. They don't want attention. They almost want their crimes to go unnoticed, but the idea of committing a crime, and then calling up the police and bragging about it. That's a whole 'nother level of terror. A man who wore a mediaeval style executioner's hood who has baffled the police and baffled the media. He seems to crave publicity. He sent letters and Ramsden newspapers. And the beliefs subject stated, I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it. Here. We are fifty years to the first sodium killing in today's world of forensics old cases are being solved who doesn't wanna know. How it turns out? From the creators of Atlanta monster come season two. This is monster vizo yet killer. Listen as subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app. What can you really tell about someone from a picture can you determine their ethnic background, whether they're introverted or extroverted. Can you tell if they're genuinely happy or just playing the part what if you zoom in or out, can you infer things like wealth or religion from the furniture or personal objects in the background? What about a tight shot of a presidential hopeful on the campaign trail, what kind of crowd would you wanna symbol around? You to communicate that you're the other guy the progressive anti-establishment choice, and who could say those things for you simply by being at your side. Now, you see this little bird was no it. I think. I think the baby some symbolism here. I know it doesn't look like it. But that bird is really a dove Ascii goes for world peace. That's Bernie Sanders at a two thousand sixteen rally in Portland, Oregon. You may remember this moment he's going on about the merits of public education. When a tiny Finch lands on his podium in the heart of the Pacific northwest. It's a moment straight out of the show, Portland. Lia irony and serendipity all wrapped into one Sanders. Takes one look at the bird and raises his fists like a magician who just conjured a rabbit from a hat. It was a whole thing. The Sanders campaign started selling birdie Sanders merch of the more than eleven thousand attendees who is stationed directly behind Sanders. Jen. Sarah, Marcus, devante Abigail, Jeremiah and Sierra heart there. They are on a Friday morning in March jumping up and down in matching Royal blue Bernie t shirts, I saw them in there. They're right in the. Direct at on. This is Mark Levin. He worked Bernie's director of scheduling and advance work during his twenty sixteen presidential campaign. He even helped create and popularized Sanders a future to believe in branding efforts. He remembers the bird moment. Well, I mean. Jeez. Besley plans, right? You know, we we have no way of planning for that sort of thing. I mean that was that was actually a level of serendipity that my entire time working in scheduling advance. I'd I don't think I'd ever encountered. It was said half jokingly at the time. But you know, there was some sense in which he had sort of performed a miracle or whatever I mean, this is this is what people were saying online. And this wasn't the first time the heart tribe had gotten near the Senator earlier that same week Jen roused her family at four thirty in the morning to attend a rally in Vancouver, Washington. She wrote on Facebook that she had the kids stand for four hours in the rain to ensure they wouldn't miss out on this opportunity. She even made the blue shirts herself family. Fringe new sheen. Bahktiar says members of the Sanders campaign approached the family and invited them to attend the Portland rally. Here's Lauren talking to new sheen about that day. They went to the Washington rally in there. It was Bernie's campaign people that sort of gave them them to come to the Oregon one. Yeah. And they asked them, and they put them they like wanted them fit right mind him. That video of Bernie Sanders putting a bird on it with the Hart family squarely in the shot. It's been viewed over two point three million times on YouTube order, the reason that you, you know, want to craft that shot behind the candidate very carefully is because and has happened with Obama on a handful of occasions. The the people in that shot functionally share in with the candidate. From glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Justin Harman, and I'm Liz Egan crazy things like this moments of infamy seemingly random or unsolicited brushes with fame like that viral photo of devante crying and hugging the cop. They were nothing new to the Hart family yet, despite the relentless fascination from the outside world friends like Ian, Sperling marveled at jen's ability to protect your children from prying eyes are field reporter, Lauren chatted with Ian over the phone back in may. Inspir- lane is a dad who often met up with the heart said shows around Portland gen would tell him that the kids were developmentally delayed from their terrible lives before they were adopted and Yoon bought it. So that was why the kids acted a little differently. Maybe that's why devante smiled all the time in seemed to act a little younger than his age. Or why Marcus Jeremiah would look listless and suddenly snap into smiles? And personality when he greeted them gentle. So explain why the kids were so thin. They headed vegetarian organic diet. She always had an answer for everything. I mean when I see the gentlest good. She was good. And she made parenting. Look, unbelievably, easy, and awesome. And there was no red flex zero. Like the way she respected. Devante privacy. When he was the picture with the cop and the way, she would talk to us about that stuff in private, you know, take we looked up to her like, wow, she's the best parent in the world. We're horrible. You know, kind of thing can often wrote about the importance of protecting her kids privacy. Once when a Facebook follower asked if she'd ever considered a reality TV show. She said, no we've had multiple offers in this area. She wrote no amount of money would ever be worth the trials and tribulations that would surely come from media slash producers. Manipulating our lives on TV show. Ian remembers hearing about the offers. She was extremely stressed know what to do is get any offers from like good Morning America or the today show specifically and a few others to take him on there. And she declined to do that. Now that plays into what we're learning now. Because obviously, we learn now that there was some abuse charges in Minnesota, or you know, fleeing to Oregon for lack of a better term. And so there's probably more of a reason why she didn't want to go on national TV. At the time. We're thinking wow phenomenal parenting. Nice work. You're not exploiting your children perfect. That's just adds more to the legacy. You know? Listen, I've talked about this part of the story a lot how could one family one seemingly interested in maintaining a low profile and living off the grid consistently. Find itself in the news. How often really do people become famous like viral famous by accident? Mark Levin says from his experience not that often with respect to getting back in behind Bernie at the early rally. I would say that if they had seen the process at the rally they'd been to a few days earlier that would have given them a hint that most people otherwise don't have as to how to do it. So that, you know, most people when they arrive at these rallies is their first rally or they're only rally or whatever it's not that common to have people go to these rallies twice in part because are pretty onerous affairs. You wait for a long time for the candidates, and that sort of thing so you don't get a hold of repeat customers. But if these are repeat customers, they could've very Yoon seen how. The selection process goes for getting people in that shot in the head on shot. So be honest. What does a photo of two moms and six black kids say to you, depending on how you were raised your background and your life experiences. It could mean any number of things for zippy Lomax who first encountered the heart tribe back in two thousand thirteen the family was the perfect visual symbol for the kind of transformational inclusive music festival. She attended and often photographed we're very unique. And I know I'm not the only person who could who was just sort of a natural term that would kinda come out when you'd see them showing up at places like there's a there's a hard time eleven is just one of many many that have this very similar kind of. The goal of like, you know, like experimental community different ways of coming together and being supportive rather than competitive. As a talker. Sippy observed these festivals could serve as a form of emotional. Release attendees often dressed up in costumes with hundreds of people standing on a lawn rocking and swaying to the music footage from the events. Look more like emotionally raw group therapy than raucous jam sessions in the video posted to jen's YouTube page, devante Jeremiah or at the two thousand twelve project or festival in Minnesota. The boys both under ten at the time have flowers around their necks. Devante is wearing his free hugs side. They're both dancing. And around the forty five second Mark, you hear jen's voice you going to give nocco hug. Jeremiah runs up to jen's favourite musician nocco bear who is dancing shirtless in the crowd the to embrace for a few seconds while Abigail Sierra and Hannah dance nearby was Sarah. It's one of the rare moments you get a glimpse behind the curtain. Some might see it as proof that Jen coerced the kids into performing for the camera. But if anything seemed off when the family was in public onlookers like, Ian, Sperling didn't notice. Superhuman people like they're living the perfect life. Perfect. People have perfect kid. The case of the hearts is tragic. But it certainly not the first story of this nature. If you're interested in exploring more cases, like this one we think you should check out another podcast crime junkie named one of the best true crime podcast of two thousand eighteen by Rolling Stone. They've done cases on Chris. Watts Scott Peterson Christian long and many more crime chunky covers a different story every Monday and with over eleven thousand five star reviews. We know you won't be disappointed. Listen and subscribe to crime junkie wherever you get your podcasts. Just search crime J U N K I E to get your true crime fix. Zippy noticed their infallibility to she started a friendship with Jen. One mostly maintained over Facebook messenger. And frequently took pictures of the family all of these events are opportunities for people to kind of reinvent themselves experiment with what it would be like to to be to show up in a different kind of way. So it's hard to say because people are. Maybe not showing up at those events in the same kind of wearing the same persona or even the same kind of clothes that they would wear and just everyday life between shows the festival crowd kept tabs on one another on Facebook. Where gen racked up the likes her feed was full of well staged family photos and long form captions opposed from January twenty nine two thousand sixteen show silhouettes of three of the heart children at sunset. The location is Malala river state park in Clackamas county, Oregon it reads him sitting in the mud watching the sunset. Do you ever think society over complicates life? There's so much business technology obsession and worrying about crossing things off a to do list while forgetting what it's like to be her be what him alive. This desk for life and Jen seemingly endless Aw for her. Children is something friends of the hearts loved about her. In fact, she is often described as the more gregarious and social of the two women, John, and I were closer. She's also an amazing photographer. So we had another point of connection there and mutual respect I guess for each other's craft. But we were friends on Facebook in we interacted in that way. And so I think that like in this age of social media. It's interesting because we feel like we're more engaged with people than maybe we actually are. I've I was very much engaged like commenting interacting with John in the only amazing photo. She was posting about the kids. Definitely kind of aware of what was happening in their lives. The last time zippy saw the Hart family in person was at that same Bernie Sanders rally in Portland where the bird landed on the podium. She was there once again to take pictures zippy, Reynoso Facebook message Jensen after that memorable day so shoe somehow she was watching me instead of Bernie Sanders watching you work, your magic, the lens was so special senior just made that much more magical. She saw me capture that bird moment. Cada glimpse of capturing the beyond amazing moment. I love you. She just said it made her heart. This moment genuinely made my heart explode in the best possible way. This is how John Hart spoke on her Facebook page, a feat of countless posts that span from two thousand seven a year before she in Sarut Dopp did their second set of biological siblings. Up until March twenty second two thousand eighteen four days before the crash. She was a few sive and passionate about everything from her children to her wife to the many animals, the family rescued and rehabilitated in a post from June twenty six two thousand thirteen she wrote in what reads like something from children's book of a red, Robin and BB Blackbird she discovered in her yard, the young black bird hopped onto my knee and proceeded to look me in the eye and go back and forth between me and nuzzling the BB, Robin. It was beyond clear that he was trying to communicate a message I lightly stroked the back of the Robin's neck and checked for injuries. This has been my deeply. Connected purpose for as long as I can remember take care of all beings in need like so many of her posts, it feels just a little too good to be true along with the post is an image of Jenn wearing a grey graphic t- and cuffed jeans, several beaded bracelets lightning. Her wrist clutching, a small bird between her palms. She added an inspirational quote from an obscure science fiction author named Lloyd big old junior. Life is life's greatest gift guard the life of another creature as you would your own. It was the kind of slightly mythological story. Ian, Sperling new well. I think she was a master Facebook coaster likes. I've never seen. Anyone articulate so well with photos, my wife said something that made sense like after everything's done. She says there's not even paying on the paintbrush. You know? And and that was you know, like a Facebook pictured. And you know, when you're like, whoa. What? So it was like stage like a photo, maybe 'cause they're they're sitting in front of a canvas paintings with the kids are doing today, and they gonna paintbrush and there's no paint on it. Now. Dan at you as a mom, or whatever you like, oh shoot. We did that we didn't get any pictures. Hey, you guys. Let's go have a picture real quick. You know, what have you been at the scene team in hindsight? That's probably a little bit of the case. You know, it was almost too good to be true tells one story about how the heart children befriended a homeless man and his version has almost the same hyperbolic language. Jen us in April two thousand thirteen post. There was a gentleman who was an in. If I told you this already, I apologize. They were she took her kids down to the Clackamas river one night, and they're playing around with a hot sunny summer day, and they're playing around down there, swimming and devante to the other kids walked it on the way to what looked like a homeless, man. And Jen in her the way, she told it was I didn't know what to do. If actually let my kids talk to this homeless person who looks extremely disheveled and a bit suspect, but she's taught her kids to not be afraid of strangers proceed with caution. But to spread love in this world. And they went down talk to this guy, blah, blah, blah. Then she saw them hugging this guy. Okay. And the kids walked back, and she's like what was in Alabama. And they're like, oh, we just wanted to Brighton. This guy's day. You know, of course, beautiful kids. They and that's this is exaggerating of how they would be. 'cause I wanted plenty. And then the guy walks down to Janney goes these your kids. I assume and and she said, yeah, I think he says, well, I gotta tell you. They just changed my whole life. And she goes, oh how soon that hunt? I got from him. I don't get that from anybody here. See the problem is I faced cancer and half of my face is gone. So look really scary and terminal, and he goes, I don't have any hope I look like a homeless person. He goes, I I'm not I have a whole I have money. I just look scary. And I've just completely depressed about the end of my life. And your kids just took all of that aside Saami for goyim inside and gave me a huge hug. He goes that meant the world to me, I can die a peaceful person. You know, something along those lines. This is Jen telling us the story. So now, do you take it as a grain of salt or what? But I've watched the kids do this do people. So it didn't surprise us when you know. You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert Lamm. And I'm Joe McCormick. Near the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. The last time. Ian saw the hearts was in November two thousand seventeen four months before the crash at an nocco in medicine for the people concert in Portland in a quiet moment Sperling told Sarah that she seemed worn down. She said, I'm just so tired. He hugged her said. He was sorry. She had to put in so many hours at work to support the family of eight and Sarah answered thanks. I don't hear that very often. So I think she was definitely a fan Daryl like following these bands like nocco Trevor hall Xavier read some of these bands, and like getting to know them. And this was her backstage passes kids, you know, and the look on Sarah's phase every time was cool under taking along. I gotta work in a few hours. And that was it was here constantly that night at the nocco concert last November Ian noticed that Sarah took most of the kids home after soundcheck while devante state on with Jen through the concert. This was the only time he noticed anything remotely strained anything other than synchronicity in the relationship. And it wasn't even like they were fighting so much was just tired. She wanted to go home. She took the kids gin. Devante state dance tonight away, and then left, and so that was it, you know, and we just like, oh, cool. They're normal to say the gen was the fan girl while Sarah was the adult with a job would be an over simplification. But Sarah did work a lot. She was an assistant manager at the coals in Hazel Dell Washington where she put in long hours, sometimes six days a week her colleague, Cheryl heart, the one who requested a welfare check the same day. They were found dead. Remember Sarah is super professional on the sales floor, but relaxed in chatty in the back office. One thing about Sara's. She was most definitely a talker. It was always a bit hard with you got caught up in a conversation with her because she would just rattle on sometimes and Sarah would often talk about her home life with Jen and the kids she would definitely talk about her family one thing. I would notice. Oh, is she would never should never mention like the kids names through is just, you know, say the kids or you know, like the girls are the boys. I mean when she first came on with. Us. She let everybody know right off the back that her family was. The family with the hug heard round the world, basically the hug had gone viral in. I didn't know anything about it. So I actually had to look it up. And I was just like, oh, okay. That was very cool. And you know, she said that it wasn't cool it caused a lot of stress in her family. And and it had really changed her wife and not for the good that Jen had come really closed in and really depressed and just it had just changed for a mentally, but Cheryl, a mother of two herself. Understood the pressures of co managing a household as a new mom, especially with so many kids. She would talk about how the the stressor out. I have two kids myself. So I mean, obviously to kids versus six kids, it's different. But you know, we were you know. Parents times where it's like, you know, my two girls are like oh my gosh. My kids are insane. You know, and she would say the same thing. Like, oh, yeah. When I get home, you know, I have to take over and deal with the kids because you know, jen's had him all day, you know, when I get home. I gotta deal with them. Tensions plagued the family, according to newly released e mails made public in October two thousand eighteen in the months following the adoption of devante, Jeremiah and Sierra, they're days appear to be a chaotic jumble of post office, runs paperwork, and dentist appointments, six dentist appointments Sarah wrote to gen in April two thousand nine I will take my lunch hour from one to to help out with the kids during that time waiting there. Sorry, I made such a mess of everything that same spring, Sarah tried to get pregnant with donated sperm and later suffered a miscarriage Jen wrote in July two thousand nine to an administrator at the agency that facilitated the adoptions. I don't know what else to say. Really now just take it one day at a time true to form if there was anything stressing the family overwhelming schedules infertility or mental health issues, even racists dockers, you would never know it from jen's Facebook, but back in June of two thousand seventeen gentle family friend, new sheen bacter- that someone had left obsessing racist notes in their mailbox. The first time new she Bahktiar countered. The Hart family was at an event she and put on called Portland for the Philippines in twenty thirteen. It was a concert series for charity hosted in new Sheen's dad's place, a Mediterranean restaurant called blue olive. She noticed that all the heart. Kids were sitting at a table and head incredible posture new sheen had janitor phone is J e Dublin because she says Jen dropped F bombs all the time. Jen was her favorite four letter word. Let's first show was at my dad's. It was all ages and they brought Jenin therre both came and they brought all six of their children. And at first they were sitting at a table right in front of the stage, and they were just eating food, and they were super polite, and they were all sitting really like with just the best posture that I had ever seen like kids have. And then to feel like all the kids have that great posture crap. So that actually I think what I commented on how I started talking to Jen, and Sarah and then. Yeah. I was like oh my God. What is up with your kids? How are they? So well behaved and she's like, oh, you don't know. That's just because there's not a dancefloor. That's how it happened. So we moved the table. And we we moved their table. They're done eating we made a dance lar. And now it's like my first connection with the children. We spent the rest of the night, you know, dancing and having fun and all those pictures a lot of those pictures are literally from the first night, and like we're all holding each other. And there was just like this really great connection. I've always thought that that's because. Other people tell me it's because I'm a person of color, but I always forget that I'm a person of color. So like people who are young who are like that who are POC's need other POC is to look up to. But I never I always forget, I didn't even know what PSE meant until somebody applied for job last year. And the only pay saying European I'm appeal could get along. And I was like what that's not how that works. We're all just humans new. She remembers the good times they had into the collective effervescence. She experienced when the family was altogether. She even talks about Jenin, Sarah like they're still alive. Jon loves Sarah to insane degree, and she always has. And she says the most beautiful things about have you seen jen's Facebook. In fact, even though gen would text new sheen about her growing about being stalked harassed and threatened on social media about the Trump election or the never ending recessed bigoted. Doc from that photo of devante at the rally. She was convinced the family was adjusting well to life in Washington. The last year of my friendship with John was pretty much me reaching out. We talked. Confided in me, but me reaching out asking her to come around asking her if I can come up there her stunning photos and videos of upgrades of the house, and then they were happy. They actually were really really happy. I thought when it comes down to it, isn't that the weirdest part of social media, aren't we all guilty of looking at a picture of a smiling person and just taking it at face value. Who among us hasn't looked at someone? We don't know all that. Well in thought damn those people are pretty perfect. You may remember a similar story Madison. Hollarin' the U Penn track store who jumped off a parking garage in two thousand fifteen and who sunny Instagram feed didn't betray her own struggle with mental illness much like what happened there new sheen believes these social media platforms come with deadly side effects. I think if it were not for social media that they'd still be alive. Absolutely one thousand percent. I just feel like because of that second persona. You know what I mean? I feel like if that second persona wasn't there. And she didn't dedicate so much time to focusing only on the good and only being comfortable in only being you know, only being vulnerable when it came to the good and not just learning to be vulnerable than than she could actually sought help. In her experiences in life would have been more real and meaningful. I don't think social media's a real or meaningful thing, I think it can bring about real and meaningful change. But I also think that when we're lying to ourselves. And then we are posting that lie about ourselves that we want to believe, and then we're getting this fake aid bag of of you know, acceptance and all this type of stuff than than were were literally causing harm. We were crushed by this idea. So we invited Dr Amy service a psychologist for the online therapy site talk space to discuss the psychological effects of social media. She says the medium can trick. Viewer into thinking they have more information than they actually do that sort of two dimensional or even one dimensional flat. Perception of what's going out. There are going on with somebody's somebody's life. And so you might that sort of lack of compassion or even curiosity because you already know it's like a full complete picture out there if they are then revealing that this is what's going on. We might not really be invested to reach out to care to connect. Because those pictures tell a different story one of the things that really stuck out to me is that when they're quote unquote, friends that they saw an interacted with were interviewed. They kind of were like, maybe we didn't know them as well. And I think that begs the question what were their interactions like were they not sustained, and why weren't they sustained where they rely on social media as opposed to picking up the phone or continuing a more in-depth relationship, but we become lazy, and we kind of rely. Like, oh, just catch up with them because they'll see these posts on Facebook as opposed to a real conversation, and those are sort of question and bigger concept of relationships in how we sustain them in the meaningfulness of relationships that really stuck out that that really wasn't present. For them zippy refers to the process of looking at pictures and only seeing what we want to see as confirmation bias. You might remember that term from psych one. Oh, one here's zippy. We had our own confirmation bias that. We were looking at them through the lens of compassionate understanding who we thought we knew them to be an of love and care. And of course, can you blame us for not being so quick to to believe that are these people we loved and cared about were capable of something like this. We were looking at them with a lot more willingness to imagine that this was a horrible accident. And so the the details look, very different all of us. Ultimately the. Ability to suss out the truth about who are friends really were. And the inability to see pastor own confirmation bias is wise. It got off Facebook so much of my. Engagement with John in particular was via Facebook. So I only saw what was represented there. But it it. Basically corroborated what I experienced when I witnessed them in person. So there was like there was nothing about the way that that Jen was presenting their life that seemed at all at odds with with my understanding of who they were a different police now than she was when she knew the hearts she's gotten to a point where she can picture Jen doing something like this. I'm imagining Jen having a moment of just feeling like. She'd kind of dug herself into some homeless. She would never be able to get out of that. I mean, I just feel like I can see her having kind of a moment of desperation imagining Sarah being maybe sleeping, maybe other kids being asleep to and her driving and her just like. You know, they only this is the only answer end. They're never gonna leave us alone. And the only answer the only way I can protect them or the only answer is to to to the awful thing. I'm gonna drive off the cliff. No matter what happened in the moments leading up to that crash back in March sippy thinks at the core of this tragedy. Is Jen a woman who had reached her breaking point? I feel like one of the things that has been totally. There has been no acknowledgement here as this is somebody who is desperate enough to kill herself. And to take the lives of all the people she cared about in the same breath. And what I wanna know is what? Led to that. What happened to John next time on broken hearts when you say specifically cured me. It was like is. He knew runaway. I saw Jennifer scolding. She went inside and left him standing out Ray. Wow. The Rockwall down. That's what we said. They're run. They're gone. And it was just like, oh God, I totally bought into. And I was just like. Just kill me. So I finally got the okay to call it. I made the call. And then here I sit. Broken hearts will be off next Tuesday, which is Christmas day. But look for a new episode on January first for access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reaches on Twitter at glamour MAG or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy uncle Lawrence. Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle, Pat singer and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on. Behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. Hi, I'm Ariel Casten. And I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs and failures and business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required. Making tough decisions. We'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen in subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Jen Facebook Sarah Bernie Sanders Ian Portland John Hart Marcus Jeremiah devante Abigail Oregon director of scheduling and adv apple iheartradio Mark Levin Justin Harman Pacific northwest YouTube Sperling murder
"Beautiful Black Boys"

Broken Harts

38:47 min | 2 years ago

"Beautiful Black Boys"

"If you haven't checked out my new series the end of the world with Josh Clark. The now's a great time to start the holidays are over the doldrums of winter had begun. And there's no better time to explore existentialist dread than right now. But wait, there's more to the end of the world than that. Yes. The series is about existential risks. But it's also about hope the threats that are coming our way that could wipe humans right out of existence. Could also be just the thing that makes us band together. In a way that humanity never has before in the end of the world. I take you on a journey across time and space from the moment and asteroid collided with earth and set off a chain of events that wiped out the dinosaurs to the post biological future where we live in a digital format. If we don't already we'll explore big questions like whether we're alone in the universe and exactly how artificial intelligence could take control of our world from us. It also has a beautiful score. For and cinematic sound design. So it's an adventure for your mind. Which is just the thing to snap. You out of the winter blondes all ten episodes of the end of the world with Josh Clark are available for you to binge now on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you get podcasts. One quick thing a week ago on Tuesday, January eighth two thousand nineteen the Mendocino county sheriff's office received word from the department of Justice that the foot discovered near the crash site in may was positively identified as belonging to Hannah Hart. It is now believed by officials that she died in the crash with her family. The notice reads, devante heart is still listed as missing person with the Mendocino county sheriff's office. The case remains open and active. Stay tuned for the latest installment of broken hearts. Before we begin today's episode. Listen, I feel compelled to address something we think is vitally important to the story. Were white. Liz is of Irish Catholic descent she has freckles is she thinks green. But I'd say are blue with a swirl of cinnamon. I am of Jewish descent. I have blonde hair and Hayes allies. We were both raised on the east coast. We both attended private colleges in the northeast. We're both mothers to white children for many reasons, we're not the ideal people to delve into the tricky and very problematic race issues that this case presents we'd also be remiss not to talk about these issues as their crucial to the larger sociocultural context of the story. In this episode. You'll hear from Nathaniel Davis who helped raise three of the heart kids before they were adopted and April Dinwoodie who is a transracial adoption expert here in New York and more from Shauna. Jones the lawyer who fought to keep Jeremiah devante and Sierra with their biological aunt. Each of these people has a different perspective on how race and bias may have played a role in the deaths of Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah and Sierra heart from glamour and how stuff works. This is broken hearts. I'm Justin Harman, and I'm Liz Egan. Before Jenin, Sarah heart adopted, their second set of siblings in two thousand nine devante, Jeremiah and Sierra had been devante D E V O N T A, Jeremiah J E R M I A H and Sierra C E R A Davis. They had lived in Houston, Texas with their older brother, Dante their mother, Sherry heard and her boyfriend Nathaniel Davis. Who's last name the children had taken even before Sherry Nathaniel got married in two thousand ten here's Muth annual. Oh, I was only. They took us for me and selling to mom rubble and removed from there to Trump to kill the audio quality. Here isn't great but Netanyahu saying that he was the only dad those kids ever had and that CPS removed the siblings from his and cherries care when Sierra was born in two thousand five the children lived briefly with his brother he says before all three entered the Texas foster care system Nathaniel remembers, the three younger siblings personalities. Well, even though he hasn't seen them in over a decade J be used Sierra. Jeez. Allow time to run to always to which it. Remember Nathaniel wasn't the only family these kids had before and Sarah Hart adopted devante, Jeremiah and Sierra in two thousand nine there aunt Priscilla fought hard to get them out of foster care Priscilla hired Houston, attorney shonda Jones to help her plead her case and was successful in having them returned to her care. She even moved to a new house to accommodate the children, but it decision to let their mom. Sheri, watched the kids while Priscilla went to work resulted in the kids being removed from the home, Sherry had a well documented substance abuse problem, according to court records, she was a crack cocaine abuser and was forbidden contact with the kids and CPS exercised a no tolerance policy. The children had only lived with their aunt for five and a half months. Priscilla's decision to at the kids. Mom, babysit was a bad judgment call. Yes. But Sean says the. Tenor of the court proceedings. Stands out in her twenty two years as an attorney. The father's rights terminated because he had back a hall problems and the mother had drug problems. And so that's why their rights were terminated which. I don't take issue with that. I think you know, and that instant that was uprooted thing to do. I always take issue with this case is the harsh manner. The way that they dealt with Masella scene. The presiding judge for that court was Patrick Shelton. Who is now retired in response to questions about how the hearts were allowed to adopt. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra after an allegation of child abuse had already been made against them. He pointed to the lack of criminal charges in the state of Minnesota Shelton told criminal Justice site, the appeal unless there's a criminal charge. What can you do believe it or not kids get bruises that do not get beat Shelton? Also denies reports that he or his associate judge favored non-relative adoptions over placement with family members. The agency that facilitated Jenin Sarah's adoption of Davis siblings. Closed in two thousand eleven it was called the permanent family resource center. The offices were located on a commercial grade of land in Fergus falls, Minnesota, which is about a fifteen minute drive from Alexandria, where the women lived until two thousand thirteen an archived version of the now defunct website says it was started in two thousand by three families who had adopted eight children out of the child welfare system. According to a twenty eight page report filed by the Minnesota department of human services in September two thousand nine only months after Jenin Sarah officially adopted their second set of siblings to the agency the permanent family resource center was placed on conditional status after crewing seventeen licensing violations, the violations ranged from failing to submit paperwork to failure to complete proper back. Checks on families in the past ten years. The Minnesota has only issued three conditional licenses for child placement agencies back win the hearts were clients, the permanent family resource center. Ran the waiting children program. A service that provided families in Minnesota and North Dakota with access to foster kids living in Texas, Washington. Ohio, Idaho, Oregon, Ella -fornia and Florida. The website reads children in this program are living in foster homes or residential facilities and termination of parental rights has occurred. They are legally available for adoption the average wait for child after approval of the home assessment is between six months and three years. It took Jenin Sarah Hart less than a year to legally. Adopt. Devante Jeremiah in Sierra. Or field reporter Lawrence Miley reached out to three former permanent family resource center, employee's about how these children were matched with the hearts as we record this episode. Those emails have not yet been returned. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra stepdad Daniel Davis still has a hard time. Understanding why Jenin Sarah were able to adopt. The children will also being under investigation on allegations of child abuse long moving on key out, it takes he goes on to say, I'm going to tell you why they figured we were poor didn't have nothing to fight them with. They should have given other people in opportunity to adopt them kids after devante, Jeremiah and Sierra were removed from Priscilla scenes care shonda says she barely had a chance to say goodbye to the children. She had cared for for the past several months, but bigmouth elephant maybe thaw them one last time, both Nathaniel and shonda believed the institute. Utilized bias may have informed the court's decision Atma complete feeling that they already had made up their mind almost like you're just wasting their time you're in the way. And it's like this is supposed to be a judicial system where you weigh evidence. Why would you be so emotional and so angry over somebody doing their job? Because this lady wanted to make sure that she kept her niece and nephews and not allow them to go off. And she never see them again in life despite trying to find out more details regarding the siblings adoption shonda says she was never given more information about their placement family, something they should with Brian Fisher was a children's attorney. And he said he would have to fly to Minneapolis. So they sent the kids out of state, and they didn't even make sense. Anyway, as you just Texas is that there's no one why is it this effort to up get these kids out of Texas when Lauren reached Brian Fischer over the phone in August to ask about the case. He said only, no. Ma'am. No, ma'am. No, ma'am. Adoptions are sealed in Texas. Goodbye. It wasn't until March of this year. When shonda saw reports of the crash on TV that she realized what had happened to. Devante Jeremiah and Sierra and who got custody of them so many years ago, I was sitting here in office. And I was looking at the news. I heard them say Minneapolis, the mimic the devante. And then that's when I said, oh my God. Those are the kid shonda called Priscilla to break the news when I finally made the connection which just our fide, and I hate to admit she's somebody who can't listen to lot of bad things that happened. I called her around like eleven o'clock at night. I ask have you heard about that case where that those kids driven off the cliff and she said no show. She says she couldn't hear what I was about to tell her. So I called it back next day. And that's when I revealed to her they were driven off the cliff, and you know, she she she just. She didn't want except that she always thought that the kids are in a better place. But she was you know, she was devastated. Devastated. Like, so many people who learned the fate of Marcus Hanna. Devante Abigail, Jeremiah and Sierra heart Shantou takes issue with the disconnect between the facts and emerged on paper and the fiction. Jen heart presented on Facebook. She recalls reading about a particular post in which Jen called out the racism, her children, experienced on a regular basis kilter being used to prop rented article where think one of their Dopp Demong to fish. She was in a store. She was checking out an older white Donen as this past year. Who was also Cajun we're having this discussion about devante asking him something about where he was going to play sports. And I don't believe for one moment that that conversation took place that never happened. We scour Jen hearts Facebook feed and sure enough opposed from November two thousand fourteen refers to the interaction the post reads, quote, we were standing in the grocery checkout line and. Elderly man was standing at the end of the bagging area conversing with the woman checking us out. He spots are son looks him up and down man colon. I can tell you are going to be a baseball player when you grow up son pauses tilts his head and gives a closed mouth grin. Actually, no baseball, isn't really my thing. The post goes on like this a little bit with the woman bagging groceries in what gender scribes as a befuddled. Nearly honest voice. Saying, quote, what I have never Medicaid that looks like you that doesn't play sports and the man agreeing with a chuckle, right? Never. They all do gentleman's having to watch her child be subjected to ongoing racial stereotyping, but doesn't step in. Instead, she says her son responds. Well, of course, you've never met a kid like me, I'm one of a kind. I'm going to be myself. No matter how much people try to make me something. I am not. She adds at the end. I think this kid will be all right. No matter what is tossed at him. This kind of storytelling from gen may seem benign at first, but when it factors into an ongoing pattern of isolation and chronic abuse, the narrative takes on a sinister undertone Jenin Sarah Hart had taken six black kids from Houston. One of the most diverse cities in America and moved them. From one rural town to the next for context. A two thousand seventeen cents is report found that woodland Washington. The last place the hearts lived is at least ninety two percent white only point three percent of Woodland's population is black. You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. We're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts. Friends of the heart often recount the stories Jannine Sarah told about how unwelcoming their neighbors were how much abuse this unconventional family faced and how insane it was for them at times. Bill Groner live next door to them in west linn, Oregon where the population is eighty nine percent. White Bill believes that maintaining a sense of fear might have helped Jenin Sarah, keep the ongoing abuse under wraps. He spent the past four years playing keyboard at mount olive Baptist church in north Portland. The website for mount olive it claims. The church was built in one thousand nine hundred seven from lumber provided by the Ku Klux Klan to keep the African American organization on what they deemed the proper Sida town for the record Bill is white always played music in church play at an African American troops will aware about you'll racism may be covert rather than over even if it's kind of almost sublime. I could see parents wanting to protect the kids. Always that. Maybe that's part of why the told the kids to kind of not be overly conversational or friendly with neighbors because people could secretly harbor prejudice against you. But when you read more about what's what actually happened? I don't think they want the kids to tell what was going on. I think that's really part of the deal 'cause all would have taken one kid come over and say, I'm hungry. Could I have some food for me to call children's services Greiner? If only one who noted the way, the heart women, especially gen would cut their family off from outsiders, but they're festival friend. Ian, Sperling only came to that realization after they died. It's like, okay. So we have some date set up. They cancelled like let's plan a play date at the park last Tuesday. Oh, yeah. That'd be great. And then the day comes. Hey, we're not going to be around. You know? A few little things here. And there that you know, we never thought anything more about now looking back. It's like she was shielding them from being close to people. I felt like we were really close with them. But at the same time are they like our family that just stops by all the time. You know, not at all now looking back. There was some dumb omens there. The in particular, like, Marcus, Marcus in Jeremiah, they were very reserved and almost stoic in nature. And then when you talked to boom snap into a smile snap into personality. And then boom, right when you stopped talking to go right back to still face got closer than most back in June two thousand eighteen our field reporter, Lauren. Tuck to Ken WADA, K an activist who started the free hugs project. Ken. I reached out to the family when he saw that viral image of devante hugging. Police officer at the black lives matter rally, he thought perhaps he could mentor. The boy, here's Lauren Ken wate K. I held a free hug sign at the Boston marathon. In twenty fourteen. He soon extended his campaign for peace and racial understanding to black lives matter rallies in college campuses across the country. When devante photo when fire all six months, later, Ken social media lit up can read about how devante white moms. You'll so notice the boys curious outfit fedora hat leather, peacoat and wise looking face the age of which was hard to peg. He sent a direct message to jen's account on Facebook. When his photo of him holding free hook sign and crying in front of the officer. When that went viral, my social media went crazy because it was the second time and African American was showing like that in regards to law enforcement, and that's what my work of the free hugs project, really begins. And so shortly after devante hearts photo comes. Out with him holding that for young site in front of a police officer and getting all of these emails from people saying, can you work is spreading look at the impact of that. You're having even on young people and so right away. I felt like I need to meet this kid. And so I started searching online and the made contact with their family via Facebook. Devante benefit from having a black male figure in his life. In fact, it was something he himself had craved growing up. I was raised by Seibel mother. And I appreciate my mother in all of the strength is she had to raise four boys and my sister, but my higher life. I longed for a father. Originally can thought he was messing with devante. But then it became clear he was chatting with an adult Jen over Facebook. She said she preferred her children live what she called a private lifestyle. Understandable, really how many parents out there willingly connect their young children with strangers over the internet, and after the amount of attention that photo solicited all the more reason to be protective still the two remained friends on Facebook a choice Ken now believes was intentional on jen's part. Kind of intercepted that potential friendship or connection. We could have had it wasn't until after that. I was like, oh now it all makes sense. You wanted them to live a private lifestyle because if he would have started sharing with me food was being withheld. She kept a very close circle of people. She can kind of play this role with fit everything is. Okay. And so then the truth one get out or they wouldn't believe it back when we started looking into this story. We wanted to better understand what it takes to make a blended family like the hearts work in the real world. Lauren spoke with April Dinwiddie, a transracial adoption expert and the former executive director of the Donaldson adoption institute. It didn't what he's expertise and transracial adoption starts close to home. She was adopted out of foster care as a toddler by a white family in Rhode Island the way your family dealt. With their racial differences was to not talk about race at all as an adult hungry to connect with black culture. April move to Harlem, she became CEO of the Donaldson adoption institute and mentors kids of color who are adopted by white families. She used to host a workshop called what my white parents did it. No. And why I turned out. Okay. Anyway. April vocal about the flaws in the adoption system. More often than not professionals are underpaid black children are represented not enough. Attention is paid the bias training. Sometimes adoptions are rushed. If you look at what tends to happen when it comes to data states can have a vents of not leaving young people in foster care for a long time. So things get rushed. So sometimes termination of rental rights happens too quickly sometimes in adoption happens too quickly. She also believes that the American perception of adoption is binary adoptive. Parents are good parents who can't take care of their children bad. She says not enough attention is paid to the grey areas that exist what kind of words come up when he think of parents who have their rights terminated poor drug abusers addicts, you know, all these really loaded terms. And then you say what comes up for you with parents? Who adopt family love safety. And then even when you look at you know, families parents relinquish voluntarily. There is a much warmer feeling about that versus parent from have their rights terminated. It's something that we have in bedded in our perceptions like Shana Jones, April believes that the system may have favored the hearts, the family like the hearts, I could see how they would be very appealing within the Fusco system. Very peeling. She says there is no way to discuss this case without taking a hard look at what she calls the deep layers of racism within the child welfare system, the somebody issues of just racism in raising class differences. It's just hard not to have that just be so front and center, you know, you have an aunt who's ready willing and able and you've got families that are struggling for whatever reason and doing what they can to rehabilitate in their people of color, and then you've got white family resources available, and you can see it coming. So clearly. No that that this is how this would play out minced Atushi racism within child welfare. Is there? There's no question as a woman of color who is taken in by white. Parents APRIL's uniquely aware of the challenges of transracial, adoption, how important questions about identity can get glossed over or how child may grow to feel embitterment toward their birth culture. Or is if they're stuck between two worlds, first and foremost, they should be living in diverse areas with examples teachers and community members friends close friends of the family that are people of color like you just can't raise a Brown or black kid in a situation where they're one of a few people of color is just not safe anymore. Son emotionally, save is not physically safe. So I think I four formal they should be living in diverse areas in Paris to be uncomfortable. Right. Like white parents need to make it their business to go and be in places where they're the minority. So they can get a little bit of a sense of what their kid feels ultimately she believes jen's multiple pleased for racial, understanding and. On Facebook, not to mention the family's presence at protests was self congratulatory. Just remember looking at devante face went back into the two thousand fourteen right? It was like it just struck man. I had no idea on a new idea that he was a young person that was involved in foster system. But but something didn't sit right into so much pain and not and it just felt like if felt uncomfortable to me on a sleigh. Just just did. And then to find out his backstory, and this tragic end to his life. It just enforces. This idea that parents do operate this way. Which is in a look what we did were symbols of, you know, racial harmony, and our kids are are evidence of that. And it's just really really uncomfortable in exploitive in. Heartbreaking, and it's really calculated. Right. Was it calculated or was it ignorant? If you read jen's heartfelt words on the topic of systemic racism. You might find yourself impressed by her conviction on July seventh two thousand sixteen. She took to Facebook to air her frustrations. My beautiful black boys. She wrote alongside a picture of Jeremiah and devante smiling in hoodies and beanies. We talk endlessly about realities of this world, so much beauty so much pain and suffering. These boys live and lead with love. But I will never deny them their human right to be frustrated sad and angry about the perpetual violence and murder of people of color, my feed is filled with people white and POC that want to help make a difference. But are completely at a loss of what to do. Opening up and breaking the silence is a start because white silence is black death. If that statement makes uncomfortable. I'm not sorry. Black pain matters. Black anger matters. Black lives matter. Back in two thousand seven after Jannine, Sarah Dopp, did Marcus Hanna and Abigail a caseworker visited the women's home in Minnesota her findings were positive. She recommended that Jannine Sarah be allowed to adopt a sibling group up to five more children. Her report filed on July eleventh two thousand seven read the hearts are open to any race gender. Although they would prefer to have at least one boy in the sibling group Jenin Sarah have adopted by racial children. And they have the tools and knowledge to adopt more children from the African American heritage. They are prepared to advocate for their children and to secure the necessary services to support their family over the course of our reporting Lauren has reviewed over eight hundred pages of material from the Clark county sheriff's office in Washington. Among the documents are official caseworker reports and personal emails from the heart women, and it appears they did. Try at least at first to create a nurturing and culturally aware home for their children before they even received the first set of kids generated an Email in January two thousand six tour adoption agency caseworker talking about having set up an appointment with a child psychologist who she calls. Simply the best of the best gen- wrote. We registered him ace app because there's a waiting list about three or four months out. They talked about enrolling Marcus in special education. Jen calls the school. The most diverse in the district. A caseworker wrote up a conversation. She had with Jen reflecting on the transracial adoption homework. Jen had completed about places and people African American kids could identify with it said the gen had identified the black student union at a local university. The caseworker writes about Jen just purchase a couple more children's books about African American. Heritage one book is called. Martin's big words about Martin Luther King in pictures that were released of the inside of the hearts home in Washington. Their home, libraries showed what looked like African masks hung on the wall, the book collection included books like Mandela and the immortal life of Henry at a lex. Another thing that really stood out was back in March two thousand nine Email to some friends. This is after the adoption of the second set of kids Jensen's how well the kids are doing and mentioned the maternal aunt trying to get the kids back. Gen wrote the kids are all doing swell. I don't know why they insist on growing up on me Sierra will be four next month, Abby and Jeremiah five now, devante six Hannah seven and Marcus ten devante. Jeremiah Sierra are doing credibly. Well, you wouldn't know they are the same kids that came to our home nine months ago. I'm so proud of them for all they have -ccomplish in such a short time. We finalize their adoption last month. Thank goodness. I have been a ball of Zion. He just waiting for that data come until a couple months ago. A maternal aunt was still trying to get them back long story. Happy ending or beginning. I'm Ariel Casten. I'm Jonathan Strickland and together we're going to tell you the stories behind some of the biggest triumphs and failures and business. That's right. We're going to explore situations that tested the medal of entrepreneurs pivotal moments required making decisions we'll be talking about some big companies that everybody knows like Disney LEGO and Harley Davidson and together we try to answer the question. What do you do when you find yourself at the brink? Listen and subscribe at apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Two thousand fifteen evaluation of data on six hundred children adopted Minnesota examined whether being raised by someone of a different race is inherently damaging and the conclusion was no Emma Hamilton, the lead author and a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the university of Texas at Austin, put it this way. Being raised by someone of a different race is not inherently damaging to the development of the adoptees. But much depends on how white parents talk about race with their children of color and help them identify with people of their own race this mirrors. What April Dinwoodie has found in her personal and professional life. You'll will have to become an activist. And I think true activists one that goes into the school and says black and Brown kids or just funded higher rates. You've gotta make yourself known to say, hey, not my kid really got it become in. No, a champion of your child safety physically and emotionally. I think the hearts tried to sort of like put that idea out there of like racial kind of coming together. But it was like very very superficial and uncomfortable, frankly, and how they paraded the children around just that not what that looks like what really looks like when you embrace bringing a child of Clarence your family and your white family better people like your kid. Community better, you know, really authentic and the way because up unto learning about birth family. Like, you know, there are a lot of ethnicities and cultures within black and white people and Brown people. So it's kind of like you have some information. So that you actually know what you're can may have been experiencing in their birth family. In so many ways the mythologies Jenin Sarah Hart told about their children had their intended effect. They told people the kids were crack babies a nineteen eighties term now widely debunked. People believed them for April Dinwiddie these stories are evidence of white savior ISM, the idea that white people can swoop in and fix non white people. One of those things that really just makes me so angry because at the end of the day, it may well be true that these young people come with those traumatic experiences that manifest in behavioral health issues. Back means about family needs more. Support knows those parents who are going to tear those children need not use that as as any form of excuse or even be talking about private things about their children, unless it's with a licensed therapist that draws so much suspicion and so much just a motion around the fact that that would be utilized as a way to mask some of the abuse neglect that was happening within the whole it system. Just disturbing inspir- alling. Now sees how the use of loaded terms like crack babies may have helped reinforce certain narrative. Everyone was very envious of them because of how they could pull this off how they can raise six quote, unquote, developmentally delayed children. Good view. Nice work. You say, you know, that was the narrative always, you know, we talked extensively about it. So it was just like, you know, she had a very detailed story about how they were opted and what they went through prior. There's a lot of white sceviour 'isms symbolic in this story. Now that I never understood or knew about trying to build this portrait of a, you know, idealistic situation or these white ladies came in and safety six black children. Which just me? It's tough. We love those kids so much. Okay. So sorry. jenin. Sarah's artfully spun stories were alarmingly effective. They neatly explained away some of the kids strange behavior while also reinforcing a cocoon of silence around what happened behind closed doors. The kept the kids from being able to connect with people who had similar backgrounds. They kept the neighbors from interfering. These stories even prevented the children from me in touch with their own flesh, and blood and most importantly, these stories insured that the voices of the heart. Children were never ever heard. if you suspect to child is being abused. Call one eight hundred four H child that's one eight hundred numeral four A C H I L D or visit child help dot org to find out how to report your concerns. Next time on broken hearts when I realized that she was on school. There's no way in hell. Those kids are learning. I mean, really party came here. Don, scoured bluffs with fancy helicopters and airplanes and boats. I can't even magic how many miles he walked on those beaches and bluffs and drove around and sat on that cliff with binoculars day after day after day after they remember making this comment like you're like an abused wife. And she just kind of gave me this look like, no kidding. For access to exclusive photos and videos and documents about the case, visit glamour dot com slash broken hearts have questions for us about this podcast reach us on Twitter at glamour MAG or at broken hearts pot. If you like what you heard leave us a review broken hearts is a joint production between glamour and how stuff works with new episodes dropping every Tuesday broken hearts is co hosted and co written by Justin Harman and Elizabeth Egan and edited by Wendy Nakal, Lawrence Miley is our field. Reporter Samantha berry is glamorous editor in chief. Julie Chen and Deanna buckman head up the business side of this partnership. Joyce Pendle pet singer and Luke Celeski our research team Jason Hoke is executive producer on behalf of how stuff works along with producers, Julian Weller, Ben key, brick and Josh state special. Thanks, jen. Lance. You know, people say necessity is the mother of invention. But that's not always true. Sometimes the mother of invention is advertising. Yeah. Or pure accident. How about ego maniacal delusion? Absolutely. Or just a desperate longing. To be cool. I'm Robert lamb, and I'm Joe McCormick. We're the host of the science podcasts stuff to blow your mind. And now we're branching off into the exploration of invention. Invention is the story of human history told one piece of technology at a time the things we made and how they made us invention publishes every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts.

Jeremiah jenin Jen Jannine Sarah Marcus Hanna Facebook Jeremiah Sierra shonda Jones Sierra Devante Abigail Sarah Hart Lauren Ken wate K. apple Texas Nathaniel Davis Minnesota Jeremiah devante Houston Sherry Nathaniel reporter
Carl Zimmer on Defining Life

The Book Review

59:06 min | 4 months ago

Carl Zimmer on Defining Life

"The number one bestseller becoming michelle. Obama is now in paperback in an especial adaptation for young readers in this new edition. Mrs obama doesn't sugarcoat her story and writes feelings like discomfort and struggle are signs that were doing the hard work of discovering the greatest truths about ourselves becoming is always a journey. Let's share that journey. But someone you love all editions of becoming by michelle. Obama are available wherever books. Audio books are sold. How do we define life. Carl zimmer will join us to talk about his new book life's edge the search for what it means to be alive. What was so and transformative about the barbs on hotel. Paulina brand will be here to talk about. Barbara's on the hotel set women free. Plus my colleagues. And i will talk about what we're reading. This is the book review podcast from the new york times. It's april second i'm pamela. Paul and carl. Zimmer joins us now. He is a columnist for the new york times and he is the author of many books. He was last on the podcast for his book. She has her mother's laugh. His new book is called. Life's edge the search for what it means to be alive. Carl thanks for being here. Thanks for having me all right so right now. You're kinda busy. You've been reporting on corona virus for the times. What is that leg. It's kind of overwhelming You know i am kind of startled that you know the whole world wants to read what we at. The scientists have to write about. You know this virus. But i will remember this experience of the past year for the rest of my life really. It's been exceptional as a as a moment in science journalism as a science journalist. Is this an area that you had been looking at for years and years. Were you especially interested in epidemiology or was this sort of switching gears for you. I've had a obsession with viruses for a long time. I'm actually wrote a book called the planet of viruses a few years ago. So you know. I've reported on ebola and influenza over the years of have done the virus thing. And so you know i i felt like well i can bring my experience to bear on this and and so basically it just started doing the same kind of reporting about this virus but now of course this is a virus that was causing a kind of pandemic that we have not seen for one hundred years. You're not the only journalist covering this pandemic obviously not even the only journalists covering this pandemic on the scientists at the times. How do you all kind of divide it up. Do you have an area in particular that you are looking at specifically yet. None of us can do this alone absolutely and we have to really roll with the punches. You know i was focusing a lot on vaccines for example in the fall overseeing our tracker and then we started to to see these variants were popping up. Then we're of serious concern so i basically had to carve out some time to work on variants but mental really. My colleague has also been writing about various. Like crazy and ben muller and we actually have several people who who just try to keep up with the variants. You know and and there are other people who are handling the store. All the stories of vaccine distribution geopolitics and long cova. There be other people handling that. It's it's such an enormous story. What about it most interest you personally. Well i'm most interested in in The pandemic ending besides that that and not being sick. Yes yeah is unsettling jim how this pandemic has played out exactly. As scientists had warned it would for decades. This is exactly what they told us was going to be happening. That there was going to be a virus that spilled over from a wild animal and that if we wouldn't really stay on top of that stay ahead of it that it could wreak havoc so the fact that we were warned for so long about this is pretty disheartening. On the other hand it has been marvelous to see the development of vaccines. This is like nothing that's happened in the history of science to to have really own vaccines and under a year. It's amazing all right. So i want to segue into the subject of your book which is of course. What is life. How do we define it by talking. A little bit about the corona virus and the vaccine and the question is is a corona virus and this coronavirus specifically alive and is the vaccine alive. Are you putting something that is live into your body when you get that injection so for some with the vaccine i think that no. I think we can agree that the vaccine is not alive. There are different kinds of vaccines that people can get. There are some vaccines that are just chemically inactivated viruses in other cases they're just little protein fragments and instill other cases we actually for the pfizer. Moderna vaccine you're actually getting a little bit of serve genetic instructions so that you can make a viral protein. That's not a full blown viruses just enough to teach her immune system how to recognize the virus when it shows up but as for the coronavirus itself. Well it doesn't awful lot of things that we consider the hallmarks of life so for example it can evolve. We're seeing that right. Now it evolved into a human pathogen and it is now evolving through these variants into a better adapted human pathogen. So there's no question that it can evolve. It can do other. Things like like replicate for example so one virus goes into a cell and thousands or a million viruses. Come out so the problem. Is that a coronavirus. Have if you if you crack. Open that that shell and look inside. You're only going to see a packet of jeans. That's it so there's no metabolism going on inside. You know a virus does not eat anything. It doesn't grow it delivers its genes into a cell and the cell basically take it from there so people have debated over whether viruses are alive for for years and many say no. They're not alive because they don't have a whole list of hallmarks other people say well. You can't just cut them off like that. They're so important to life so it's actually a huge debate. What do you think. I think they're a part of life. They're part of the living world. I think that when we try to define life by some list we are getting ourselves into trouble. Accidentally causes a huge amount of confusion and not just for viruses. There are all sorts of other cases where we're left scratching your head whether things are alive or not if we just use a shopping list to define life all right. Well that leads to a lot of other questions. I if we don't use a shopping list what do we use well. There are actually philosophers who have argued that maybe we should just try not to define life at all in fact that maybe we're getting ourselves into trouble one thing that's kind of amazing is as i write about in life said. Is that if you look. For a definition of life from scientists you will find hundreds of them hundreds of published definitions. That are different from each other and every year new one comes out or maybe two and they just keep going. There was a paper. I read not too long ago. That said that there probably as many definitions of life as people who are trying to define life and so maybe we should be doing the hard work of running experiments and just taking measurements and so on and looking at things that we consider alive and wait for a real theory of life to emerge. We're sort of like alchemists who are trying to understand water before the theory of chemistry will earlier. You mentioned when we were talking about the coronavirus that it bears some of the hallmarks of life. What are some of those hallmarks presumably. These are things that exist. Many of those lists throughout history. Yeah i mean there's definitely a list of things that come up again and again and again and i highlight a few of them in life's edge and i present some some really exemplary species. Just do a great job of each one. So metabolism for example is one how living things take in food or nutrients or what have you and basically create fuel and biomass and turn some of that into waste and get rid of it. My favorite example is snakes pythons which you can just swallow an animal whole equal to its own weight and then suddenly like just break down over the next few days. I mean it's metabolic. It's insane another one is a kind of that is like living. Things have an inner balance. With called a homeo- stasis you and i are body temperature stays incredibly steady even if we step outside words code our blood sugar levels stay steady. We maintain this the steady inner environment and and it seems that life needs that. So you have you know maybe three or four of these hallmarks that themselves are fascinating and mysterious put. The question is well are hallmarks enough for us. To agree on what life is and argued there not are they're exceptions to some of these hallmarks in other words other things that are alive or seem to be alive. That don't have homies. Well you know viruses don't and so that's why some people would say well then that means they're not alive but you know i would say that most actually mean most bacteria plants animals you know are able to keep their own. Form of homeo- stasis reproduction is an interesting example. Let's just say like there's a rabbit in your yard one rabbit okay. That rabbit on its own cannot reproduce but just can't they need another rabbit and so you might say. Oh well okay. But it's a species that can that can reproduce. Okay fine. But i can give you another counter example to that. For example there's a fish and southwest. United states called amazon molly. They're all female. They produce clones of themselves but they have to mate with the male of a related fish species in order for this to happen. They don't actually use the males. Dna they just have to do the meeting to get the process going. So scientists sometimes call them sexual parasites so that host species cannot reproduce by itself. So is the amazon molly. Light while you go get it splashing around the water. You'd say well of course alive but it doesn't hit all the marks and so again and again you will find these exceptions to whatever rules you come up with wait. I'm stuck on the amazon molly for a second can up to just any fish doesn't matter it doesn't need to even be close to species and have sex with it and then no actually the reason that it has. This bizarre lifestyle has to do with the bizarre origin of the species so about three hundred thousand years ago to be. She's of fish mated and produced a hybrid and suddenly boom. You had an amazon molly. A totally new species which then proceeded to reproduce this bizarre way called parthenogenesis where just a female that produces daughters that are identical to itself. It has to mate with a male from one of those parental species so it lives alongside them and seeks out those males and mates with them and then goes about its business and making clones of itself. It's extraordinary it's it's it's what makes biology so wonderful. Are these crazy exceptions to the rule. But you know when we we're trying to figure out what would life we can't just have some exceptions or two floating out there like this. We have to be thinking about life more broadly. So you're asking crushed question in this book and you're looking at the ways in which people have tried to answer it. Thus far with a checklist or looking at hallmarks are trying to have a very specific definition. But you're also saying that maybe we shouldn't try to answer it or maybe we can answer in that way. Yeah well. I look back in the book. Over centuries of struggle to address this there was actually a physician and chemist named george stall who in seventeen eight was talking about basically talking about the goal of science and the said above all else it comes down to this to know what is life so people have been trying to answer that question since stalls time and you can see how they have different versions of an answer. So people like stalls believe that there was some kind of you could call like a vital force that that set life apart from non life but then chemists came along. They're like well. We can actually like show you that all these like unusual chemicals in our bodies we can. We can make them from scratch. So what's the difference and so people started thinking about life in terms of a special sort of biochemistry. And then when genetics came along that started to become the way that people define life and so as we come to understand biology better definitions evolve along with it. But you we're just nowhere near a consensus. Where is the leading science right now. Where if the last thing was said genetics genetics. What is driving the search for this. Answer right now. I think some of the most interesting work is going on looking at life as as a phenomenon of matter and you know saying like okay well you know you have some matter. That develops a superconductivity. That's where suddenly the resistance to electric current disappears in material. So physicists are fascinated by that. Physicists are also fascinated by life in the way that it defies a lot of the sort of standard rules of physics and they're trying to develop explanations for it so well one. I spoke to name. Sarah walker has essentially phrase it as you know. Life is what happens when information takes control of matter in other words that there's a flow of information through sells. Not just what's stored in our dna but the way that basically are ourselves are integrated to take in information and process it so that might be the key again. It's an idea that she and others developing a theory. But you know those are the kinds of big ideas that could eventually lead us to a theory of life you've talked about. I think some of these sort of borderlands of life these areas that we're not quite able to define if it's live or not and one of the examples that you mentioned the book is is the idea of an apple. I have to ask that question. I mean is an apple attached to trees. Obviously alive is a plucked apple alive. It's no longer connected to its roots. I it's no longer connected to the leaves of the tree you know so. It's not getting that from. The sun is not getting nutrients from the roots. It's it's got cells inside him in the cells are kind of going about their business but it is kind of hard to define exactly what it is at that point and we can look within ourselves as well so take you know red blood cells for example like they're really important. We take away a red blood cells and we're dead however like is it red blood cell itself alive. You take a red blood cell out of us. It's not going to do very well. Not only that. If you look inside red bud sal. People sometimes don't realize it has no jeans. Red blood cells develop from stem cells. But along the way they just lose the dna and so they're just like little factories that you know. Carry out important jobs but if we think about genes as being essential to life while they don't have a so again and again we we have these things that we're where our language fails us. I mean we're inside the human body right now so staying there for a moment. One of the ways in which this question arises at least in a kind of political context is defining life conception defining when a fetus is alive or not. Did you look into that at all. Yes because i think that When we think about life we don't just think about rabbits or amazon molly's but we think about ourselves we think about well. You know we are alive and we tried to draw lines around that life. When when does that life begin and when does that life and certainly this is what drives a lot of political conflict in a country like the united states. I think that there is actually a lot of sort of misunderstanding of what actually is happening to the early stages of development that leads to claim such as life begins at conception dat just does not comport with what goes on biologically speaking that egg and sperm before fertilization. They're both alive in the sense that they've both got jeans metabolising. They can sense their environments. They're they're alive. And you know when the sperm fertilizes the gets not as if suddenly you have this completely distinct new genome that somehow you could use to draw a line actually the genes of the father and the mother. Actually we're kind of independently for awhile inside the fertilized egg. They're not integrated yet. And as you follow along development you know you find all sorts of other challenges to any sort of simplistic way that we think we can draw a line and say well life starts here. There's also a lot of debate around what death is. And i'm curious you know between brain dead or biologically dead. Can you study what it is to be alive without also looking at what does it mean to be dead. I think that life and death there are intimately connected in terms of what each one means. There was a french physician. Names heavier be shot. Who in the late. Seventeen hundreds define life as the means by which death is resisted. So once you can no longer resist death. Life is gone. We are faced with a a real challenge in the modern age in terms of understanding death. Because we have tools to keep the body quote unquote alive. We have ventilators. For example that can keep people alive whose brains are so damaged. They would not be able to to stay without them. So we've come to define brain death legally as the equivalent of death for us A human life is really defined by the brain not not by just metabolism or a heartbeat. If there's no brain there's no consciousness than whereas the life at that point this then leads to lots of conflicts. I mean there have been court cases about this and you know some people will say like no well as long as you know. My child's heart is beating. She is still alive and so we have not resolved this either since we don't have a definitive answer to this basic question of what is life. What is the provisional answer. I mean you're science journalist so you're always trying to come up with at least you know do all the reporting and come up with sort of the best answer. What is the best answer right now. The most persuasive there are working definitions. That are work okay. So for example nasa has defined life as a self sustaining chemical system. That's capable of darwinian evolution. That's alright. I gas and that's a pretty good guide for them for what they do. You know what they do is they. Send probes to other planets and moons and one of their objectives is to see if there is life elsewhere. So you kind of have to have a rough idea what you're looking for but you know there have been people who've argued. Well you know it is conceivable at least that maybe life doesn't have to be exactly that. So who knows. Like what if we go someplace and are looking for life in it staring us in the face and we just can't see it because we are hampered by definitions. So i actually you know spoke with a astrobiologists visited her and her lab at the jet propulsion laboratory in california. I asked her well. What's your definition of life. And she's like i try to avoid one was like really. She's like yeah like she would really love to send a probe to a moon of saturn called enceladus covered in ice. And there's a big water ocean inside and there's something interesting going on there and she's like look maybe we get there and it looks like something that we could comfortably call life but maybe not. I would love that too. You know if. There's some really interesting chemistry. I just wanna see it. you know. Maybe it's on the process of developing into life. Maybe who knows. I don't want to be hemmed in. By definition i like that. So it's it's just total comfort with not having a definitive answer. Yeah it feels weird. It feels like you know. You're you're on a tight rope without without a net but you know for for an astrobiologists lorry barge you i featuring life's edge. They're like no. I don't think it really helps me. Do you feel like as a as a reporter looking into this. As a journalist has the The author of this book does that. Answer work for you. I think it works pretty well. And i have to say that it feels okay to me. Not just because i spoke to a lot of scientists for this book would also talk with philosophers philosophers. Have a lot of important things to say about. Science and how science is done philosophers think about the meaning of the words that we use the the the way that we reason about things the concepts that we use and they really they point out that you know life you know maybe we should think about life like we think about games. Ludwig wittgenstein the austrian philosopher. Pointed out that we all know what a game is but you would really have a hard time coming up with a clear cut definition of one. Because you could always find an exception games are just so different from each other in so many different ways but that still doesn't stop us from going to a toy store and buying a game and we what we do. Is we recognize games by what he might call a family resemblance. There's this network of similarities. So maybe we should think of life like that more like kind of a family resemblance than of some definitive definition. That you can look up in dictionary. Alright well very interesting questions and some answers. Not all karl. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks for having me. Carl's immerse book is life's edge the search for what it means to be alive. Bank of america is proud to support hemingway the new documentary about legendary american writer. Ernest hemingway from directors. Ken burns and lynn novick the three part film series reveals the complexities of the man behind the myth and his influence on literature. That endures to this day. Tune in or stream on pbs. Monday april fifth at eight seven central and visit bank of america dot com slash hemingway to learn more. That's bank of america dot com slash hemingway bank of america and a member. Fdic equal credit opportunity lender kevin roose. I'm a tech columnist at the new york times so today. I'm writing about these things. Called non fungible tokens which are a kind of crypto currency collectible that artists and musicians are using to make millions of dollars by selling one of a kind digital art to their fans. That sounds kind of crazy but it matters like this is how the world works now. The internet is changing everything. And it's my job to dig into all of those changes and explain why they matter so whether it's recapping the latest viral tick tock craze or spending months going down a rabbit hole of internet extremism. I'm trying to distill all of this complexity into something that people can understand subscribers support all of this work so please join us and subscribe to the new york times. You can do that at ny. Times dot com slash. Subscribe joining us now. To celebrate the one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary of the new york times book review. Tina jordan eighteen pamela. So what brought you. Today is something from the letters page. Know how much i love. The letters page of the book review from early twentieth century and this one features a letter exchange with sinclair lewis. This was actually in nineteen twenty nine so a year before he won the nobel prize for literature and this is an exchange with the reader that the times reprinted. They don't say where it came from. Or whether sinclair lewis gave it to them directly but here goes this person who signs his or her name. Jj jones writes dear. Louis have read a few of your works and would like to ask a few favors. Please send me a list of your stories your autograph picture in a letter describing your life. How many children have you in their names thanking you for this favor. I am yours truly. Jj jones so here's sinclair lewis's reply which i love my dear jim. There was only one thing about your nice letter that i didn't like so sort of formal. I know we've never met. And i feel we aren't likely two-bit isn't this democratic country. So let me call you. Jim and you can call me fatty or any other friendly name now jim. I haven't got a photograph of me here but go right down to the junction and have one taken. I'm preparing a letter about my life but it's been a pretty long. We'll take me several weeks. But in the meantime jim. I'm awfully interested in us conflicts. Send me your picture pictures of your home and office. A list of your assets and liabilities average income per month list of the books you read since nineteen fourteen if any kindly inform me whether you have ever defended a bootlegger and author and why should be glad to have any other interesting personal information for use in stories. How do you get along with your wife. Kindly explain this in detail thanking you advance and beg to remain yours. Affectionately sinclair lewis. Wow right to that kind of thing happen often on our letters page. This is the only letter of like this. I have seen although certainly i'd say in the first. Three decades of the twentieth century saw a lot of big name writers writing in often to defend themselves for example from reviews way more than you would see now now. They often no better although they still do out. There sometimes. All right tina thanks. Thank you pamela. Paulina brand joins us now from the bronx. She is the author of the barbas on the hotel. That set women free paulina. Thanks for being here. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here for those who are not familiar with the barbas on hotel. What was it. It was a hotel that was built in nineteen twenty seven openness does nineteen twenty eight and it was a women's only residential hotel and it was part of a series of hotels like this that were built in the nineteen twenties as world war one ended women got the vote and they but now coming to new york city in droves and they wanted places to live they needed places to live and they also wanted quite modern places to live and so this is the phenomenon of women's residential hotels. Most of them did not survive. But the bob is on diff- for quite awhile. Was this tradition unique to new york or was this happening in london and san francisco and paris and other places around the world right. It certainly was happening within the united states. i know in chicago. They had residential hotels as well and basically these residential hotels are really popular in the early nineteen hundreds but they were setup for men for bachelors and with women now coming into the workforce the same developers who built the hotels. Four men were of course interested in making money and developing these hotels for women as well. So we're talking about making money and we're talking nineteen twenty eight and something happens in one thousand nine hundred nine exactly. So how successful was the barbas on an an. Did it survive the depression. When it was built it was intentionally built for young women aspiring to become artists that is writers actresses musicians and so forth so the hotel was built with the same sort of small rooms that always residential hotels had but on the other hand sort of Shed public spaces lobby paula's libraries and so forth. It all started to get this very sort of glamorous sheen so the police junior league signed onto habits rooms and headquarters stat the alumni clubhouses of the women's colleges they also signed up to have rooms policies that so when it opened in nineteen twenty eight is certainly had the sense of a glamorous hotel for young women who who aspiring to do great things at the same time as you say the great depression comes along very soon off to end the hotel had to pivot and suddenly you have these young women often from the upper classes who on now in need of jobs have now they coming to new york not to have sort of a your to a fun. But they're coming to you because they really need to find work and so the sense of glamour continues but the way that the hotel advertises itself is not just about glamor now. It's about his a place while you'll find other like minded women way you can network and where you can be safe because also the nineteen thirties. Jobs are scarce and women who are working a scene as pariahs in many states. it's illegal for married. Women work in everywhere. It's very suspect if women are taking up jobs that really should be that for men and so in a sense. The bob azzam becomes also agglomerate A place where women who are in you walking can feel protected can feel that the a respectable place and that ironically so it gives them a freedom they might not have otherwise. Are you use the word safe. And the word sanctuary. What was the story with men at the barbizon. They go there. Obviously they couldn't stay there they visit and could they work there. They could only be in the lobby. They could not go up being on the lobby. That wasn't date room on the eighteenth flow. But it wasn't used very much you go if you got to pass to go with your date. But they would go to the lobby. And so you had a lot of men crossing sixty third and lex who southern got very tired and they would need to rest up in the lobby. There was also very famous coffee shop that was attached to the bob could enter through the hotel or from the street level. Sylvia plath wrote about it quite a bit and so this this was also a place where a lot of men would hang about. Have coffee obviously try to pick up these women. Jd salinger famously. Was one of these men who would post as a canadian team. Goalie was always sort of putting on different hats in different disguises. In a sense all right well. It might not surprise people to know that men were hanging around when we mentioned some of the people who stayed in the hotel included grace kelly. Joan dibbin felicia rashad ali mcgraw and beatty mona simpson and that the barbara zahn had companies. They partnered with including katharine gibbs secretarial school but also mademoiselle magazine and ford models. So let's talk about the first some of those corporate kind of partnerships and how that worked shoved cold and corporate partnerships. They would call it now except arrangements maybe arrangements or understandings precisely precisely one using the other absolutely so pot of as we were just talking about the great depression of real phenomenon of the great depression was the katharine gibbs secretarial school and the most people i think have forgotten about the katie gipps goals but they were quite the phenomenon off the twentieth century. These were women who went to this very elite secretarial school of course during the great depression women from smith college from bonnet and so forth who desperately they graduate with that grain english lips and realized they couldn't get a job. They needed a job. And so they would try to apply to the katie gibbs school which was actually very difficult to get into at that time but if they got in they would be trained to be executive secretary not only in the skills of typing and shorthand. But they will cost isn't ought on appreciation literature hygiene medical issues. Also things soupy a well rounded secretary now. The catholic school just grew exponentially in the nineteen thirties and they started to house students onto flaws in life three floors of the babas on hotel and these gifts goals. They would really those women who went to the workforce as secretaries many of them used it as sort of a ladder to get further into executive management positions. Was it hard to get into the barbara's onto was it. Were there waiting list to get a room. It was it depended obviously on sort of the economic climate so it was difficult and so it was difficult in september when a lot of young women were looking and may simply the notorious ahead of the front desk. She basically rate the incoming applicants. Nc often that was the rumor that it was about attractiveness but actually it was about age so if it was september the sees which meant you were over forty. That was a hard time to to get in. But you had to certainly bring reference letters with you. No doubt all right. I'm just gonna be blunt about this too. Obviously these were mostly upper class women and mostly white but not all white. Was it open non-discriminatory. Well we set the constantly with nondiscriminatory. When they opened they opened in nineteen twenty eight in absolutely it was written up as a place of white house. Hey we all on the upper east side in the late. Nineteen twenties the advertisements that show a woman sort of being thrilled to be in new york and at the boban was of course always a white woman what i found interesting as i was doing the research though even though billed itself as a place of glamour and sort of this sheen of society women staying that in fact socio economically it was very diverse from the very beginning. Yes there with the debutante. Little eddie the famous little eddie of jackie kennedy relative fame. Stay that in. Nineteen forty seven at the same time as caroline scott from working class. Ohio who is aspiring to be a muddle a lot of the working class young women who got that they were actually women who want some sort of contest back home and small town. America usually beauty contests talent contests and that gave them a little sum of money by which they could actually make that escape to new york. And stay the. Bob is on for it to be sort of a launching pad for that career goals so it was diverse that white but it was very important to me that i try somehow to figure out. When did they start to allow women of kala to reside in this hotel and this is very difficult because there are no existing archival sources left about the hotel. I mean i sort of really had to rebuild this hotel from the ground up for the book. But fortunately i was going through thousands of rather mundane office memos from mademoiselle magazine and i found in nineteen fifty six this sort of a heated debate within the staff of the magazine about a young woman that they seriously considering for that. Very prestigious guest editor program for the summa and the problem was she was a wonderful artist. She's very smart. Use a temple university. But she was black and they're going back and forth about the leadership and the clientele that they would lose if they brought him. Because of course. All the guest editors joan did ambig- fall Sylvia plath before betsy johnson later after her pot of bing guest editor Visually present in the magazine. The magazine with a black woman really mainstream magazine with black woman on the on the pages and also the big question that they were discussing these memos but will the babas on even let her in while the mademoiselle magazine that in deep baba's on let her in as well and barbara chase went on to become famous artists. Barbara chase ribaut. And i also have about how. She was accepted on august when she arrived at the hotel. Nineteen fifty six way of existing in the world was very much to ignore racism. She said she felt comfortable. They did not mention the famous baba's on swimming pool two because of course it was segregated but she said she didn't mind since she didn't swim anyway could tell us but nineteen fifty six. She was living that and something that felicia rashad was that ten years later so ninety fifty six arts as when they started to let south the first black woman. And you say that the hotel set women free in what ways well. It's a bit of a paradox. When the hotel was built it didn't have the same outwardly. feminist mission. I'd say as the martha washington built in the early. Nineteen hundreds very much setup for early suffragettes. The bombs on have a was immediately setup as a place that would allow women to be independent. Which i'd says the feminist project itself and one of the things that they would point out too is that they will making sure that women didn't have to be keg service so the fact that they were no kitchens at the bob zone meant and the fact that women had left their families behind they were not obligated to do all those female duties of keg giving of cooking of entertaining and so that was enormous mission that it had and it did offer freedom and often freedom to women who were coming to your. They didn't know a single person and yet they knew about the bombers on from magazines from his say they knew they could arrive that ed and they would be in a safe place a respectable place for much of the twentieth century. If you were in a respectable place you afforded more freedom. So there was that paradox. At but then the very mission of women's independence is ultimately what also lead to the demise of the hotel so it was actually the women's movement where women were now saying well. We don't want to live in a restricted hotel. We want to invite men back to our rooms. We don't want to in this kind of nunnery and in fact the hotel had to apply for a special status so it could continue as a unisex institution with the onset of the women's movement was women who lobbied for it to go co ed in nineteen eighty one. It was a question of finance simply as women. Now who are coming to young women who are coming to new york. They just wanted to rent apartments. And so occupancy was falling and really the only on so it was to actually bring men in sewn valentine's day nineteen eighty one that was a big publicized raffle and the first man to ever officially and to the bob is beyond the lobby area was chosen. He was a doctor cleveland from cambridge massachusetts. Of course there'd been men who famously claimed they gotten past the lobby and up the stairs including malcolm a court who i believe he really did and the men who would come and pretend to be a gynecologist. Who was doing it in house. Coal and may sibley sent most of those seductive. Cleveland was officially the first one to be let but often that the hotel closed and the beginning of the nineteen eighties was really a series of renovations of the hotel. What was now lost. Its weight was now trying to become a regular hotel. It was trying to become a hotel of the stars of sort of the rich and famous. Assume more ritzy kind of hotel. It went through all sorts of incarnations In two thousand five again. I mean this hotel really follows in so many ways. Not just the history of women in the trade century but truly the ups and downs history of new york so in two thousand five. The owners of the hotel. Decide to refurbish it as electric condo building. The bob is on sixty three and it was completely gutted and turned into apartments. Where a rookie. Jay as for example pretty fancy. It's a very fancy very fancy luxury condo building and the wonderful part about. This is that there are still five remaining women from the babas on days. They created a fourth floor which is occupied by them. They have lovely studio and bedroom apartments and they still pay because the basically the rooms are ranked control rooms so they can't be kicked out. They've kind of preserves like that preserved on the fourth floor. They can't be kicked out and that's not only do they. Pay very close to. They were paying when they first came to the hotel but they also have daily maid service which is also written into the hotel contract that god in visit them. I tried tony monaco. The manager of baba's sixty three. Who i would say it's a fellow. Historian is fascinated by the history of this hotel so he showed me the floor and but he didn't want to disturb the women. They don't like to talk about this. unfortunately they keep very much themselves. But i do know that. Reading my book i mean they must be not young. No they are not young. Note that that in the late eighty s and ninety s and does it look the same way that it did back then. What was interesting for the twenty s when they were actually trying to renovate the hotel in its various forms as a hotel because they couldn't kick so women out they would often renovate around the women and so there was a secret doll on some flaws. And you would open the door and the rooms from the late. Nineteen twenties was still there with the women still living there because actually when started to renovate as our tell though still hundred fifteen women. Can you imagine such an institution as the original incarnation of the barbara's on seven any function and twenty twenty one or is it just total relic of the past. I think a lot of what the bob is on was is something that as women we can now carry outside of the walls of the baba's on in the sense that camaraderie the network king. We have that just by being with other women going out for dinner and drinks and so forth. So i think we have a lot of those benefits that so th-they required the full walls of the bob on before in many ways but is there a place for it. I mean i. I would say yes not sure how many women would would be willing to actually reside that. Though i see the more women are talked about this. I'm beginning to think a lot. But i think that is a place for this especially the fact that these women really could come to new york without knowing anything or anyone and have a place where they could stop and this is why so many famous women through stores because it was the staw place for new york and i think the idea that women would have place where they could sort of. Start on their ambitions together. I think it still has a lot of value. I think people are probably nostalgic for the rent control as well falling. Thank you so much for being here. Oh absolutely thank you. So much calling. Brand is the author of the. Barbara's on the hotel that set women free joining me now to talk about what they're reading my colleagues john williams and liz egan. Hey guys hi pamela pamela. John what are you reading. Oh it's been so long. Since i've talked about anita brookner on the podcast and i thought i would remedy that and i have a great excuse because the news was released in the last week or so very exciting for us. Bruckner heads that. The great biographer. her miami. leave for her. Next project is going to be writing the life of anita brookner. So i recently picked up. I occasionally just go back to her. And i picked up a book. I hadn't read before called visitors so novel from nineteen ninety seven. When bruckner herself was almost seventy years old. She started her fiction career very late as people probably know. And this is the story of a name. Dorothea may who herself is seventy and she's been a widow for a while and never even thought she was going to be married took her a while to find the man she was. She eventually settled down with and she describes herself frequently as a spinster. And someone who may be gives people the wrong impression that she's icier than she is and the plot of the story such as it is is that she's living alone and a friend of hers she a couple of close friends who were cousins. I believe her husband and one of them has a granddaughter. Who's coming to town to get married. And there's all kinds of drama around that but the essential plot is that a friend of this daughter is going to stay with dorothea for a few days or maybe longer during the time at the wedding and so he's a young guy just a college and they're two very different birds and dorothy is reaction to him is what drives the book and their their relationship or lack thereof. And it's funny because the first half of the book the plot is a little bit. It's not unbelievable. But it almost feels like she's setting something up that is. I don't wanna say sitcom but that sense of oh. Here's the reclusive old woman in the young american kid who's gonna either opener world or try to get her to be less cranky and there is a little bit of that but in the second half of the book because she's so brilliant it just. I can't tell you how good this book is at getting at. Dorothy is loneliness her what she wants to do. To overcome that the ways she may be can and can't do that at this stage of her life. It's just absolutely brilliant. It's one of my favorite of hers which is really saying something. And i just thought reached these few lines because there are so many great passages in it but she one thing that dr theo does. She really regrets this affair that she had when she was younger. Which to the modern reader doesn't really seem very crazy but she was very innocent and prudish and she's always regretted it and and kind of morally judged herself for it in a way that seems too much and so she recalls it for a bit and then she says and it's in part of this passage. He's also talking about loving the book persuasion by jane austen and so after recalling the affair for bet she thinks in third person now she knew all sorts of liaisons were accepted single mothers taken for granted. Bishops preaching about family values merely sounded foolish. The world of persuasion had been long gone even when she had read it as girl believing it to be the norm yet. Jane austen had never gone out of fashion. Rather the opposite those who flouted traditional values long to be reminded of fine manners even if they marveled at them and made little attempt to emulate them so all hail anita brookner john. I feel like you're living in a world of bruckner heads. And i'm i'm not in that world i i've never read any nita berkner and i'm curious. Have you pamela and john. I have never read anita brookner. But i'm living in a world of taylor swift heads taylor swift's most. Recent album has an a beautiful song on it. Which is truly my new favorite song. Call dorothea so it might be a good soundtrack is a novel. I don't know. But i wouldn't put it past taylor swift with as i call her to be a bruckner head herself see. I thought it was going to be dorothy. A book could be touchy. I will give any kerr a try if you both will promise to listen to this song because it's really really beautiful. First of all. Liz what makes you think that. I don't listen to taylor swift. Actually i suspect you probably do. Because you're a multifaceted renaissance. Man don't know that song. So i'll check it out. It's really good. I am here to tell you about a book that i just started last night so i haven't read that much of it but it's called fire keeper's daughter and it's by angeline boulay. It is as of last night number one on the young adult fiction bestseller list which I my eye on. Because i write the inside the list column for the book review and i'm always thrilled to see a new name pop up on the lists so i started reading this book even though i don't generally read a ton of young adult fiction. I'm not one of those readers who dips in and out. I tend to stick in the adult category. But this is a book that defies categorization in many ways. It's great for adults. And for i would say older teenagers. It's a mystery it's a thriller. It's a coming of age story and it is about an eighteen year old girl named dom s young woman. I should say who is half white. Her mother's family. They're wealthy their french. They donated a building on the college campus in michigan where she goes to school and she's half native american. Her father is a member of the way tribe and so she has a foot in in these two worlds but somewhat precariously in both. And as i said i'm so at the very beginning of the book but i know that donald is about to witness a terrible tragedy and that she is going to get pulled into the investigation and i saw an interview with the author who who was working on this book for ten years where. She said that she wanted to write a book about an indigenous. Nancy drew an as a nancy drew fan from way back. That was kind of what hooked me on this story. And it's also been optioned by the obamas production company higher ground in. It's being turned into a show. So i'm curious to see where it goes. I love the main character so far. She's strong scientific. Smart little bit funny and i know she's about to put her on the line in ways that i think most eighteen year olds probably wouldn't be willing to do so. I'm excited to see where it goes. Penalty what are you well. I'm also reading. I guess about life on the line. I recently read this book by maggie. O'farrell i am. I am i am seventeen. Brushes with death now. This is one of the books that i remember people on our desk and people at the book review talking about a lot just before we left our offices for quarantine. We were talking about it because maggie farrell's new novel hammett had just come out and everyone was saying. Oh you have to read her memoir. Hamlet of course went on to become one of the ten best books of twenty twenty that the editors selected and so i wanted to read this memoir. And you know. I don't know about you guys but i always have like list of books. Talk to my had that are sort of in this huddle know this sort of nether zone. I'm not going to go in order them. I'm not going to go out and get them right away. But should i see them all. Buy them and i was in a little bookstore called pickwick books which is at nyack new york during quarantine and have either be over bent this bookstore. Oh it's unbelievable. It's really amazing. Bookshop where all the books almost all. The books are not on shelves there like piled up from the floor. John you would love it. It's also like instagram catnapped. He'd to think of a bookstore that way. But it's it's the owner knows where every single book is. But when you go in there there's really no way to know what's what. So it's ultimate serendipity bookshop. And as i was looking around really for nothing in particular i am. I am as one of the books that i spotted so i grabbed it and read it and this is the kind of memoir that i i really like. Because it's incredibly dark. it really is. It's seventeen brushes with death. She has seventeen essays in here personal essays in which in one way or another she or member of her family has had this brush with death. And that's a subject that i think about all the time again. Here's just a window into my dark side. I basically going about my day. almost. I probably shouldn't admit this but almost with every step i take. I imagined that. I'm about to die. You know i can very easily crossover and be like and then she slipped like that. I'm gonna tumble like laura ashley down the stairs and the stairs barbara in like they're my head will cock open. I can just see it happening all the time. There's gruesome sites this this topped right in to that and it doesn't feel force. You know she she really did have these brushes with death the first one she organizes it in a really interesting way by body part and so she has a couple of nex. There's abdomen there's a baby. Bloodstream have either read this book. It's a truly one of my favorite books. I ll okay okay. Opening chapter in particular is just. I could practically recite it by heart. It's so good. The two final essays in this piece liz. I don't know about you. These just like left me gasping. And i don't wanna give too much away. But there's this passage in which she's talking about being hospitalized as a child and see what i'm talking about. This was the body part and she is in her hospital room and she says that she hears from outside the room. The following footsteps the fluting voice of a child arrhythmic noise like a toy being dragged along the line. Oh the child says something and a high enquiring tone and the nurse tells him to be quiet how she says. There's a little girl dying in there. I mean did that passages. Leave you on the floor completely on the floor. There's another chapter. I believe about one of her children. Yeah that he had a similar definitely paused my happy romantic comedy fantasy of life. Yeah you know what. I'm just gonna do it. I'm just going to say what it said. Yeah yeah you should. So her daughter is having a near death experience and they're rushing to the hospital and she writes will accelerate down the auto straw speed limit. Speak damned when we get to orient hospital. We will screech in at the ambulance only entrance. And i will leap out already sprinting. My daughter held before me like an offering. I will be thinking. Oh no you don't not now. Not here you're not getting her. I'm going to start crying You're not getting not today. Not anytime soon she is she is. She is without the passage for you. Yes all right so touch a beautiful book in short not for those looking for a lighthearted read but if you're the kind of person who likes to think about death frequently like some of us i would highly recommend it. I've been meaning to read that and obviously this is pushing me john. You'll you'll absolutely love it. It's it's just beautiful. Yes all right. Let's run down the list of the books. We read a read visitors by anita brookner. I read fire. Keeper's daughter by angeline. Blais and i read. I am i am. I am seventeen. Brushes with death by maggie of thorough. Remember there's more at ny times dot com slash books and you can always write to us at books at ny times dot com. I write back not right away. But i do. The book review. Podcast is produced by the greek pedro soto from head. Stepper media with a major assist for my colleague john williams. Thanks for listening for the new york. Times i'm pamela paul.

the new york times sinclair lewis amazon Paulina Jj jones mademoiselle magazine Mrs obama ben muller pamela jim katharine gibbs george stall michelle depression bud sal felicia rashad Carl zimmer new york apple United states
Episode 433: Our Year in Review  Slow Flowers 2019 Year in Review, Plus Our Wisconsin State Guest

Slow Flowers with Debra Prinzing

57:26 min | 1 year ago

Episode 433: Our Year in Review Slow Flowers 2019 Year in Review, Plus Our Wisconsin State Guest

"Hello again and welcome back to the slow flowers. podcast Deborah Printing episode four hundred and thirty three three. This is our two thousand Nineteen Year in Review Special Program. This is the weekly podcast about American flowers and the people bill who bro and design with them. It's all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry. That relies on a safe seasonal and local supply of flowers flowers and foliage. This podcast is brought to you by slow. FLOWERS DOT com the free nationwide online directory to florus shops and studios. Who designed with American flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms? It's the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers. And thank you you for being part of the slow flowers community and tuning in to the slow flowers podcasts during two thousand nineteen I'm honored and humbled that you take the time pitch showing me each week especially in the midst of an evermore crowded and cluttered environment for information. listenership of this program has grown more sizable than ever for last year. At this time I told you the slow flowers. PODCAST had been downloaded more than three hundred and nine hundred thousand times since this shows launch in July of two two thousand thirteen fast forward to today and that number has climbed to five hundred sixty thousand downloads with an average monthly count of more than fourteen eighteen thousand episode downloads. I'm incredibly encouraged that this podcast remains relevant and essential as we deliver the voices stories and information. You you crave and enjoy every single week. This year in fact every single week for the past three hundred and thirty four weeks it has been my privilege to a feature heroes from the slow flowers community. Unlike any other Internet radio show in existence. The slow flowers podcast is tailored to you and your interests is making it. must-listen programming a weekly habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike in producing and hosting the slow flowers. PODCAST CAST I seek out pioneers personalities style makers and influencers as well as Unsung or little known heroes who together or changing the floral landscape disrupting the status quo and bringing flour sourcing and growing practices not to mention ecoconscious design methods to the center of the conversation. A highlight two thousand nineteen was are expansive and inclusive series fifty states of slow flowers. We've nearly made it through through the entire alphabet from Alabama's Lisa Thorn of Thornton Thistle at the beginning of the year to Wyoming Theresa Tippett's of Dandelions Floral. Who so you'll hear next week on your stay this ambitious series double the number of flowers podcast guests that we brought to you in two thousand nineteen Thank you to each of our guests for their willingness to share their personal floral narrative with listeners together stories amplify the thriving message that are slow. Flowers movement is taking place everywhere and anywhere that people garden's soil and sunshine exists you can find the fullest of our fifty states of sloth our guests with links to the episode in which each appeared at today's show notes for episode four hundred thirty three HAT DEBORAH PRINTING DOT dot com there. You'll also find a link to our show archives dating back to the first episode which aired on July Twenty third two thousand thirteen today. We'll start at the show by introducing you to Wisconsin's Sally Vander waste of the Milwaukee Flour Company. Sally is a past guest of this podcast. You met her back in two thousand fifteen when I interviewed many of the flow artists who created botanical rooms at Flower House. Detroit al-Sharah linked to that episode in which I spoke spoke with lower house creators teams in that episode. Sally and her collaborator Courtney. Stemberg discuss their design for the upstairs kitchen. F Lower House. Oh sabe beautiful. Botanical installation entitled Nature Takes Back so hard to believe that here. We are four years later and Milwaukee Flour Company has a lot of news to share share Wisconsin. Slow flowers community has always been a strong one. And I'm grateful for growers and designers who are committed to seasonal and local blooms in the upper bird west including Sally Vander waste. So let's jump right in here from her as we continue the fifty states of slow flower series for two thousand nineteen and and our stop in Wisconsin. I'm so excited today to visit with my friend. Sally Vander Waste of Milwaukee Flour our company and by the name Milwaukee. You must guess that. She is our guest for Wisconsin and the fifty states so slow flowers series. So thank you for joining me Sally. Thanks Debra glad this worked out your conduct toward the end of the alphabet of great. So we've after me Wyoming combing Yup and then we're done so I I will tell the listeners. You are a past guest at this podcast but in the way back time machine I think it was in two thousand fifteen when you were one of the designers at our house Detroit. Wasn't that when we did it right. Yeah so lots happened. It almost well in four and a half years and it's time to to hear from you again. That was such a fun project though and I will never forget the experience of being with you and the other designers and that magnificent experience of feeling room with flowers. I'm sure that that was really awesome. You did a kitchen right. They did. Yeah the upstairs kitchen. That's right and I'll never. I'll never forget you coming around the corner into the room room Irish designing and I was blown away that you're like I was like stars strong. I thought it was pretty cool too because everybody you know Detroit is not what exactly your neighbor you had to make a commitment to travel from Milwaukee to to work on that multi-day project too. So I was like wow people coming from other states and other turn out other countries trees to work on this so so lots has happened. And I want to hear from you about what's going on with a Milwaukee Flour Company. Can you just update everybody. As to what's what's your business model is now and where you are in the marketplace true so my studios twenty minutes North Birth of Milwaukee Last winter I bought a two Acre property with a large pole barn and a tiny a small house and on I live in the house and we have. We renovated the studio or the Plebeian to be our studio and it's we built our dream. Cooler alerts sixteen feet long by eight feet wide. You've always like it. Would we literally drew it on paper and then it magically happened put it was kinda great like Was One of those manifesting things. It was great so we're planning to farm half Acre of it it And so we have we ever dream studio and a cutting garden but up until now because you Reminded maybe you started your business in two thousand thirteen So for this first chapter of Your Business you were. You were not a farmer. Florus you were primarily a florist and floral designer designer right We did have a cutting garden where I was able to grow somewhere between six and eight thousand blooms ears. Oh Oh by Gosh that yes it. No that's yeah in my backyard. So it was a city lot in Milwaukee where I rented and luck. Luckily luckily the landlord was cool with me. Tearing up the whole yard But mostly grew Dahlia's and some Zinnias and learn the occasional COSMO So that's a pretty big chunk of of I guess our revenue that you can you know not have to buy those flowers. Obviously there's some cost involved in growing them but it sounds like you were kinda hooked with the idea of growing some of your lenience. Yeah absolutely and we The Dahlia tubers. I got really into storing them and saving them and noting out on that and so in dividing up and So that's been kind of a passion of mine and it's also I just love being in the garden. It's just the best way to start the day Sun's coming up and it's all do we. I could just be so happy and be out there alone and listen have to do a podcast so yeah so the Dahlia tubers that were in the rental cutting garden. Did they move with you to the new place they did. That's awesome. Wow so you describe what your services are because you you know I. You've your studio floor base floors right. You've never really had the retail side of things have audio no never reveal. I got my start in grocery and so I need it. Yeah I prefer the studio base model after that. Just run away run away. Yeah absolutely I love having clients at my studio and it's always fun to you. Know show off what's happening in the cooler So we primarily do weddings And I have two full time. Employees always and five part time employees and we are We design mostly luxury weddings. love it and I would describe. Yeah I would describe her style as part are Polish but garden style So we also offer events filing so someone will come to us with the concept and will create the whole vision board and Yeah and I love designing for space. So that's our main thing is You know a lot of venues have changed their policies. He's for us. We're we're allowed to suspend flowers on the field a or You know maybe something massive live in entryways something that other people haven't seen we liked to create the unexpected right. So you're kind of using every surface possible to transform form may be a more generic environment End Push the envelope as you do that exactly. Yeah that's so. Cool your aesthetic being a little bit more polished and With garden influenced. You is that kind of Bringing more urban customers or are you. Are you kind of casting your net wider beyond just the city venues. So there's so Milwaukee Ninety minutes north of Chicago and so about seventy five percent of my clients Are Chicago Tower getting married in Milwaukee. So it mark you sort of become a destination The leading destination and It's a little more affordable to get married Milwaukee versus Chicago. Sure and Yeah so a lot of my clients. Don't live here I forgot where we're we. Well I guess I was talking I. I was interested in that kind of when you the Polish. Just kind of intrigued me like that is a luxury term. And so I wanted to know where you know. Where where were these clients you know? Where are they in terms of choosing a designer? So sounds like you know. There's sort of this urban I was this call Chicago like New York light like there's a sort of metro. Urban Glam was Chicago so they're bringing with them and wanting a designer who can reflect. That sounds southlake exactly. Yeah and I think too it's A lot of our clients tend to be younger early twenties And and they they really. It's so great. They care so much about the aesthetic And so it's it's fun to pull. It'll all the details together for them. But yeah most of our clients are coming from Chicago or Marquette University is in Milwaukee and a lot of alum will get married him Malaki Israel maybe they live in New York or San Francisco and they wanna come back to where they met what happened. Yeah I mean have. The name is great. Obviously Ashley you're not. There's nothing confusing about Milwaukee Flour Company. You say where you are what you do it probably. It's probably been really fun with that branding into a you know. Pull in that message of pay and our flowers grow in Milwaukee to I mean. Is that kind of been effective for how you've marketed. You did the company. Yeah a good chunk of customers. We'll say you know we'll say oh. What are you going to have in your garden? I think people are excited mostly when people come to the studio. They're just like tron. They like before they leave that we have to see the garden And it's really cool so something new were doing for next year is for twenty twenty. We're GONNA offer Photographers to come us. Our little are half Acre farm for photos. Like I look something like that. Yeah or engagement photo. Family family photos Usually pretty pristine. Wow Yeah and but the the vicinity being so close proximity wise to the city also makes it easy for folks to make the trip and not feel like they. I Dunno spend a whole day drive somewhere. So that's kind of cheer advantages. Well right yeah exactly so other than your sourcing from yourself. What are your other sourcing? Outlets or or Secret Sore we have a few We've a few growers that we I get cyber ship directly to us. One is my brother farms in central Missouri Over the last few years I've convinced him and his partner partner to grow flowers and So I get some flowers from him. That's how does he have a business name he does yeah. Three creeks produce. Okay that's right. I forgot that that you introduced me to a florist in Saint Louis because of that connection in right from you going down yeah yeah ours than weeds. Yeah Yeah USA fun. So that's a fan keeping it in the family and your brother was a a food grower and you've committed to become a flower grower. Yeah they still grow food But he's so funny they now have three high tunnels that are just flowers. That's fabulous I know and while these checks a really different. Yeah I should have listened to me earlier right the older sister school. Yeah and then we have a few local firms that we buy from And South also are as far as two and a half hours away. Yeah so there's a CA- tends to be like A. There's a ton of flower growers in the Madison. Addison area which is ninety miles west of us. Yeah and so We can sometimes source from people out there. But then there's also up some more in central Wisconsin to Yeah so you've got the wedding business and invent business business and then You are. You're cooking up something new for two thousand and twenty sort of a new way to deliver flowers. Do you WanNa talk about that. A little bit sure so I started or alarmed. I saw launched a company called Zap Bloom. And and we're hoping that people Milwaukee will want to You know choose their flowers online from a a list of flowers so you know. We'll offer a few color palettes and two different size bouquets and boot nears and two different centerpieces it is And people will choose those things and then we'll simply drop them off it's more for a A. DIY couple yeah and it also is almost like a mobile platform to where people are just a certain demographic is just living their whole life off their phone. And you're you're going to be there for them to click through and choose what they want and I'm hoping will work to for For Rehearsal Dinners uh-huh right so like even our current clients. Let's say they. They only need a couple of hundred dollars or the flowers or they were hersal dinner. WILL VAT bloom perfect for them because they know the style will be the same as you know our wedding flowers. I think sometimes people don't want to deal with the fos- doubt seeing that more more and more I this new generation. Yeah I think this is where we are singing in other categories. Like like how you buy a car like nobody wants to deal with the hassle of that old model where you know. It's it's kind of the will certainly there's no transparency so you don't really know what you're getting for your money and you have to haggle and so maybe that's a little bit of the benefit of what you're offering the the the the person who was a certain aesthetic but they they don't have time to meet with the floor store and you certainly don't get you. Don't get your time sucked up by a client who's not really willing thing to pay for consultation services well right right exactly so I think it's smart and you did give it a completely different brand platform. It was that intentional. Just to kind of separate to your your efforts to be specific and not take away from Milwaukee Flour Company right Milwaukee flower companies clients tend to be more traditional And I'm thinking that blooms clients are more modern And so we specifically it's Zeppelin is gender neutral and southbound on the web you go look at the website excite dot com. It's like all these neon colors and it's it's really fun. I Love No. I've looked at it before. And I I I've it's a very unusual palette and very modern and as I said Sarah fashion forward like it's it's definitely skews youthful as well so are there links. There's no link between the two two two websites or anything like that like people don't toggle back and forth or anything not no not yet TB. So but I'm hoping to do is launch that Luma walkie and then maybe somebody else who has a you know a a flower business like Milwaukee our company and other city. Maybe they want to open his out. Bloom Oh yeah. And they take our infrastructure and and build it has that bloom Asheville or like I said and a separate channel of business in a market that you're never going to compete compete with but you're giving them all of the kind of pieces that you've developed for your model right. Yeah we'll see how it goes milwaukee a so cool. Wow well yeah well sally I know when you're on the podcast the last time. I probably ask you a little bit about your path to flowers but I want to hear about You looking in the rear view mirror and and maybe reflecting on some of the things that have led you to where you are now you said you started as a grocery mass-market floral designer. That couldn't be different anymore. Different on what you're doing now. So how did you make that leap. So well going back even farther. I grew up in a family of gardeners My mom on the my aunt are both incredible. Gardener is very different from each other style-wise gardens are very different But just that being in the garden was just part of everyday life. Well in Wisconsin most most days here but so I grew up in gardens. Yeah and And then I yeah southern eventually i. I didn't go to college but I did get a job at a grocery store. Just is a just as a flower processor. Yeah and so You know opening the boxes chopping them and putting them in buckets And that for a number of years how people start even at retail right. Ah I mean anybody who who comes into a flower shop. That's usually the the entry level job right right exactly. I was just talking to a friend who does hair and he was saying you know. He washed hair for a number of years before anyone allowed him to cut. There's something there's something about it like. I washed she buckets. And you'll our share similar doesn't right so yeah For a number of years. Ah You I wanted to continue to work and flowers after I left the grocery store but Ended up getting a job at a small shock. Downtown Milwaukee But that wasn't paying enough right because I was just the shop help so I worked at the boys and girls club and cleaned houses and have the million jobs Just to have a job in flowers for a long time and then There's a like a high end grocery chain in Milwaukee and they worked there For four years as managing one of their flower department so back to grocery. Yeah but a little bit more elevated it sounds like in terms of right the materials. You the the botanical. She worked with them. Maybe who the customers were wandering in and out what they were asking for absolutely and we so we did events to So that's where I I sort of learning about how. How Fun weddings were And so So yeah so I. When I left the the high end grocery store I women worked at the wholesaler for two weeks and decided that was not for me and being a concrete code building all day and not touching any flowers That was tough. I indeed the touch them. Crazy that But then and you're working there for a little bit and so I quit there with no job and I had a friend who was contender at the Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood and she said you know the owner always buys flowers every week. Maybe she'd want you to do the basis on the tables. Um I was like okay. Sure so I went and talked to said. Yeah Start Tomorrow. Oh Wow I asked. I know I asked her if I could put a vase of flowers in the bathroom with my business cards which I didn't have any but I you know eventually later that afternoon. And she said yes and so I looked my first wedding while through this arrangement the ladies room. That's crazy but it's like if you don't put it out there. No one will know who you are. So it's good that you asked. I know right and so that first year business. I taught workshops and Picked up another restaurant and had had a few different little projects going on And Yeah had my shop out of my kitchen while and that I fear that was two thousand thirteen Did you get now. I have two full time. Employees and Property Pole Barn turned studio in a dream cooler. It's like wow thouars. Really no foul was really. Did build this path for you to entrepreneurship. It's it's wonderful cool to hear about you. Know I just got goosebumps hearing you say that. That's so true I feel I feel so grateful well to found something I love doing and then I could make a living and also support these other amazing women who work for me. Yeah and and you kind of kept putting anyone step in front of the other and and showing up and waiting for the right door to open in terms of Oh. This is the flower life. I want not that that one but this one and sometimes that's just growing up right like I just think of the crazy jobs. I had in my twenties and into my early thirties where I was just trying to figure it Out and like what. What am I supposed to be doing you know and it there's no roadmap so nope no good on you? I have a banner in my office that Ah I bought done in Portland a couple years ago at a conference in. It's it's sort of is sort of got letters that are like old college pennant felt but the words say figure it out and I look at it every day like that's all I have to do. Just keep pushing ahead and I'll figure it now I don't have the answers today. So you kind of your story reminds me of that. Yeah one of my mantras is nothing has to be figured out right now favorite thing because I'm always like okay now what I'll take a picture and text it to you. I think you're good the practical. Well we talked a little bit about Zap. Bloom is sort of taking up some of your energy for twenty twenty and then your new half Acre flower farm which is still going to be under the umbrella of Milwaukee Flour Company right. Yeah yeah before we go. I want to ask you two things one is. There's just since you started in two thousand and thirteen with this business and of course you've been floral much longer. What have you seen change? In terms of attitudes of consumers about Wisconsin grown flowers are mid west grown flowers are American grown flowers voodoo seeing a little more awareness or maybe. It's just what you're saying to people has has changed and so therefore they are more aware so I think I haven't seen a huge consumer change but I have seen a huge change at the wholesale house So when I used to say I want local products. They'd look at me sideways. You know those like so her okay. We'll sure we'll we'll. We'll get some pussy willow or whatever they were maybe like a couple of things they could get for me locally or maybe there'd be like a week. They had peonies sure. Yeah but that's changed so much My my raps at the wholesalers will say to me. Oh we're got this local product in and they they now understand and are definitely more on board and you just by virtue of asking relentlessly for years. It helped show them. There's a there's definitely a niche in the market for local product. Yeah absolutely and people do love of it when I tell them when I'm you know let's say wedding day I go and deliver the bride's bouquet and I point out like Oh this came from my garden came. You know from another their farm in Wisconsin. I can point out those things you can tell. There's a real emotional connections I agree. That's neat well. You and I both have agreed that you've got something big cooking for twenty twenty that we're going to have you back on the podcast in the spring to talk about so any hint that you wanna share just just to. What people's appetite for chapter two of his conversation? Oh my gosh. Yeah so So lizzie again and I who she owns floor alchemy she and I are working on a flower spectacle We're just going to call it that. Yeah I I love it I love it. Flowers spectacle the The DNC is hosting their convention in Milwaukee in July and Something's going to happen then awesome. I just got the shivers okay. I think it's GonNa be wonderful to have flowers as the beautiful focus during a political convention so we will be back to here for more when you're ready to roll it Out And in the meantime thank you for sharing an update on Milwaukee flower companies. Sally I just adore you. And you've been such a passionate mm slow flowers member and I'm I'm happy. Catch you up with the listeners. Suit kind of see what's happening in the in the heartland really It's it's all good in am and I'm thrilled that you can tell us a little bit more about what's happening in Wisconsin. I think you for everything you deborah appreciate if you bout. Here's the twenty twenty cheers. Sure thank you bye-bye. I'm so happy we could catch up with Sally. You'LL WANNA stay tuned for her return to this podcast when she has more. The report on the upcoming floral spectacle a collaboration with fellow sloth hours member. Liz Egan a floral alchemy. Also based in Milwaukee the two are cooking up something big in flowery to occur during the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next summer. I can't wait to learn more for now. Wow all share sally's links in today's show notes for episode four thirty three. So you can find follow Milwaukee Flour Company and learn about her newest venture for budget savvy savvy event florals Zap Bloom. Thanks for joining our Wisconsin conversation next up as I have done since the beginning of two thousand fourteen. I'd liked to vote today to the slow flowers highlights of this past year next week on January. First I will present the annual slow flowers floral insights and Industry the forecast for twenty twenty last year. At this time we reflected on the highlights of two thousand eighteen with ten top themes the sentiments I shared with you then are are no truer today. In fact given the world in which we live they are more meaningful to me than ever one year ago. I said this more than ever I realized that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another. Please know how valuable that statement is. Relationships are the connective tissue ties. US together no matter where we live geographically and no matter which role we play in the floral marketplace replace follow along as we reflect on two thousand nineteen and see highlights of the year in review at our show notes at Deborah Printing Dot com including including beautiful photos to illustrate these themes and stories. You might see a friendly face in the photos or find an important link to just the resource. You're looking for. So what did we do in two thousand nineteen each of our four content channels and our life. Programming have added up to an incredible year of engagement interactivity relationships and more the year began with the unveiling of our new slow flowers society branding and website central hub for all our slow flowers projects. Why the society are focused hasn't changed in fact our mission continues? which is this to change? The Flower Sourcing Practices of consumers there's and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local seasonal and domestic floor culture and to build a movement that promotes is cultivated and sales of those flowers while nurturing authentic connections between consumers farmers and Flores. The name change to society. -ociety was long incoming yet. It didn't happen. Impetuously or overnight launched at the start of two thousand nineteen when we were already turning a calendar. Page and thinking about a clean reboot the new South our society branding brings clarity to the slow flowers platform. Since I wrote the book slow flowers a lot has happened. With these two wirtz parts slow flowers. These two words now symbolize an entire movement a movement that hundreds of thousands of flora's flower farmers retailers and designers use news as shorthand to reflect their belief in local seasonal and sustainably grown botanical and sustainable design methods after the book's publication and as it became clear to me that there was an opportunity to position slow flowers as an industry standard new ideas inspired me to bring the following channels and programs was to life those include in addition to slow flowers dot com American flowers week. This Lars podcast slow flowers journal online online and the sloth ours summit with five channels and programs each of which has its own exclusive website. Things were getting a little unruly and truth be told those those individual and focus web addresses still exist and they're continually updated with dedicated content but by building a front door via sloth our society dot com. I feel feel like we helped. Connect the dots for all our activities. I hope you find it. Helpful to with the help of Lisa Wad of pot box a longtime member and all around organizational positional genius. I also tackled a major cleanup of the slow flowers membership database in two thousand nineteen which allowed me to pivot the focus and energies of slow flowers. I DOT COM to support and encourage those of you who have invested your time creativity and financial resources as members we wrapped up two thousand nineteen with nearly six Saturday. Fifty active and engage members representing flower farmers farmer florus designers sailors floral collectives and more. We recently established so flowers international and international affiliate program for like minded organizations in other countries and it is with great pleasure that in two thousand nineteen our friends At slow flowers Italy joined as our first international affiliate founded in two thousand seventeen so flowers Italy members are part of a network of professionals of people who who carry the values of respect and attention to the environment local territories traditions and community development. Welcome and congratulations so flowers Italy. We can't wait to partner with you again. In raising awareness about seasonality sustainability and the benefits of supporting local floral agriculture. Slow flowers is both a community and a branding platform and clearly. One of the most visible tools available to our members is the flowers dot Com the online member directory victory but there are so many other member benefits from your slow flowers association. Sharing those resources with you. We'll be a focus of twenty twenty as we will use the south hours podcast cast and the Sloth Hours Journal Online magazine to feature more ways to leverage your membership and communicate the slow flowers member values and benefits. I found that the number one goal of our members is to tell and share their stories. And because I'm a storyteller. We have lots of opportunities to shine a light on our remembers in a marketplace filled with conventional flowers are members are able to differentiate themselves and their floor enterprises by associating with the passion and mission of keeping flowers local seasonal and sustainable and inspiring the imagination of flower lovers and floral consumers who learn more about that narrative to that end in two thousand nineteen. We produced two year long projects though series allowed me to feature so flowers members all across the US and Canada with special themes teams visually. We featured the flowers grown and designed by slow flowers members who contributed to our monthly house dot com series in two thousand nineteen. We played a full year of slow flowers galleries with each month's floral theme published as a best of collection of design inspiration based around around specific seasonal blooms. Check out the links to the full two thousand nineteen gallery in today's show notes in always shared more than two hundred and fifty floor images with house dot com readers publishing an ongoing consistent message that local seasonal botanical are superior as I've mentioned are other series fifty states as low. Flowers has taken place all year. Long it has succeeded beyond all of my hopes and dreams. We were able to visit members in nearly every state. I think we skipped just us to and perhaps to two thousand twenty will allow me to catch up with the people in the states. We missed but think about it. The chance to hear. From our farmers floral designers and farmer number Flora's across North America also reinforces the significance of slow flowers. The Big Media News for Slow Flowers in twenty nineteen happened happened when wikipedia added an entry about slow flowers and the slow flowers movement. This achievement was a longtime incoming. And it's wonderful to see that it. It became a reality as digital information source. wikipedia is of growing importance primarily because it is a free universal resource one of the first examples of a usable encyclopedia that is built collaborative by the public today. When someone types slow flowers into their search engine to entries appear first one is the directory? Slow flowers dot com but typically the wikipedia story about so flowers. POPs up at the top of the bar is not everything but it's a pretty cool something because in today's digital reality showing up on wikipedia is a great endorsement and a special thank you to writer Mariah towner for shepherding this project with her research. Reporting talents and attention to detail or press exposure made this a fabulous year for slow flowers in the news. And I just WanNa take a moment to mention how many outlets expressed interest in our platform. This is by no means comprehensive but I'll Mentioned some highlights here added up. It's pretty impressive. Architectural Digest Seattle magazine floor businesses quarter-point. Vox Bustle the green industry leaders network. podcast the Seattle Times Sunset magazine Canadian florist the Globe in Mail and good food jobs. Blog Oregon live the Sacramento News Review Perishable News The flower podcast mornings with May Ashish the green dreamer podcast the Viva La Flora podcast refinery. Twenty Nine Garden Center magazine W. Y. S. so it which is an NPR station in Ohio. The Minneapolis Star Tribune and bloom. Stay Review and of course are ongoing editorial features. There's about slow virus members in each month's slow flowers journal found in the pages of Florus Review. You can find a link to those articles in today's show nuts but let me pause awesome reflect on our florist review partnership it is an incredible one that has been pivotal pivotal to me in moving the conversation about local seasonal unsustainable stain of flowers and sustainable design practices to the mainstream. We have a seat at the table and I am so grateful to publisher Travis. Rigby an editor in chief David Coke for this ongoing opportunity. I'm also part of the editorial teams for Super Floral. A BI monthly magazine geared to mass market and supermarket floral royal retail and Canadian Florist Bimonthly magazine for Professional Florist in Canada. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to contribute original articles about slow flowers members numbers and their creative business ventures to these titles during two thousand nineteen all of this work as a professional communicator opened up another great opportunity activity for me and slow flowers into this. In nineteen in September I was inducted into the Pfc. I professional floral communicators. International Channel Is Society of American floors organization. What an honor? That again brings slow flowers into the mainstream as an authentic channel in the floral marketplace place producing the third annual soap operas summit occupied so much of our creative energy in two thousand nineteen as an event designed for you our membership membership. It exceeded all expectations for those of you who joins us this past year in Saint Paul Minnesota in the twin cities. I hope you agree and I thank you for showing your support by attending engaging contributing to the conversation and cheering us on. It was a beautiful thing to experience as you know. The summit is the live event in the midst. The American flowers week created to serve the slow flowers community of progressive sustainably minded Flores and designers and to engage attendees who want to network with one on another planning and producing the third annual summit was made possible by the contributions of so many people. We must thank our host Christine Hoffmann of twin cities. Flower Exchange along with all the flour farmers who sell through that regional floral market for welcoming us so warmly more than one hundred and thirty five of us to be precise the priests summit farm tours at Blue Sky Flower farm and at Green Earth. Growers gave everyone a first hand experience of two incredibly beautiful and prolific midwest flower farms. Thank you so much to John and Rachel Ackerman of blue-sky flower farm for welcoming more than one hundred of us to your inspiring farm. And and thank you to Julia Grass and Jenny Haas of green earth rowers for the tour of your fields and greenhouses and for hosting the first ever slow flowers dinner on the farm a delicious experience to say the least at the summit. We enjoyed ten fabulous speakers experts in their fields and experts as teachers and communicators. There's due to the intimate size of the summit attendance. Everyone has a chance to meet our speakers. Personally that's one of the key benefits of being part of our slow flowers community making in real time. Connections is a top cited benefit according to pass summit attendees presentations and demonstrations from Toby Nelson Carly Jenkins and went McClure insured. That floral design was at the heart of the slow flowers. Summit are ten. Decent speakers also collaborated on a large scale foam free a floral sculpture using seasonal domestic and forged botanical. It was a highlight. We enjoyed a business. Focus keynote from Terry mcenaney. CEO Obey League nurseries and a social media panel with our own social media manager. Nisha blankets are summit photographer. Missy Palo call and MRIs frequent collaborator. Kalisa Ginny Frazier and we learned volumes from three innovators. Involved in the emerging category of locally focused wholesale floral hubs across the US including Christine Hoffmann of twin cities lower exchange. Amanda Marmon of Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative and Kelly Morrison of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers on Day two of the summit attendees were invited to tour. The twin cities lower exchange where floral designer Ashley. Fox shared her personal approach to shopping. The exchange for a floral design using all local blooms. We also visited the last rose grower in the Midwest with an afternoon tour of Lind Bush roses steeped in more or midwest grown flowers. If you miss joining us I have a treat for you. You can watch the free videos of all of the two thousand nineteen slow flowers summit presentations at Deborah. Printing Dot Com fi met Lincoln. Today's show notes. I can't wrap up mention of the so far summit without reminding you to register for the fourth annual slow flowers summit taking place June twenty eighth through thirtieth twenty twenty at Feili Historic House and Garden in Woodside California for Ya outside of San Francisco is going to be an incredibly creative experience and we're offering you more value and benefits than ever before the early bird pricing continue. Can you through December thirty first. So there's not much time left to save one hundred dollars off your registration and grab a spot. Join me and some wonderful speakers in the bay area next next summer. I'll share a link in today. Sean House at Deborah Printing Dot Com. So you'll find all the details or you can just click over to slow flowers. SUMMIT DOT COM to sign up. We celebrated the fifth annual American Flowers Week. During June twenty eighth through July Fourth Twenty nineteen and you and your flowers were at the heart of this this fabulous and important campaign. Slow flowers created this original. US Flower Promotion. Holiday launched in two thousand fifteen our grassroots. It's all inclusive campaign provides editorial branding and marketing resources to flower farmers florus designers retailers wholesalers who wished to promote American grown flowers flowers highlights of two thousand nineteen include our fourth year to commission botanical couture fashions with nine creative looks featured in June two thousand nineteen issue of Florus review entitled Red White and Bloom. Thank you to the floor. Designers and flower farmers who collaborated on this project object of flowering our nation during American flowers week the inventiveness expressed by the slow flowers community. Flower farmers and floral designers alike elevates American American grown mechanical to new levels. You can find photos of the entire two thousand nineteen American flowers week collection of botanical fashions including adding stories of each look in today shows. And now's the time to mark American Flowers Week Twenty Twenty on your calendar June twenty eighth through July forth because it will be our six annual campaign and celebration. I'll have more to share in the coming months but you are invited to check the twenty twenty botanical art. Branding that we commissioned from Tamra Huff of morning glory flowers and she was actually featured in last week's sloth ours podcast why not download the graphics to share on your website envious. Social Media helped me to start building interest and excitement for the twenty twenty American Flowers Week campaign and be sure to use the Hashtag American flowers week so we can see your posts. Surely the people making the slow forest movement so successful. Are you and your tribe coming together with other similar tribes in regions and communities all around both here in North America and beyond we share information ideas encouragement key resources verses tips answers experiences and more. We are united in a common belief that local and seasonal flowers grown sustainably and with minimal harm. I'm to the planet is a practice worthy of our energies in two thousand nineteen. My personal universe was filled with a few key. People whose presence and expertise help me further shape so flowers from what was originally just a concept title of a book into a multimedia multifaceted content organization and brand platform that form for others use. I shared a bit of this on the podcast. Six anniversary episode which took place on July fourth when Lisa Wad join me to talk about our collaboration to shore up the South Lowers membership organization in late March. Lisa and I participated in a spontaneous mind meld with two other flower. Flower Friends Part Getaway Park. Were -cation the gathering of four women creatives in small and large ventures from different generations and walks of life wasn't electrifying experience to say the least what emerged from our time together was a new collaboration for slow flowers with Lisa. Joining me to manage a project simply did did not have the bandwidth to tackle high have been yearning for someone who could help me untangle the crazy not of our slow flowers member database for many. This would be a mind-numbingly a boring clerical. Rather than create a task for Lisa this was a creative challenge and it called her in and rice. Indication's she has. I'm so grateful for everything is done to support so flowers in two thousand nineteen other key. People include the soap Irish creative team with whom I work all year long. Thank you to Jenny. Diaz are uber talented graphic designer whose artistry helps us communicate and represent the ideas and ideals of so flowers she has consistently supported my projects since I ask her to create our membership and sponsor collateral material in two thousand fifteen followed quickly by the iconic American flowers. Week branding which was unveiled failed in two thousand sixteen our second year am I. Collaboration with Jenny has expanded now to include all flowers in American flowers week. Branding advertising zing collateral material and more and now. I'm so excited to be working with Jenny as the designer of the Slow Flowers Journal volume one book Doc Out in two thousand twenty more on that soon. Thank you to Nisha. Blunkett's our Social Media Maven of fetching social media job. I've also known them. Work with Nisha. Since two thousand fifteen she took over our instagram and facebook social media strategy two years ago and I couldn't be more pleased East under her leadership. Talent and attention to detail. Nisha has nurtured the at myself our channel on Instagram and facebook sloth hours page exponentially early increasing our engagement with you our community Nisha has been with the sloth our summit team from the very first conference in two thousand seventeen in Seattle and as she was also a presenter this past year in Saint Paul Minnesota. I'm so grateful for her creativity and positive influence as we take the slow flowers journey together and thank you to Karen Thornton of Avenue. Twenty two events the steady hand on the Tiller of the slow flowers summit since two thousand eighteen. Our Second Conference Karen Erin. Is the secret sauce to my being able to realize a vision for a multifaceted interactive and live in person experience that takes place during the heart of American flowers. Week she is one of my fiercest defenders and the brand advocate. I've needed to round out the sloth hours team for two thousand Twenty Cairns coming on board to manage the entire south hours administrative sweet projects making sure we stay on time on budget on point and more. I couldn't be happier with the contributions of the four women I just think and yet there is one other key person I need to add. Its are dedicated. Talented and supportive. PODCAST engineer and editor Andrew Brennan. Thank you Andrew. Hannah Brennan and was my original producer and after about one year she handed the weekly production over to her husband. Andrew as I said last year Andrew has taken our audio to new levels with beautiful musical transitions and his patient and loyal efforts to improve my limited technical skills. Let's face it. I know how to find great guests and I know how to interview. See them but beyond that this podcast would not exist without Andrew. He's a new father to as Hannah and Andrew welcomed Baby Francis to their family this year. Congratulations Andrew through and thank you so much for making our podcast so successful in two thousand nineteen as we come to a close. I WanNa thank our two thousand nineteen sponsors slow clower sponsors support our work to connect consumers with florus shops studios and farmers who supply source domestic and American grown flowers and related hard goods accessories and businesses. I just WanNa take a minute to thank them for their financial support. Two Thousand Nineteen and to tell tell you a little bit about how each partnership is uniquely tailored to meet the mutual goals of promoting American flowers. You've already heard about our partnership with lead sponsor Florist Review. But I'll thank you travis. Rigby publisher David Coke editorial director and Kathleen Dylan Art Director here. They and the rest of the floors review team. I heard Choi to work with on I respect and value our relationship and as I said coming up in early two thousand twenty our first book collaboration with Flores Review called called the slow flowers journal volume created with the amazing talented support of Robin off Ni as editor and our own. GTS designer can't wait to share more. But you can see a sneak peek of the book cover art in today's show nuts featuring photography by MRI PALO call. Thank you to these amazing sponsors the peony farmers of Arctic Alaska Pennies who supported this podcast and the farmers journal in two thousand nineteen the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and it's amazing group of northwest flower farmers and market staff long `field gardens for connecting florus to gardening and connecting gardeners to floral design Johnny selected selected seeds for producing high quality seeds for flowers villages and herbs that we plant in cutting gardens and on flower farms of all sizes syndicates sales for supporting Florus with an incredibly diverse selection of USA made vases design mechanics and accessories. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers for its support and leadership in growing flower farming as an important profession mash. Wholesale Florist has again supported the podcast? An American flowers week in two thousand nineteen and we're so grateful for their industry support. Northwest screen panels the Oregon based greenhouse builder. which is responsible for my charming eight by eight foot? Modern Slate Green House and farmers with the Software Company that came on board midair as podcast and newsletter sponsor. Slow flowers is the term most widely used in the floral marketplace to communicate and convey seasonal local and sustainable floriculture. It has been another another record setting year in so many ways. According to Keyhole Dot Com are tracking service slow forest metrics are higher than ever our Social Media Maven Nisha has has worked tirelessly to represent so flowers and its members through the media with great results in the past three hundred sixty five days on twitter and instagram combined. Slow flowers has appeared in more than seventy five thousand posts up from forty seven thousand in two thousand eighteen. And we've had engagement of two point three million up from engagement of one point. Four million in two thousand eighteen to that I say what are you waiting for. We love you to join so flowers and put your resources creativity personal engagement and passion into work for a movement that gives back to you in volumes. You can start the new year with a commitment to supporting slow flowers and you can join us for as little as fifty dollars a year to to enjoy the many programs and benefits for members the link to join us at today's show notes or as slow flowers dot com slash. Join thank. Thank you for being part of this movement. And I hope you'll make the next step by investing in the continued relevance and success of this brand it will reward you as well. I'm Deborah imprinting host and producer of the so far podcast next week. You're invited to join me and putting more American pro flowers on the table one base at a time and if you like what you hear please consider logging onto itunes and posting a listener review the content and opinions expressed. Here are either mine mine alone or those of my guests alone. Independent of any podcasts sponsor or other person company or organization. The slow flowers podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Friendly or more about his work at sound body movement dot com. Yeah well that's IT folks as our year comes close. I wish you a warm and restorative holiday this season and share my hope for a peaceful and productive twenty twenty.

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Real-Life Political Violence Fuels Fiction in The Abstainer

The Book Review

54:30 min | 9 months ago

Real-Life Political Violence Fuels Fiction in The Abstainer

"This episode is brought to you by the House of Chanel for Gabrielle Chanel reading was a refuge which allowed her to invent her own destiny. Right from childhood literature became a passion she shared with the love of her life boy Capelle and her friends like Cocteau Colette. Peer Review Eddie and Max. Jacob. She hoped the also she'd mind without them knowing she read for inspiration and then became an inspiration herself. Watch the film, Gabrielle, Chanel and literature at inside Chanel Dot Com. who were the Manchester murders and how do they figure into Ian Maguire's new book the author of the award winning novel the North Water will be here to talk about his latest novel, the abstainer. What makes a great thriller with enough meat on its bones to discuss in a book club? Elizabeth Egan will be here to talk about Roomy House Men's dear. Child. Alexander alterable give us an update from the publishing world plus we'll talk about what we and the wider world or reading. This is the Book Review Podcast From The New York Times it's October twenty third I'm Pamela Paul. Maguire joins us, now he is the author previously of the North Water, which was one of our best books of two thousand sixteen. His new novel is called the abstainer and he joins us from Manchester England in thanks for being here. Thanks very much for inviting mate MEMELA. So this is historical fiction. It's history that's probably largely familiar to many of your Irish and perhaps some English readers, but maybe not to American so set the scene for us in the abstainer. The novel opens with an actual historical event which occurred in Manchester in November eighteen, sixty seven, and it was a a public hanging of three Irishmen. It will all members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which was a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of British rule an island. And the members were popularly known as the. Fenian. So three, these three Irishmen had hanged for the murder of. Of Manchester Policeman who had been killed? During an. A successful attempt to free prisoners from a prison van which was moving from the center of the city to the prison on the outskirts was ambushed by about forty phoenicians with revolvers and axes and knives, and during that attack, the policeman who was guarding the van was killed in in circumstances were never completely clarified but ended up with these three men being being publicly hanged one of the final public hangings that happened in Britain and that was the seed for. The novel in my mind, and that's that's the event which opens the novel in Chapter One. So these three men were known as the Manchester Martyrs they became known as Manchester. Malta's yes very soon after after this incident. So it was seen as a kind of overreach by the British government. In many ways, it was a big question about whether it was actually murdered up because the policeman may well have been killed by accident and they're also very large question marks. Over whether any of the three men, it actually pulled the trigger. So they very quickly became seen as martyrs to the close of Irish republicanism, and there were parades in all of island I think in the United States uncertain Irish. And that will monuments erected to these three men the Manchester Malta's in island I think aspect of the plot of the world as well. Is this a story that you grew up familiar with and and if so what made you want to return to it for this book? Actually no that was one of the that's one of the reasons why I I, was intrigued by. So I came across this when I was doing research for the North Water and I was surprised in sleight embarrassed I didn't. Know about this because I've lived in Manchester Fo- for a long time and I think I know something about history but it so it is an incident which has been largely not entirely but I would say largely forgotten within the UK it is known about with an island of course. So that was one of the reasons why what attracted me that it was something that hadn't really been written about very much an had been in some ways forgotten about. So so it seemed like it was fresh ground for a novelist but what about the story made it kind of fertile territory for novel for you once I sort of began to think it might work is a novel than I dug into Deepa. Began thinking about how might become a novel and it became clear to me that it was going to be a novel about political violence really and about you could call it terrorism I mean the the are sometimes cold a a sort of early version of a terrorist organization and I think that's a reasonable description of them although it still controversial one so that that intrigued me very much that I was going to I was going to be writing about men who have prepared to kill and die for Political Kohl's in order to do that I would have to stop thinking about what psychologically allowed them to do that and that also made. Me Feel although this was gonna be a novel about the eighteen sixties. It was also conveyed novel which had residences for the present day because of course, terrorism is is very much still with us and in. Manchester. Indeed. Only about three years ago we had a lodge terrorist incident. So so it did seem to me a story which would work for the twenty first century even though it was set in the nineteenth how close did you feel like you have to stick to the history and writing about real people I mean that that feel like a weight on you did it feel like a responsibility? Did it feel like an opportunity? Yes. As a historical novelist or right to writing about the past, you do have a responsibility to get things right as far as you can I think and I I have tried to do that in terms of the details and When the raw if the RAW. People than trying to be true or as true as one can to the record of who they are I. Think one thing. One thing that I've discovered in Bahrain in the North West Randall. So this nobody abstainer is is is how large the kind of gaps are in the historical record and I, suppose that's the US a great opportunity for the Nautilus that there is so much that isn't known about that. You have to fill in those gaps in you have to. Use your imagination to imagine what may have happened and I think what you try and do is use your imagination in a way which coincides with what you do with. What's the wreck hold seems to fit together even though you can't be hundred percent. Sure. That's what may have happened. Did you set out certain rules for yourself in terms of do this but not that I mean I suppose the general rule I always have is is you stick to the record unless? The something in the story which really sort of prevents you doing that and then I think when when you get to those points, you have to decide whether changing the history and some why is kind of ethically? Okay. So that's the only kind of general rule. I have an idea didn't feel distorted much or anything in the history here although I do imagine a hypothetical history because after the hangings of course that were all kinds of rumors of revenge that would be taken by the Phoenicians and all kinds of plans plots that they supposedly had and what novel imagines is, what would have happened If, one of those plans actually took place we our main character is fictional. Say you didn't have to worry too much there. Tell us about head constable James O'Connor the abstainer of your title. Yes. That's right. So he is a fictional character although he is based on actual people. So he is a Dublin policeman who is sent to Manchester to help control the Phoenicians in helped get to try and get to the bottom of of that plots and the were the where indeed Irish policeman who was sent over to Manchester and Liverpool and Glasgow to perform that that task. So he's based on generally on. On those people but more specifically has more particular back story and a history which is particular to him. So he's he is the abstainer of the title and what's happened to him in Dublin his his wife has died and in his grief he's turned to drink. And instead of being simply dismissed from the police force, they've allowed him to go to Manchester as an opportunity to stop again and to dry out in the novel opens he's in that process. So he's he's not drinking and he's still grieving his wife but looking for ways to escape from that grief. Why is that the title of the book? The abstain are, what is it about that type of person recovering alcoholic or addict that interested you? A few different reasons I think I think the idea of someone who is kind of on the edge. has this demon which said battling I think that's an kind of intriguing thing to have your protagonist struggle with I think with someone in that position. There's always a sense of them. So teetering on the brink and that I think adds something interesting. And those in terms of the title I, just I just liked the term, the idea of the upstairs. In the sense that although he's literally in upstate new intensity abstains from drink he's also someone is kind of a little bit withdrew on lots of otherwise and is not quite attaching himself to the world as you might do. So it seemed to have larger ramifications. Is it about denial to in a larger way? I think. So yes, I mean I think he's he's a man who's kind of separated from his context to me out of his way from his home doesn't really fit in in Manchester. and He's struggling to find a new way to engage with life I. Think. Of Two Irishmen out of their element in this novel, the other main character here is Stephen Doyle in Irish American, who is in England? Who is he an on? HOW DOES HE ENDED UP IN MANCHESTER? Doyle is a is an irish-american veteran of the American civil war and Athenian. A member of the member of the Secret Society, and he has been sent to Manchester to take revenge for the hangings. So. He arrives in Manchester early in the novel Andy, begins plotting, his revenge, and then the novel becomes a kind of cat-and-mouse game between Heyman. O'Connor. To See who can succeed whether whether doyle can achieve his revenge or whether a conflict him again doyle is based very much on on characters who around at the time. So the number of. Civil war veterans who became heavily involved in the battle for Irish Republican independence. So doyle again based on historical figures. In that regard, you mentioned earlier that you came across this historical incident while you were working on the north water in your novels. Do you feel like you're sort of working along a continuum Gen- generally or is it with each book you sort of see it as a departure in an effort to do something different from what you did in the previous work. With the last two novels with with. Epstein. Renewal for set in the same decade or almost the same decade I, think the northwest is the end of the eighteen fifties in this is the end of the eighteen sixties. So the connections in that regard but the same time they're all in my mind sort of significant differences, most obvious differences being the setting the no for to set in Baffin Bay and you know the sense of the landscape of ice and snow being very important that novel whereas. The urban setting Manchester in the eighteen sixties the world's first industrial city. Is equally important but so strikingly different I think the North Wiltshire. The North Walter is. GonNa. blindingly. White novel wears this all about the shadows and darkness and so on. Supposed to answer the question I think there are both continuities and differences when I begin a new novel spend. The first month associated slightly shaking off the old woman sort of finding out who the new characters are, and you have to kind of avoid just repeating yourself in that way what stuck with you from the north water like what was heartache like Oh of? Henry drax the real villain of the north water an amazing. Yeah I mean he's such a powerful character and it took me a while to shake off his influence. It's funny 'cause I mean the northwest is being adapted for TV and Colin Farrell I I. wanted to ask because it just had to be. Yes. Yes. It's being adapted primarily for BBC but I'm sure it will be shown in the US but Colin Farrell is playing Henry drax and I went out to see the filming I spoke to call him a little bit and he said you know he's he's a hard character to shake off. He. was beheaded. I. Believe me I'm aware were you involved at all in the production of TV show? Not Directly? No in that. So that was fine with me. I. Mean. It's it was written by directed by wonderful right to direct to name Andrew. And it was clear from the start that he was going to do the screenplay. So I'm a he showed me what he did and I was very, very happy with it and I think writing screenplays arising novels is very different skill. So I was happy to sit back and let them let them do it but I think he's going to be wonderful when it comes out all. Right, I'm already looking it in terms of common threads between the two novels. It was notable to me I'm assuming you're reading reviews and that this won't be to you but both comb toy e and his review of the North Water and Roddy Doyle in his review of the abstainer this new novel, compare your writing to that of Joseph Conrad I mean, which is not a bad thing. Is He a conscious influence on your work is that someone you grew up reading and admiring? He is absolutely someone I grew up reading an admiring yellow through. My twenties in university and so on. So yeah, he's he's fantastic. Fantastic writers go. It's a tremendous compliment to be compared to him. I think in this particular novel, he was a direct influence the in the north ratched because he wrote. Is Noble. The secret agent was was a novel that I read early on when I was thinking about whether this would work commits a novel about. Sort of terrorists an amicus terrorists in London in the beginning of the twentieth century I. Think. That plotting to blow up the Greenwich Observatory he offices fantastic. So portrait of these kind of gang of NAFTA wells and strange that of fanatical intellectuals and so that was really helpful to me as a way of imagining what this this group of terrorists might be like how they might talk to each other. So yeah, he was he was tremendously helpful for this. Novel. All right. Well, I. I. Hope I don't embarrass you but I also have to bring up to other names that you've been compared to in both in the previous book and in this Cormac McCarthy. With regard to the North Water and then in this one for this one Charles Dickens I'm curious when you hear these kind of par sensitive what runs through your mind. Well again, just flat, the very flattering and it's wonderful to amazing to. See. Myself. In the same sentence, I think it's different McCarthy absolutely as as a conscious influence particularly on on the North Wolf through when I was beginning to write the north water. I it was very different from my snorkeling I. I wasn't sure how to write a historical novel how to write in a way that I liked or would enjoy and I thought about. His blood meridian is great masterpiece. A, went back unread that that became tremendously helpful in terms of how to. How to write about the past and and how to particularly particularly how to handle landscape he's he's astonishing in his way handled landscape dickens again, like Conrad is on call at red since you know a teenager, I mean I think with with this novel I think. You know it's the city really I mean Dickens is is a great novelist of the Victorian. City. I'm in his cities London but again, he's very helpful about imagining. Imagining what the Nineteenth Century City was actually like I mean Dickens did those famous night walks where he couldn't sleep you would just walk around London and that feeds into his anti novel. So yeah, I think I. I did definitely go back to Dickens just as a way of reminding myself what the what the terrain of the nineteenth century British city was like the fog, the fog, the shadows, the soot I mean. That's the amazing thing that you see even if you see photographs from the Early Twentieth Century Manchester because of the smoke everything is black. Buildings Look like they've been carved from coal. It's kind of an amazing thing. All right listener start with black start with. The soot, the the dark shadowy Manchester novel then go to the North Water for the white novel, and then by the time you're done hopefully that BBC series will be out over here or wherever you are watching TV in. Thanks so much for being here. Thanks so much Pamela I've enjoyed it very much Ian. Maguire's new book is called the abstainer. So here's a request for our listeners. I get lots of feedback from us some complaints, lots of kind words really appreciate it. You can always reach me directly at books at NY TIMES DOT COM I will write back but you can also if you feel move to do so review us on any platform where you download the podcast whether that's I tunes or Stitcher Goo play or somewhere else please feel free to review, and, of course, email us at any time. Elizabeth Egan joins us now from Montclair new. Jersey to talk about her latest pick for group taxed Liz being here. Pamela. Thank you for having me. So your pick this month for October is a thriller. Tell us about Romi House Men's dear child. Well, this is the first thriller I've chosen for group text. Because I. Think Thrillers Are Underrated As as book club reads and this one in particular caught my eye because. It tells a story that I am inclined to enjoy. It's an escape story begins with a woman leaving a small cabin in the woods where she's been held captive, and she's making a mad dash for freedom and she's being trailed by a little girl who calls her mama and you quickly start to wonder if she is in fact, the mother of this little girl and. What unfolds is a story of a woman who has suffered. Pretty unimaginable abuse who is rebuilding her life and you piece together. This story of her captivity, it's both upsetting and also thought provoking and has a huge twist about a quarter of the way through. All right. Well, I love upsetting in which you know, but I also want to assure people that we're not going to reveal any plot twists here. So we will not go past that quarter of the way through to talk about what that twist is. Just if you're worried about that listeners stop worrying I promise we won't spoil the plot. How much is plot a factor for you liz as a reader of thrillers I would say when it comes to thrillers for me plot is. Just, about everything because I'm not really coming for lyrical language or issues to sink my teeth into although in this book, you do get those as a bonus but the plot is what propels you through the character development is also excellent is it those extra that made? You think? Okay, this could be a book club thriller because I imagine a lot of them right? There's not enough there to maybe keep you going absolutely absolutely in this case, there's very interesting side. About media coverage of kidnapping and how media coverage effects be investigation outcome and also the family's experience of missing someone they love Liz I feel like I detected you a kindred soul in that. Are you a reader of kidnapping memoirs Pamela I'm ashamed to tell you I read them all. What's the Best I love Elizabeth Smart's books I think she has written two books at this point. But I followed her case really closely and I find her cheek on her survival really inspiring and also of course really sad what about Jaycee Dugard? She wrote a book go around the same time about her own experience. Yes. I also read that one and I, followed her case very very closely I feel uncomfortable comparing survivor stories they're very you know Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Lee Dugard's books. Quite different but yes, I've read them both and The book written by survivors of the Hellish House in Cleveland Ohio. The I believe there were three women who lived in in a house on a busy city street under horrific circumstances for years I knew that you'd be a complete EST hairless. I'm not proud of it. I'm really not proud of it, but there's something I'm really fascinated by what is that keeps people. And what in this case of dear child you think you're walking into a happy ending the woman has escaped and what unfolds is almost as nightmarish as what she survived. All right. So there are echoes of room here. Of course when I I read the description of the book I thought. Wow, this is room. Again, but it's really not it. It really takes a turn that is completely different from room. This story is told from three different points of view the point of view of the woman who escaped the point of view of the little girl who's following her. And the point of view of a man named Matijas who is the father of a woman named Lena. Back, who is a student in Munich who disappeared thirteen years earlier? So you see you see the story from several different pairs of is which like tell us a little bit about the author because she included three page. In the book which is kind of unusual. Yes. I, loved that I don't know if this is a A. A strange publishing phenomenon, but I always read the author's note or the acknowledgments before I read the book even if it's at the back and in her case, Romi house been used to work in television and she talks a little bit about that in her letter at the end and she also talks a lot about rejection. How many times she wrote. Something that wasn't published and that's I. Just think as you know, we're all can frustrated writers at heart and I just loved that I thought it was very honest and there's a real sense of youth and fun and optimism in her letter that I liked art I want to talk a little bit more about thrillers in general and what you like and. You don't like I to believe really strongly in plot and it's interesting because you know you have those kind of very short chapter very fast paced kinds of thrillers like the Michael Crichton's in the James Patterson and then you have the much slower more character driven not necessarily slower in terms of piecing but just sort of more rounded out type of. Thriller and then everything in between the other elements in addition to pacing that I think about our originality and believability believability. Something that is really important to me. What are the other factors that are most important to you? I tend to like thrillers that are rooted in reality like that's probably my main criteria. I'm not a fan of outer space apocalyptic stories. I know the two of them are very different but I would say probably the first thrillers I ever fell in love with were written by Lois. Duncan Oh the best I know what you did last summer you know stories about the stranger in the Mirror yes. Oh so great I can still picture the cover the commerce were so creepy, and then from Lowest Duncan I graduated to Mary Higgins Clark I think I discovered her in high school or college, and I would say those two authors what they have in common nurse. Stories about ordinary people who experience extraordinarily awful things and that's kind of my sweet spot for thrillers. What are your other favorites? I loved gone girl I loved room. I loved the silent patient I'm not a huge thriller reader. So I think what probably drew me to pick up your child was the kidnapping and escape angle but I also grew up in a house where my dad was a member of the mystery guild and basically every day for my entire childhood, it seemed like a different book landed on our front steps. That he would read in one day so. Every day three, hundred, sixty, five, a year. I would say, my dad completed an entire book maybe occasionally, it would take him two days to read a thriller. But in the room where I did my homework, there was an entire wall of bookshelves and they were all thrillers with the exception of a couple of Nancy drew books that my sister and I read. So I just was surrounded by and steeped in thriller dumb and Mystery Books, and sometimes I think it's an area of. Reading where I feel slightly less well rounded than I do in other areas and I sometimes think that's a little bit of a rebellion against my own family. I'm still have to say I'm very emotionally stock in the freeze the mystery gold because that's something like I, had completely forgotten ever existed but once you said it, I could see the typeface. Yes. He the magazine advertisement I remember sort of thinking like we'll the outs a club that like is a little bit scary to join. We'll remember the scholastic book clubs that we used to order books from his kids that it came on newspaper paper and you would you would pick out your books and they would arrive I. Remember my dad sitting in his chair in the living room going through the mystery guild catalogue, which looked very similar and checking off basically everything. And also the book of the Month Club. That was another club that we were loyal members of in Egan household. Another comparison you make in your column this month is to Angie Kim's Miracle Creek, and I wanted to just grass a little bit and talk about that book because that came out last year or the year before and got a lot of attention and I didn't read it. Now it intrigues me it is really really worth picking up. It's about and I read it when it first came out. So I forgive me if I'm getting some of the details. Wrong but it's about a family, an immigrant family who invest in this kind of decompression chamber. I think it's like a almost like a hyperbaric chamber in their yard and people who have all kinds of different ailments. Come and they get locked into this tiny chamber together to heal whatever it is that they're suffering from an at the book with a terrible accident where they're all I. think there are eight or nine people in this tiny chamber and something terrible happens and it leads to a murder trial and it is sort of equal parts, domestic family drama, and courtroom drama or at one of the great things you do with this column. Each month is suggestive questions for discussion whether it's at a formal book club session or in a in a group tax with your friends. Leave us with one of the questions that you had with this book. Dear Child by Romi Houseman. What's the thing that you would most want to talk about with fellow readers the idea of loyalty within a family and how A huge tragedy can. Tear apart the fabric of family what holds them together, and also I touched on this earlier. But the idea of what it would be like to be heart of one of these major tragedies that get gets covered ad nauseam in the news. And how the news coverage would affect. Not. Only the outcome of a case or a tragedy but also the way your family response to it who would not want to be in a book club with Liz. Egan Liz thank you so. I'm good to hear Your Voice Elizabeth Egan is an editor at the vicar view, and she also writes our monthly group type of column. Alexander altered joins us now with some news from the publishing world hey Alexandra Hey. Pamela tell us the latest. So everything is still preceding pretty well, considering the state of the nation sales are still good as we've discussed and print sales in particular are pretty robust and the industry you know after briefly hitting pause at the start of the pandemic Brookdale slowed down. A little bit for the first few weeks as people didn't know what the landscape would look like they've certainly picked up now and even seeing people starting new publishing ventures most notably this week molly stern announced that she starting a new publishing company she was publisher at Crown is Penguin Random House imprint probably best known for publishing one of the most successful memoirs in. Recent memory, which is Michelle Obama's becoming. She was handpicked to be Michelle Obama's editor and that was the best selling book of two, thousand eighteen. It was surprising to people when she left the company just a few weeks after that book came out in a restructuring they merged crown random house, those publishing divisions and molly left and people have kind of been waiting to. See what she would do next is a veteran. She's had twenty five years in the industry and is known for her both commercial sensibility and her interest in finding new literally voices and breaking people out her new company is interesting. It's called Xango and it was announced this week and it's a different model than I've seen before, I've seen publishers sort of try this. One imprint or another, but essentially she is envisioning. That will align publishing projects with particular either celebrities or prominent public figures or brands or companies who will be publishing partners have some kind of financial stake in it and will really promote that book with who their audience is. It's an interesting endeavor. It's not exactly the model publishers have used in the past were really they've relied on booksellers and media and reviews to kind of develop an audience for book but that's become more and more difficult lately particularly as sales have shifted rapidly online, it's just become very hard to break undiscovered writers or debut authors. The bet here is. That these platforms these prominent individuals and they wouldn't provide any names yet but they said they'll be announcing them will help a book finding audience. That's kind of unusual right to announce a new endeavor and not start with a few things under their belt and kind of go out with with some early success stories or concrete ideas. I. It is I mean often if you're starting a new imprint even or a new publishing company, you might have a couple of authors already signed on that. You can mention to show what your ethos is, what your taste and brand is. They didn't. Provide those they said they would be coming soon I think you know one clue may be is that Molly Stern also helped Sarah Jessica Parker started imprint at Crown under the hogarth line which was called S P and she told me I spoke to her about this new company and she said she learned a lot from that experience into how this could be done. But I think the other thing that's quite unusual about it is the notion that these individuals and brands and companies platforms will have a stake financial stake in the books that they're publishing in some cases they'll publish. Them under their own imprints but through Xango and then end will have its own wine as well and I guess what makes us all possible is that molly stern found some very deep pocketed investors with longstanding credibility in the media, and that is through this organization called sister, which was founded last year by Elizabeth Murdoch Stacey, Snider and Jane Featherstone. So these are women who have experienced in more in in sort of TV and film but they told me that their sensibilities are aligned with molly stearns. We should point out that Elizabeth, Murdoch Murdoch and in the sense of those Murdoch's. Daughter of Rupert Murdoch exactly and she and Molly Stern. Had Breakfast earlier this year and realize that they had this same goals in finding interesting new writers, voices, artists, and finding ways to break them out. That hasn't been tried before I think another thing they're going to try to do that could be different and I'm very curious to see of this works is their distribution model molly stearns said, she would use traditional methods, which would be probably something like Ingram, which is one of the biggest distributors. That's how you get your books to stores or some publisher sign up with a larger publisher Penguin. Random House, which distributes books for dozens of smaller publishers, but she's also looking at new distribution models like direct to consumer. So if she is aligned with these large companies and brands, and again, we don't know who they are. I think that will tell us a lot once they start naming them. You might see a new model of selling directly to consumers which publishers always been very wary of trying because you don't want alienate obviously Amazon certainly, barnes and noble even your independent booksellers because those are the retailers that have supported books and built up. Over decades, and so it's very tricky but I think if you're an independent publisher, you have the flexibility to try that, and if you have the backing of a of another large company or somebody with a huge platform could potentially work syllabi interesting to see how how all that shakes out. o'malley's stern was such a huge figure in the publishing world very well connected somebody's big successes from Andy We're to Sarah, Jessica, Parker God. What else did she did she do gone girl gone girl? Yes. Ready Player one and then some award winning nonfiction like victimized by Matthew Desmond. Obviously. Michelle. Obama Michelle Obama, and then some interesting works in translation the vegetarian by. King which also won awards so yeah across the gamut from big blockbuster stuff to more experimental literary fiction or works in translation ever since she left crown. I. Think People have just been wondering what she going to do next what she gonNA do next so it'll be really interesting to see how this pans out I agree and it'll be interesting to see how all her longstanding relationships in the industry come to play out. will she get some of those authors to come over to her new company in an experiment with this new model? It's little risky but she does have those relationships so we'll see who who she'll be publishing I. All right. There's. A foot in the publishing world tell us. Yes. In addition to Polish company, we've seen some in prince closing this week McMillan announced that it's closing one of their imprints which is called somewhat confusingly imprint and it was started in twenty fourteen and as a result, I think six positions are going to be eliminated. That's according to Publishers Lynch, which reported on this but I Think you saw real distress among the authors that are published by this imprint whenever this happens people who have their books setup who are planning to publish their have published there it's very disruptive and creates a lot of uncertainty for their careers because you have launched yourself through this place. So that was a setback for Macmillan and of course, they've had others they had layoffs. And they've had a big shakeup at the top as John Sergeant left as CEO was replaced by Don Weisberg. In more sort of uplifting news, there have been a number of interesting book deals this week and and significant ones. It seems like publishers are still willing to spend six, even seven figures on on new books. So one of the deals that caught my eye because she's a very well known public figure in politics and it's not a political book. It's Stacey Abrams who was known for her Romance Novels. She actually sold a Supreme Court thriller to Double Day. So that'll be interesting in Norton bought a new book from Richard. Powers, which I'm very much looking forward to he of course, when the Pulitzer for his most recent book, the over story. So curious see what he does. Next one other deal which sounded intriguing and to publishers weekly sold for a rumored two million dollars to doubleday is a debut by a copywriter and this was one of the deals that occurred at Frankfurt, and that's one of the fairs that often produces some of the biggest book deals typically and I was curious if the pandemic would kind of Denver on apparel hasn't. So, this book is a debut novel by Bunny Garments and it's called lessons in chemistry and two novel set in the early nineteen sixties, and it's about a woman who wants to be a scientist, but she encounters sexism and ends up being the host of a TV cooking show instead. So it sounds unusual and the fact that they has made a significant investment in it suggests that there was probably a bidding war and also that will probably be hearing a lot about it in the months to come. Perhaps, we'll talk about it again on this podcast. Alexandra, thanks so much for being here. Thanks for having me. Joining us now to talk about what we're reading my colleagues, Kohl's and Lauren Christianson hey guys. Hi Pamela Greg let's start with you. What are you reading right now I'm reading a novel called Pig Earth by John Birger Birger is best known as a British art critic. He wrote a book called ways of seeing that is still used in college art history classes I, read it myself in college. I'm sure some of our listeners did he was also a novelist he won the Booker Prize for a novel called Gee in Nineteen Seventy two and this book pig earth is the start of a trilogy that he wrote the trilogy collectively called into their labours and it's about. Kind of the the decline of peasant life it set in a small village in the French Alps. In Contemporary Times, the late seventies and it feels like a time removed from time a place removed from time because it's these hasn't rhythms. Thousands and thousands of years it opens with the slaughter of cow moves onto the birth of a cow and he's written an introduction to the book that says very explicitly that he's writing it as kind of a counter narrative to capitalism that peasant life is this kind of counter narrative to a capitalist society peasants have a peasant economy. It's all about just survival and the book is written in little fragments and anecdotes and vignettes and homes. It's very much a collage of peasant life more than any kind of straight narrative. In that way it reminds me a little bit of like Michael Indochina's early novels coming through slaughter or the collected works of Billy. The kid it's got this very impressionistic feel but it's impressions of village life in the French Alps and it's it's kind of riveting that way very physical, very violent lovely lovely writing although I have to say incredibly silly dialogue. Not his strength as a novelist characters saying things, Lake. Jesus. Marie Joseph the devil has seized by the collar. Just. Very silly. But then you know he goes on to lovely lovely passages of description even of incredible violence, you get this sense of how hard scrabble life is. And there's this funny adroit consciousness working. It's way underneath the tells whole stories in just a sentence or two. There's one character who dies from a boulder rolling down the hill and crushing a corner of the House and killing the wife in her bed leaving the husband untouched on his side of the bed and you get that story in paragraph another story, there's a suicide of a man who in his youth he made a lot of jokes. Then he became thoughtful and killed himself in his house with his initials carved above the door. You never even learn this man's name you only learn his initials. He's painting this whole picture of generations of peasants living in the Alps ISG earth by John Birger learn. What are you reading when you first said pig earth I think I allow a never read this I've no idea how we're going to transition from what you're. The Dean sound really resident. I'm reading that's my first Octavia Butler book. It's called wild seed and it's an tetralogy it's called seed to harvest I'm really not a sci-fi percent or fantasy i. know those genres are have never really appealed to me, but I was at a bookstore and the owner was so insistent that I read Octavia Butler, and so I picked this up I gave it a try and you know it was written I think nineteen eighty forty years ago. The themes are so timeless it's about a man in a woman names are Doro and Anyanwu and they've both been alive for centuries. He has the special ability to assume the body of whomever he kills and he's a very violent man and he has this ambition to start a new society, a new seed of humanity and he wants to breed children who like him will never die and he finds this woman onion woo who has also been alive for a very long time. Her power is to take whatever shape she chooses and she doesn't have to murder to do this and also to heal others the two of them form this kind of unlikely marriage. She's very resentful of his powers and the themes are really. Shape shifting between genders races, he can become a woman she can become a man in and how their bodily manifestations really complicate and enrich the power dynamics between the two of them and also their sexual relationship and they were both tribal people originally. But as they encounter white man, it begins in the sixteen hundreds. The next chapter is in the eighteen hundreds than a little bit after slavery ad I. Mean It's going through the history really of America and the slave class, the working class and its relationship with the with the dominant class and they're able to. Shape shift between black and white, and the way their actual personalities change concurrently with their outward appearances is such a strength of Octavia Butler. In the end to me, you know there is a lot of magic and there's a lot of fantasy elements. They don't seem at all gratuitous. You know not a hair out of place everything feels like it's a really purposeful suspension of disbelief to eliminate some really crucial aspect of humanity that is incredibly relevant to be reading right now I know everyone starts with parable of the sower I'll read that eventually but great the. I will say is not what your sounds like. This one is very biblical or almost you know it's a very epic quality. Diene in its tone, but the themes seem related to convert I think. So there are so many books in this tetralogy. So I will finish this one and then I'll have to repairable this hour because that's what talks antioxidant, Pamela, what are you reading? I just read two books that I probably on the surface they're going to sound very different, but there are actually some really interesting common thread. So the one I read I was real life, which is a novel by Brennan Taylor it's a debut novel. I think it's a largely autobiographical novel. The second book is the elephant in the room one fat man's quest to get smaller in a growing America by Tommy Tomlinson both of the author's. Southern, they are both from I don't know strictly speaking what level of poverty, but certainly not people who are well off by any stretch of the imagination and there is an empathy and an emotional truth to both of these books about very different ways of feeling really isolated and left out apart and different and misunderstood. So I'll talk about real life I and Lauren I know that you read this novel. So I'm eager to hear what you thought but realized is the story of a young Black Gay Grad. Student, a Science Grad student. Wallace and it takes place over the course of and and it's really the story of a relationship on its surface. But I think for me what rang most true and important just the portrait of a person in his twenty s, and there's an immediate seat and an intensity to the way in which Brennan Taylor writes about this person's emotional experience that for me really brought me back I'm a little bit of tears. PATINA has been away for my twenty at this in my life. Same Time I remember reading a book that made me feel what I felt during a decade a certain time ago. In. This way was John. Greens y novel the fault in our stars which made me remember like ever. So briefly on a gut level like Oh yeah that's what it was like when you were a teenager and you like incredible crushing, you fell in love for the first time. This book made me remember what it felt like to be in your twenty s where you not only are suffering through the incredible. Emotional throws of relationships but also trying to figure out who you are and where you fit into in the world and Brennan Taylor the author was also Science Grad Student. So one has to wonder if this was the calling that he came to after realising that perhaps the latest in science was not what he wants gets a really promising first novel. He's a really good writer very observant his character descriptions are great. Lauren what did you think I agree he he's really interestingly selective in his descriptive nece he goes. Yes. Definitely. The hit the characters of his peers at in in his department and university as well as I think he's studying. Like nematodes or something I mean the specificity but she describes his science experiments is just it's full of humor and the beginning of the novel you get this really passing descriptions not even a full sentence that his father has been dead for like a month or a couple months or something bad, and then it kind of brushed past and this the whole. The whole stage of the novel is really this kind of deeply specific relationship as you said, and school dynamics and the insecurities of being you know a black man in a white space and the grief is kind of the background context to all of that and I think that. He he portrays that really really beautifully. I'm so glad you brought up the death of the father because that was one of my favorite things to in that it's another example of Alien Nation because when he tells people that his father has died, their assumption is immediately that he is grieving the loss of this close relationship and the truth is is that we're not all close to our parents. We don't all have unalloyed grief when they die we may have grief for what we didn't have when our fathers or parents or someone close to us is something that we wish we had had, and that's a different kind of grief and. That's something that I think is really rarely written about it's a kind of forbidden emotion not to feel an alloyed love for a family member or grief when they die because it makes it uncomfortable for other people to give you solace because it's like they don't they don't know how to react to it. I thought that was really brave an interesting thing about. The other book that I read the Elephant in the room one fat mans class to get smaller integrating America by Tommy Tomlinson Book that goes into the category of books that I read because Dwight's review. Made Me WanNa read. Is a journalist who writes mostly about sports and music, and he was a columnist for a newspaper in North Carolina. All three of which are things I would never ever read. So I would have no familiarity with Tommy Tomlinson and I think if Dwight had not reviewed the spoke I would not have read it but he Gave it a favorable review and subsequently learns that Tommy Tomlinson is one of those writers writers that everyone loves. He's a beloved journalist. He was a Nieman fellow with a bunch of people in our generation of journalists and at the beginning of this book, he weighs four hundred and sixty pounds and key grew up in a family where food was love food was generosity food was strength food was parenting food was was taking care of someone and I just want to reach one short passage. My belly in a weird way is a monument to the incredible feat that he and Mama pulled off they survived the cotton fields and scrape together a better life through hard work and good sense and kindness. They raised a boy who never had to worry about having enough to eat that has caused its own problems, but I would take these problems every. Day over the ones they had to face just one generation ago. My people wrote to town a wagon and Houston outhouse. Now, I have a closet full of clothes and a frequent fire account. It is only fair in some ways that I hold this weight around my mom and dad carried the heavy end of the lute long before I got here and. I'm really glad I read this book in the beginning your description really reminded me of heavy the Casey, Lemon yes. Casey. Lehman book but it sounds like it's kind of the opposite approach to other relationship between a family relationship and and wait you know in in heavy I think there was a really antagonistic relationship with his mother fueling his feeding disorder. Yeah what's really interesting is that an and this is again why you just can't help loving Tommy Tomlinson reading this book he doesn't blame his parents at all. In fact, he really credits them and he feels for them and he talks about you know the ways in which they handled his weight he was always heavy and the and the ways in which. They tried to get him to lose weight even early on even as they were in certain ways inadvertently undermining his health and he is extraordinarily empathetic and loves them unabashedly. It's a really kind of remarkable thing. You just seems like an incredibly warm and generous person. The book has a lot of similarities with any kind of addiction memoir in that there are. Obviously. Common themes between over eating and any other compulsive or addictive behavior. All Right, Greg let's run down titles again. What did you read pig Earth by John Birger I read wild seed by Octavia Butler and I read real life by Brennan Taylor and the elephant in the room one fat man's quest to get smaller and a growing America by Tommy Tomlinson. Remember there's more at NY TIMES DOT com slash books, and you can always write to us at books at NY Times? Dot. com I write back not right away but I do the Book Review Podcast is produced by greet Pedro Rossato from head stepper media with a assist for my colleague John. Williams. Thanks for listening for the New York Times I'm Pamela Paul.

Manchester North Water Pamela United States Elizabeth Egan Tommy Tomlinson murder John Birger Birger Lauren Christianson Egan Liz Pamela Paul Octavia Butler Ian Maguire publisher Stephen Doyle Crown Michelle Obama Alexander alterable America
Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2020

The Book Review

1:10:06 hr | 8 months ago

Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2020

"This episode is brought to you by the house of chanel for gabrielle. Chanel reading was refuge. Which allowed her to invent her own destiny. Right from childhood literature became a passion. She shared with the love of her life. Boy capelle and her friends like cocteau. Colette revenge and max jacob. She helped the also. She admired without them. Knowing she had the story of her life told by pomo hall new deville mojo and michel deal she read for inspiration and then became an inspiration. Herself watched the film gabrielle. Chanel and literature at insight dot com. It's our ten best books of two thousand twenty. This week's episode was recorded on november. Twenty third the zoom in front of live audience online. Please forgive pickups and sound quality and the longer length we hope the books and conversations are worth it. Joining me in. This episode are a number of my fellow editors at the book review. Tina jordan greg. Kohl's and j franklin gal beckerman lauren christianson. Emily aitken dave. Kim and elizabeth egan as well as my podcast comrade-in-arms john williams good morning. Everyone i'm pamela. Paul editor of the new york times fokker view. Welcome to the best books of twenty twenty. Were so happy to have all of you here with us today. We're thrilled have so many people join us from so many places. This is the benefit of doing this here. In zoom as opposed to you in the time center in new york city we have time subscribers joining us this morning from every single state plus more than fifty countries including argentina new zealand and denmark. And before i start of thank you. Your subscription to the times are what allow us and our colleagues to do our work choosing the ten best books of the year is year long process and believe it or not. We've already started on twenty twenty one. Your subscriptions help make this work possible and we thank you for that. Speaking of my team at the book review. I'd like to welcome some of my colleagues on the dust joining with me. Today dave kim. Mj franklin in christianson. Emily aken john williams elizabeth. Egan gal beckerman tina jordan and greg. Kohl's before we get into the list. I'm gonna talk very briefly about what we mean by best book and how we go about choosing them for us a best book a book that stands on the merits of its pros and its storytelling and succeeds on the terms that the author sets out for it. It's a book that might be of the moment. But it's a book that we also think transcends the moment and will stand the test of time we don't choose these folks because we necessarily agree with them support. A political or ideological message voted by them or personally like the authors. We don't choose books merely because we consider them important worthy. The best books have to succeed in always on all levels. We choose these books because we think these books offer a level of achievement that readers have come to expect from the new york. Times is impossible to fully convey what it takes to get there. But let me say this when i called this year long process. I mean we start this list as soon as we finish the last one and yes they said we'd be gone on twenty twenty one. The bulk of the work is reading. I know it doesn't seem like real work. But we are deep reading reading repeatedly and of course after that Discussion in which editors at the book review many of whom are here today. Talk about these votes with one. Another and no-hold-bars discussed we debate. We strongly and freely disagree with one another but we listen to each other's arguments and we continue to read ourselves with an open mind and ultimately after months of deliberation we have a vote sometimes has relied. There'll be a run off but we ultimately come to one of the ten best books that we all feel excited and proud of so without further ado. Let's get into it. I'm doing start with fiction. And i up on fiction list. We have a children's bible by lydia millet my colleague. Emily is going to start us off talking about that novel. Good morning bursa. Couple of words about lydia millet. She is a veteran novelist. The author of perhaps a dozen books several of them prize winning. Though i think it's fair to say she's known by that ambiguous monica writers writer and i'm hopeful that with the children's bible she will find the larger audience. I think she deserves another important. Fact about lydia millet is that she has a day job. She has a degree in environmental policy and works at an environmental nonprofit in arizona where she lives and as we'll see that's that's fact is relevant to a children's ball so let's talk about the book. It has a deceptively simple allure. Got that cover Children's nursery rhyme style with the little baby animals across it It's written in a very understated and playful way at spilled with short sharp dialogue. A lot of it among teenagers yet. There's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. When i first read the book. I told my colleagues think of it as the big chill meets apocalypse now and i think that got them interested in the book. it turns out. That's a pretty in exact analogy but let's run with it a little bit today. So the big chill part. The book opens with a reunion of college friends now. Middle aged who've rented a big house in the country for the summer with their kids be convened bear and immediately they regress they start boozing popping ecstasy bed hopping in their kids who range in age from elementary school. To high school. Watched this spectacle with mounting discussed. So in the book is narrated by one of the kids at a precocious ri- teenager named evi and the first section. The book is really a kind of generational comedy done in with a very light touch. But then the gear shift a storm arrives. It's no ordinary storm and suddenly things take a very dark and sinister turn turn and this is the apocalypse now. Part of the book Yes there are some deranged men with guns who show up. The apocalypse here is really climate apocalypse. And the grownups can't cope. There's total social breakdown infrastructure collapse and the kids have to take charge so among other things a children's bible is an indictment a generation's failure to deal with climate change One last thing. I want to say about this. Very remarkable book is that it's populated with allusions to the bible. You might not notice them. They're very cleverly interpolated into the plot but they come with increasing frequency as the story progresses. There's a moses figure floating on a blow up wrapped in reeds there's a noah's ark seen as animals are rescued from the floodwaters. Sarah three wise men in the form of hikers off the appalachian trail who arrive in time. To witness the birth of a baby in a barn in a major there's even a crucifixion. And a leave it to you. Minutes readers to decide what she's up to here but She's not religious writer or a sacrilegious writer But with elegant subtlety and again unfailingly light touch. She seems to be suggesting that our most ancient stories have a profound contemporary resonance and the result is a book. That's funny and timely. And and deep. And i know nj. My colleague has some other thoughts about it and jay. I was still beautifully said and one of the things that you mentioned that i think hits ilma had is that there's more than meets the eye in this book. I have a copy here. It is pretty book for how densely packed with metaphor and in in residence it is. There're two things. I wanted to point out with this book. Which is one it starts off so funny and becomes horrifying and what's happening in this world. And what these kids are having to face and with the thing that i really gravitated toward while reading. Was it really taps into this. Kind of like generational anger that i think. A lot of young people feel about climate change of adults had stopped. But the able to do they did it. And i think this book like liberalizes that and you see how these kids at first are angry at the adults in the book and they kind of do that horrible on not net just disappointed that kind of thing where they say like we will take care of ourselves in. It's it's such a fascinating journey to go on. The other thing i wanted to say is when you have a book titled the children's bible you start looking for all of the biblical metaphors in the biblical certainly there. But what really impressed me with this book is that you get the sense that the biblical metaphors are there. Justify one to one relationship really Take the story and boost it up into this round with gravitas on the same level of some of our most sacred stories of. How do we cope with climate change. How do one how does one ration- kind of grapple with the failures of another. It's really remarkable and considering how slim this book is is so fantastic. Incredibly crafted highly. Encourage you to check it out. It's deserving place on this list. all right i'm jay. Emily thank you so much going onto our second title on the fiction side. it is homeland elegies by. I add actor john. Tell us about this book. I only have a couple of minutes to talk about a book that is not interested in being reduced that actually i think that's one of its greatest strength so it's kind of interesting but i'm so happy to talk about it because i found it to be maybe the most interesting novel of this year for me to really boil it down as a reviewer hurry comes wrote in the book review is that this book is the cascade of scenes and stories the vibrate the stressful contradictions of an american muslim. Life my colleagues night talked a lot this year actors. Interesting and even provocative decision to call this book a novel because so much of it really maps very directly with his own life to the point where calling it. An autobiographical novel almost doesn't feel like enough The narrator of the book like actor won the pulitzer prize for drama in two thousand thirteen. And that is just one of many berries. Specific details like that but ring true with everyday life. So that's an example of art imitating life. Did actress father. A doctor really treat donald trump for heart trouble in the nineteen nineties. I don't know but the story does open the novel with that riveting story. I'm so we had some good natured. Discussions about this really is but we all agree that it was excellent and that it belonged on his less reverend shelves. In wherever aktar decides shelved ultimately perhaps not surprisingly given his renown as a playwright. One of the novel's greatest strengths is its sense of dialogue and by that i don't just mean what the characters say to each other but this is a book that very much through its narrators. Intelligence puts places ideas and people dialogue with each other. There's a sense including the narrator himself in one could say for aktar himself there even to homelands in the book's title home analogies there's pakistan the country from which actors parents emigrated to the united states. I should say the narrators parents. But after two in the late nineteen sixties and there is america the country where actor An aerator were raised mostly in the suburbs of milwaukee and so through all of this. There are bits that read like memoir their like personal essays. The read that sort of open out into novelist scenes and what occurs really. Writing about over and over again is what it is to be a muslim in america especially after nine eleven and obviously there's a lot of contentiousness involved the napper's lot of bigotry involved in that but many times when you think that actor is making point for your side whichever side that might happen to be He tends to complicate that point in a very next sentence. And the result is not confusion and contradiction But actually Clarity of an increasingly rare. Kind which is the clarity of the truth that people are endlessly fascinating in yes maddeningly complex and i suppose that's ultimately what makes the book feel like a novel to me is. It's interesting getting fully inside of people including the author himself not to fully understand or forgive them necessarily but to convey them as accurately as possible and so that in a nutshell is a book. That certainly isn't made to fit into one. My colleague dave wants to talk about it too. Had if y thanks john. I mean my favorite parts of this novel are actually the sections that veer away from narrative and into social commentary on just an array of issues. I mean you'll never have known that you were so interested in robert bork and municipal finances and medical malpractice until you read october just breaking things down and showing you why these things should matter to you and what impresses me most is i think the breadth of his range books are often marketed. By how they help you understand particular aspect of society or a group. Whether it's the american listen experience of the crush of dad or i mean homeland elegies does these things. But it really helped me understand. America better you know. October opens with walt whitman and melville and emerson in this kind of american transcendental myth that i think we're all familiar with and then he just spends the rest the book you know just dismantling it to pieces and you know you mentioned the akhtar's father of the narrators father who's this aspirational american lured by the pleasures of decadence and speaking pamela. About this about how. The father is like a dream. He's like the lead. Your richly reported story about trump's appeal among immigrants and people have caller etc. But you know the character is also so fully developed and the rich. They're not just cardboard. Stand ins for a social archetype. But the real human beings. And i just. I love that about this book. And if you're the type of person who really needs a linear narrative conventional structure. I urge you to go in with an open mind. It's been a very confusing election year with just a million dynamics at play. This book really helped me make a lot of sense of it. All right third on our list on the fiction side. Deacon king calm by james mcbride and dave you start off again. Tell us about that novel. Sure deacon king kong begins with an elderly church deacon names or code shooting a neighborhood drug dealer in the face and unfortunately for sport coat that drug dealer survives and so sport code is essentially just signed his own death warrant. It's nineteen sixty nine. Were in public housing project in a part of brooklyn. That sounds a lot like red hook. Racial inequality is stark. Poverty is even starker and yet this was one of the funniest liveliest books. I've read in this very year. Imagine the wire but with a little more church. Imagine like dickens. But with sam cooke in which Playing on the soundtrack sportcoats coat is seventy one. He's he's drinking himself to death. He's just about the last person anyone would expect to take on a drug dealer. I mean he even. He doesn't know why he did it and doesn't remember even doing it But the shooting sets off this chain reaction and spreads across the neighborhood and sweeps up this huge cast of characters from churchgoing old-timers to rival drug dealers to mobsters who run the local docks detectives and they all have like really colorful nicknames like hot sausage and beanie and pudgy fingers. This isn't a book that distills down easily to a quick plot summary. You could act. You could criticize the book for all the different subplots and the elaborate revson jokes that he's throwing in but and you wouldn't be wrong but you'd also be like the guy at the concert who's yelling at the band for playing too many solos not focusing on the song i mean you know when you're in good hands like the writer and the writer is a master and clearly having a great time it's far more enjoyable to just sit back. Enjoy the music. He's he's also an expert at switching from major to minor keys from that like just larger than life coen brothers schumer to really biting social commentary and it ultimately leaves you in a happy place feeling that despite all the darkness and despair in the world good fortune and goodwill can still exist. I think it's just a great book to read. If you need a bit of a pick me up. And i know gall had some thoughts to thanks dave well i mostly just gonna offer a great big amen to that i. This is just a grid with so much joy you know. It's clear that like you said that he's having such a great time. The word that kept coming back to me over and over again as i was reading it was a technicolor. You the kind of word we used to use to describe things that were sort of had brightness this lushness to them like almost like a saturation of colors. He just brightest loves these characters in the. You just adores their flaws. Their agonies their desires. And there's something just really wonderful about that sort of he's almost like he's not holding back as a writer he's just throwing the kitchen sink of his whole creative magic nation into it And letting it just overflow with all of those characters and subplots of course he happens to pull it off you know unless the writers and it might not have worked The other thing i wanted to mention is is the way that he plays with genre. There's a you mentioned the shooting in his kind of starts off. You feel like you're going to get a crime story here but the shooting is really just the sort of pretense to take you into the world of this project that he's created in south brooklyn and all of the many subplots and it. Just it's it's firoz out in so many directions one of my favorite. Is this story of the this kind of older irish cobb who is investigating the shooting. Sport coat is involved in any ends up. Just falling in love with one of the church ladies harboring And she falls in love with him on an and she's black and he's this old adage cob it's nineteen sixty nine and he you know mcbride just gives us sort of full access to their feelings to there's an aching for one another and it's just you know it's sweet and sad and funny you know a lot like the rest of the whole book golf. Thank you all right. We are on number four now. The fourth book on a fiction side is hamlet by maggie of feral. And tell us about that my colleague. Liz egan. I think you all for joining us this morning. Let me set the scene for him. Net a plague is sweeping the nation ordinary people. In small far-flung towns are reeling from its impact unsure of who to trust how to stay safe and really what to do. This might sound familiar to many of. You certainly sounded familiar to me when i picked it up. Welcome to him. It maggie o'farrell's eerily incredibly timely novel about a family kick with unimaginable loss. In their case the pandemic is the blue bonnet plague and the year is fifteen eighty. Something and the small town is stratford upon avon in england. And the family in question. Here is the shakespeare family. Yes those shakespeare's william a fledgling playwright. His wife agnes who has also been known throughout history as an but is called. Agnes in this case. And their three children their older daughter judith and twins susannah and ham net. You might recognize the echo of hamlet and hem net and apparently back in shakespeare's time. The two names were somewhat interchangeable in real life. We know that hamlet's son died when he was eleven and maggie o'farrell imagines that he died of the black death we don't know for sure and what what she's been is a story of a family piecing itself back together and his absence and a mother. Turning to nature for solace. Shakespeare's wife was a healer and found peace and comfort in nature. The father william who whose name is only mentioned twice in the book himself in work disappears to london to work on his great masterpiece which is turning out to be hamlet and a community reeling from loss but still ticking along as as communities. Do you don't have to be a shakespearean scholar to love this book. You really just need to believe in hope and have an interest in seeing how history repeats itself. My colleague. Emily recommend this look to me and i read it over fourth of july weekend. I at a very low stressful time and just could not stop thinking about it. So i i want it to pass it over to emily and hear what she has to say about ham net. Yes thank you liz. I'm just going to underscore how bold a work of fiction. I think this is to write about shakespeare in a serious literary novel. Which is what this is takes Some bravura and there are so few sort hard facts that we know about shakespeare's life that it's also a real opportunity for novelist. And it maggie. Farrell has taken these three facts. One the death of your son in fifteen ninety six at the age of eleven from what caused. We do not know the writing of hamlet which occurred just a few years later. Hand the the very suggestive fact that the names hamlet in hamlet were used interchangeably in elizabethan england. This fact that's come to light in recent scholarship so it's just inconceivable that shakespeare wasn't thinking about his son recently deceased when he wrote this play. Maggie farrell has farrell has has taken these facts and created an entire world around them. I will say that she has the good sense to sort of kick. Shakespeare offstage for much of the book. We meet him as a love struck teenager. He's a latin tutor at the farmhouse. Where agnes his future wife's lives and once they fall in love and get married he sort of disappears in this becomes really a book about a mother's bond with her children and her devastation at the deaths of one of them which is really extraordinary. The book is just full of palpable. Sensual imagery satang of leather in the father. Shakespeare's father's glove shop. He was glover the fragrance of the apples in the shed where shakespeare and agnes have their first kiss. It's just a remarkably completely realized book. Read it all right. Fit and final book on the fiction. Side is the vanishing half. They break bennett. And j over you so excited to talk about this book and i'm a little bit overwhelmed with how to begin talking about it and i think once you read it you'll feel similarly stumped in a good way and i think buses because of how dynamic the vanishing half by as it starts off in nineteen sixty eight in a small town in the south the town is populated entirely by light skinned black people and starts off at the core are twin sister stella in disarray. They grew up in this town but when they're sixteen they run away then later desert stella runs away from desert within their splits and it really of the novel is about what happens to them in their life gathering goes back to her town in resides there while stella mussa la and starts passing as a white woman than the book of pivots and then follows their children as their kind of navigating the world. And i don't want to the. There's a lotta fly in such a good page. Turner way. I don't want to spoil anything so i'll leave it at that but the word that comes to my mind when i think about this book is rich. This book is so layered and dynamic and complex and the way you have this colonel. The dent sprouts starts weaving together. I know mixing metaphors. Because is what happens when you talk about this book. You see really. How all of these people's lives stella decorate jude daughter kennedy and other daughter other lies starts really intertwining and almost was like playing with feet in such a fantastic way but the other richness is. I like to say that this book feels like giving someone candy to feed them vegetables that you get this really compelling plot but then there's also this rich conversation about what passing is. Everyone is passing in this book. In some type of way it starts off so overt with stella was passing as a white woman been later. You have one character. One of the daughters is in actress. A literal type of passing professional passing another character. She is dating someone who is trans. And that's another type of passing as well and then the book starts this conversation of. What does it mean to pass. Who passes and why who has harmed in a safe when you are passing in a year. Like twenty twenty. When we're thinking about our entities opping about what it means to be saved having a book this compelling and this rich talking about these topics that were feeling on a daily basis. I it feels like a gift and the one other thing. The last thing. I'll say is. This book focuses on a twin sisters. I a twin myself and it is as someone who has seen a lot of movies about twins. Tv shows went twins books about twins. It's really hard to get right and brooke bennett. Totally does she gets the sa- gather apart this of being a twin and it doesn't feel cheesy at all a kind of feels like two sides of the same coin. She strikes that a nail right on the head and it is such a remarkable book. But i know my colleague. Lauren had a lot to say in this book to use own passovers her. Thanks j. what you just said is a perfect transition to what i was thinking. Which is that. This book is so incredibly. Authentic especially for a book about passing the kind of overarching message. That i really got was. She's complicating deepening. The notion of passing that. Maybe we read in nella larsen's book or that we've read. Tony morrison big influences on brit bennett. one of the ways that she makes this story so so much even even more universal and so relatable and really hammered home. The emotion of it is through this story. Of motherhood. These are two jin kennedy. The two daughters one is white and because of their their fathers one is effectively appears white and one effectively appears way bennett describes her is black. You know just you know. Some people do not get to pass. You know she she is. There's no denying her race. And there's just it's such a beautiful literal effective description of what daughters inherit or what children inherit from their parents. And how that can be positives and negatives how it can be insecurities. How can be choices that that weren't really the daughters to make and they're really the ones i think that again without giving away the plot i think a lot of action lies with them and speaking of the action in the plot is so elaborate as mj alluded to and there's this moment in in the book. It's probably a third of the way. Through where i think you start to see the architecture of at your okay so we have these four women and i kind of i kind of brace myself like oh my god is this which he's trying to do like this is such an ambitious goal to set for yourself and she just carries you through. I mean there's there's the melodrama there's just the incredibly again authentic emotion that you know. It's not just she doesn't just pull it off. It's really it's a pleasure so again. This is definitely one of my favorite books All right we're going to start on nonfish side. I up hidden valley road by robert full gert. Deputy editor of the book review. Tina jordan joins us to talk about it. Hi everyone thanks for joining us. Actually listening to my colleagues talk about fiction. I'm struck at how many of the novels have a lot to do with mothers and this nonfiction book does as well. It's the story of the galvin family. There was don who is an air force academy official his wife. Mimi and they're twelve kids ten boys to girls warren between nineteen forty five and nineteen sixty five. They were sort of a a picture. Perfect step in stairs family. They went to church every sunday. The boys all served as altar boys. They sat down for dinner at six o'clock sharp every night. Their mother sent these beautiful christmas card photos every year with the kids. You know dressed in the matching suits and dresses. She ran a very tight ship. She sort of had to the father. Dawn was a lot less involved. He tended to call his sons by their numbers as in he number six over here but that beautiful started to crack when the oldest son the handsome athletic outgoing oldest son. Donald was in college and he showed up at the university infirmary several times with cat bites and the last time he was there. The staff's figured out that he had this cat bites because in fact he was hurting animals. He was torturing these cats and they ordered a mental health. Workup and he was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. And then in fairly short order five brothers followed and we're also diagnosed and what coker is doing in hidden valley road. He's telling the one hand the story of the family but he's also telling the story of the science behind schizophrenia. The doctors ideas of even what it was at the time. The children were diagnosed. What caused it. How the treatments involved. In fact the galvin's became the largest single family. Schizophrenia studied the national institute of mental health. Had ever had win. The boy started being diagnosed. Dr still believed that schizophrenia was caused by childhood trauma specifically the mother that changed over time. I think i would have to say that what what sets this apart as a work of narrative. Journalism is coker's empathy because everybody in the family. The parents the children who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. The children who are not but who are of course constantly worried that they they will be. Everyone really gets a fair hearing and emerges as a whole person and there's a point in the book in which coker says when one family member is diagnosed with a mental illness. The foundation of that family begins to slip to tilt towards the sick person. And that's where everybody's energy goes but when six family members are that's the stuff of greek tragedy and it's what coker is exploring here. I know my colleague. Lord christianson liked this book as much as i did lawrence. I think what you're talking about the empathy. I mean the paranoia in this book is truly contagious. as one. After her child in his family starts to fall ill with this incredibly mysterious disease. And what's interesting about it is. The symptoms are totally different child to child even in these kids with relatively similar dna. It can look really different at different times. Different manifestations so all the other kids imagine being one of the other six children first of all being one of the kids who was often victimized by their sick siblings so having to deal with that as well as having to constantly live with the fear that you're going to be next year. I mean they're they're all one of them. One of them is sad. One day one of them is experimenting with lsd. 'cause it's the sixties and all of a sudden all of these things in their lives become potential warning signs and that mood of paranoia is so powerful in this book and that's really just the intimate private aspect of the story and and tina talked about how this is also a larger cultural narrative over twenty years in the middle the twentieth century. How the science behind schizophrenia really evolved and that's a huge huge portion of it. I'm also really interested in shifting cultural attitudes towards mental illness. broadly in the middle of the century estimates and. They were blaming schizophrenia. On a failures of of mothering in the beginning and the way that really shifts and how this one family just becomes this kind of microcosm for a whole society looking at i guess the interplay between nature and nurture. We have this. This is a really really powerful book. Lauren thank you all right. The second book on the nonfiction side is a promised. Land by barack obama. Call so this is a memoir by someone who all readers over our audience watching. This will be very familiar with who he is. The forty fourth president of the united states. It's seven hundred pages and apparently it's only volume one just to give you a sense of the book. It begins with his early life and then it quite economically takes us up towards his early political career and then around. Page two hundred. We enter the white house and from there. It's sort of the into the wild ride of his first term. We get him. Emerging out of the two thousand eight financial crisis passing the affordable care. Act that sort of strange beer summit some people might remember and all the way through the arab spring and then the book finally ends in in two thousand eleven. He's meeting marines. Who were involved in the raid killed. Osama bin laden and presumably the next volume will take us up through the second term. So what what. I really distinguished this book. Not just as a as a presidential memoir but really just as a book was obama's level of introspection his insight into himself his way of describing his own motives is thinking the away his own the wheels of his mind work and i know that i think some people found this sort of maddening in obama as a leader. Sometimes this sort of penchant for constant deliberation sort of that profess oriel quality that he sometimes had. But here i think it actually makes for really great storytelling an memo-writing because this is not just like a triumphal story of a win after win after win which you know one can imagine a presidential biography being. He's constantly giving these multiple sides to an argument taking you through the process of his own decision. Making you know offering to explain where things might have gone wrong where he could have done something different and it really is just this sort of intimate portrait of an intelligence awful human being who have city sitting in the most powerful office in the world and then on top of that. This is the first black president and so this insight. This perspective is particularly point. There were so many moments that i found just moving. You know being able to kind of look to look on the other side of what was happening inside the white house. One vignette that. I still stays with me and i i just to give you a sense of some of the quality of the book. He's describing their early weeks in the white house and the way that the two older two oldest most senior butlers in the white house were were black men who had served in the white house since i think one nixon the other one rating and they kept wearing as they always did for every president their tuxedos when they would serve them dinner and this bothered barack and michelle at some point because they can kind of relate to these men they they understood them as people who could potentially be family members and they pleaded with them to take off the tuxedos to just wear casual clothes when they serve them and they refused refused refused and finally they. He describes a conversation in which they say. These two men Say to them. You know we don't want you to be treated differently than any other president was treated. That that's important. Has that matters to us for details that really elevated the book for me and then just a word also about the writing which i also Really for all of us was significant about this book. He he really has this gift for narrative detail which is something that we already saw And dreams of my father his his first book. It comes through very strongly here especially in the first third of the book. You know there were details that i still remember. You know he describes. I remember him talking about wrapping a towel around his waist while he's reading in the back of his grandfather's car after coming back from the beach in hawaii it was not to get the seat wet or the distinct memories of his daughters babies. They're so specific in human. Obviously this sort of rich narrative gets a little harder as he enters the white house in the world shrinks. And it's meeting after meeting but really there's not a page that goes by where he doesn't try to sort of bring in something that that makes the scene pop. He understands what he needs to do to sort of. Put you there so automatically. This felt like we were just given like. I said a very special insight by man knows himself well and is willing to be honest and has the skills to also write a page turner even seven hundred pages. I know liz. My colleague esteemed colleague also appreciated the spokes. Can you tell us a little bit more. I definitely did appreciate it. Thank you go on. I haven't spent this much time in a former presidents head. I think since. I did a report in third or fourth grade on warren g hardy And it was really a pleasure to be In president obama's head for seven hundred and one pages. I think and what really spoke to me about this book. Aside from devestating window into working with other world leaders and to the you know the front row seat on the machinations of the us government. What really hit me. As i read it was incredibly intimate at the obama family There's a generosity to president obama's storytelling. That i don't think i've i've seen before especially in the in the harding paperwork that i read back in the day but we really come to understand what this family this very ordinary family. What they sacrificed for the time they were living in the white house not being able to run to. Cbs not being able to just walk the dog down the street. And we really get inside president obama's head and also inside michelle's head. I of course also read her memoir. And i would say this one gave me an even deeper insight into how hard the first year of the administration was on her and i appreciated the knowledge sacrifice. But the like. I said before the generosity of being able to wrap my mind around that i always thought of presidents as people who are somehow other than who weren't part of my world in any way but reading this book you really understand how the obamas were an ordinary family who made a tremendous sacrifice for our country. So don't be daunted by the length of this book it goes quickly and it's also a great book to pass to teenagers. If you have any who are interested in the way the world works and the way the government runs. It's not just for an adult audience. Liz thank you. I wanted to inject one note here. A little bit of how. The sausage is made with regards to that book. Because as i said this is a year long process but this book just came out and so whereas we had months to deliberate about most of the other books on our list this one basically we had a weekend And get to the point that booth all analysts made about the readability of the book. It really read very quickly which was useful for us because we were all essentially reading it in two days and then we convened on monday to have a very real conversation about. Let's make sure that we are judging this book as a memoir and trying to separate that from what a memoir presidential more means at this moment and sort of the grand statement and Politics behind that buck and to really look at the book as a work of writing in an of itself the next book also a book about writing in its way is shakespeare in a divided america by james shapiro and talk about that senior editor. Greg kohl's thank you pamela. More than any other book. I think on our list to this one tells you right in its title what it's about. It's a book about shakespeare in a divided america. If you know anything about the author james shapiro you know how qualified he is to write. This book is a shakespeare scholar professor of english and comparative literature at columbia university's written a number of other books about shakespeare including in two thousand fourteen. He edited a volume for the library of america called shakespeare in america that compiled reviews of shakespeare productions over the years speeches that people had written influenced by shakespeare or other plays that drew on shakespeare. So kind of looking at the reception of shakespeare in america in this book seems like a clear. Follow up to that. Instead of shakespeare in america. Shakespeare in divided america and he starts in colonial times and moves generation by generation and issue by issue through big conflicts defining american society looking at how those played out very specifically in productions of shakespeare. So he starts out migration and racism in america talking about how john quincy adams responded very violently against for fellow in fellow. It's not even that. John quincy adams hated. Othello was racist. He hated the mixing of the races. And and instead of responding against the fellow he responded against as dimona in her desire so he he gets into these kind of nuanced things like that then he moves on to manifest destiny. And what's interesting there is. He's talking about sense of itself at as it's kind of taking on its brashness and moving across the continent looks at a production of romeo and juliet where romeo was played by an actress charlotte cushman. Who was lesbian. Although they didn't have the term for it then in often took male roles in shakespeare and was renowned for her romeo and traveled europe to great success. But just at a time. That america was kind of seizing new land and she came to represent this brash american identity for her portrayal of romeo and he he moves on. Marriage is one in. He talks about taming. The shrew in immigration is lying and he talks about the tempest and and specifically about caliban in the tempest And so on right up to the present his a little detour not into shakespeare shakespeare. Play itself into movie. Shakespeare in love and he talks about the early script for shakespeare in love that had a lot of gender bending And same sex stuff going on and how that was not okay with hollywood back in the ninety s Trimmed all of that out and then he. He brings it right up to the shakespeare in the park. Production of julius. Caesar in two thousand seventeen became a huge cultural touchstone because caesar was portrayed by donald trump look alike so his assassination. The the right-wing media seized on it saying look at these. Liberal new yorkers advocating for these estimation of the president and shapiro. Points out that in fact back in twenty twelve obama's administration. Somebody had staged julius caesar with obama look like there was no parallel outcry on the left. So what he's doing. I read this book right before. I read hamlet and knowingly. I i read it kind of preparation for reading hamlet to get in the mindset to read about shakespeare's life in a work of fiction and i was expecting to read a work of literary criticism The this is what james shapiro does. It's not that relates a work of history and of cultural history. That very nimbly shows how these issues recur intersect with each other racism and sexism in class war or maybe my favorite chapter in this whole book was about an incident. I was not familiar with before. I read it the astor place riots in eighteen forty nine where you have a again brash. American actor edwin forrest who is in direct competition with a slightly foppish british actor. William charles mcgrady were. They're staging competing versions of the same plays in new york city kind of going head to head with their different acting styles and be it came to symbolize this class war of the elites the foppish british sympathizers against the american kind of direct manly macho portrayal and it resulted finally in a riot of tens of thousands of people in astor place where a militia came in there were like twenty deaths cobblestones thrown through the astor place opera house. The theater where the where mccreevy was was staging macbeth. And and so you you get the sense that these things that were still dealing with. Today we have always been dealing with. It was popular during the trump era for historians to remind americans that this extreme partisanship that we're facing is nothing new in american life in american culture. It has always been with a in this book. That does add a little bit in. That kind of jon. Meacham sense i think. Trying to reassure you that no no. We've been through this before. I personally didn't find it. Reassuring founded terrifying that we live on the brink can and have lived on the brink since the beginning. But i love have shapiro turns. It takes you through this all. Through the lens of shakespeare it shows that the players are still alive and depends entirely on what the audience brings to them with your cultural worldview and cultural context. And you dry out different meaning from it depending on where you're coming to it. I know emily like this book as well like to give her a chance. You covered it so comprehensively. I'll just odd one or two points one. You would think that just about everything that can be said about. Shakespeare has been said and we have two books. One orca fiction and then this cultural history about shakespeare and yet. This book is just filled with amazing. Fact wade's and insights I'll just highlighted see one. It's very striking shapiro. Gifts abundant evidence. That americans seem to have been over the course of our history more engaged. Shakespeare's work than any other people on earth including britain from john quincy adams to the trump era. We have invoked teach shakespeare in our political discourse in particular in very striking ways. We have a hundred and fifty summer. Shakespeare festival's that's doris anyone else anywhere in the world. We really love this guy so the book is just populated with fresh and surprising. Insights and shapiro is constantly stressing. How malleable shakespeare's works are. They are so subtle and complex. He's ear reduced to a political or ideological position and has therefore been embraced by people. Like stephen bannon on the one hand and people on the left on the other. And it's this is todd. walk it. It's a supple elegance book. It goes down like a fresh drink. It's really fun thing. Similarly all right the fourth book on a nonfiction side is uncanny valley by anna. Weiner lauren over to you. Thank you at this point. It feels really impossible that this book came out in twenty twenty. I think it was like the beginning of january which is just. It's hard to stretch back in my memory but This book so anna weiner right now is a new yorker writer thirty something and she writes about tech in san francisco so that could be a bit of a tip off for the general thrust of the book as you know. She's she's looking back on a time when she was in her mid twenties. It's mid twenty tens and she was working at a low paying publishing job in new york city and got swept up in the wave. That was pulling a lot of her peers. Educated young people toward silicon valley. The allure of the six figure salaries and the office perks like free snacks and the general optimism about a brighter future that i think there s a publishing may not always offer but This memoir is really about wieners. Gradual disillusionment with that promise. You know she becomes more and more in mashed. In the culture of digitizing everything optimizing everything streamlining and you know the the thought that everything has to be extremely efficient and everyone has to be productive all the time and she starts to see and describes so beautifully and articulately. The the consequence of that which is our individuality as human beings are at even sometimes. Our morality can be eroded if not erased in some extreme cases. My colleagues and i talked about this one scene that was particularly effective where it's presumed. She never names presumed. She works for the software company. Get hub and she was walking on the streets of san francisco and she sees a homeless man wearing of zip up hoodie. Bearing the logo for company. And it's just this really powerful. Brief image of sort of how corporate america becomes at the detritus. It leaves in. Its wake me just pivoting to the writing. It's so sharp and insightful There's there's something really savage about the east coast literary voice on the kind of tech bro culture. That's very entertaining. It can be so funny at times in a very wry and czar cast way. It's incredibly funny and cool but it's also a broader in deichmann of our generation. I think you know you start to feel like these problems that are identified sometimes in our culture with the bay area and silicon valley with tech with the digital era are actually everywhere. It's this it's this global generational fear. I guess insecurity anxiety that you know. We are never efficient enough never productive enough. You know. we're never original enough. Never good enough. So i think that kind of description and exploration of where that might be coming from. I don't know it made me feel a lot better about my anxiety. So yeah greg. I think you know what i really loved. The book was her voice. Erm there's something very game about her as she moves through these things she's never quite sure what she wants but he says just bring it at me. I don't quite know what the term gimblett i'd means except in context. And she's a very gimblett Narrator as she leads you through this ended. It's a book because of the voice that statistic her true memoir but also this kind of sociological look and and deep journalistic look at an industry that has been very mythologised in the past generation and she kind of tears that down so i was very impressed. Thanks greg alright. The fifth book on a nonfiction side and the tenth book among our ten best of twenty twenty is war. How conflict shape us by margaret. Mcmillan dave kim over to you margaret. Macmillan begins her book with the pretty extraordinary claim that we don't take war seriously enough this you know. Despite all the hand wringing in our political discussions all of the trillions that were spending on defense in of the books that we publish every year but mcmillan is saying this because she wants to show us how war has shaped really every aspect of our lives and regularly changes the course of human history. The understand where humanity is heading. You know we need to. We need very much to study. How wards of all. This is a history. We don't get this long chronological slog through every war Since the beginning of time instead mcmillan takes a more subject by subject approach. She's drawing from different disciplines and sources. You know we'll we'll be talking about greek military formations in one moment. And then picasso's guernica another you just have so many aspects of our lives major. Technological advances systems of government medical processes all of them owing their existence to war whether it's preparations for them or the after effects in centralized state power comes out in large part because of the need to defend against threats. So she's doing this. And then and then she shows us how society has in turn shaped conflicts. How warfare itself has been transformed even as it transforms us and as fascinating as this book is. I also found it a something. There's something deeply disturbing about a book that so convincingly argues that war and humanity are just inextricably linked the questions. Of course the come to mind are like is is war just part of our nature and so we're just doomed to be fighting it. All the time and so much of our society has been shaped by conflict is war ultimately productive is even good mcmillan argues the these tough questions often deter scholars from doing gimblett. I'd examinations of war. They're constantly trying to spin the story toward peace and progress. And she's definitely not pro war but she's also not shy about showing how we've really capitalized. Even benefited and spent so much energy perfecting this thing that is so terribly destructive and i think that's why i was taken by this book. Despite how troubling can be at times it takes a really hard. Look without flinching from the uncomfortable realities of of very uncomfortable subject and it invites us to really wrestle with these questions. I think the more that we pick these times of tensions the closer we get to understand them in that to me makes it very worthwhile just to be mindful of time like kick it back to to pamela all right. Those are our Books of twenty twenty and you would get the sends listening to all of us that we are all in concord and agreement and that this is not a sharp elbowed group of people with very strong opinions. That's not the case We all have our individual passions and preferences and so while this process is one of consensus. Everyone inevitably has a book that remains a personal favorite. That they really want to call out for special attention. And so i just wanted to give each the editors here chance to talk about books very briefly that they really loved and twenty twenty that were not on the time bus lists so again quickly will run through them. And i'm gonna start with. Lauren christianson one of the books that i really loved this year. That did not make it onto the list. is undocumented americans by carla Villavicencio it. This is a harvard grad yale current yale. Phd student who is undocumented herself she migrated from ecuador to the us win was appointed. Thinks she grew up in new york and know she's just telling you in this really cool very unpretentious never talking down to you a the stories of real undocumented americans across the country so she has a chapter or she she goes to miami. She goes to the side of the world trade center attacks. She goes to flint michigan. That's one of the sections that i really loved. She's playing with almost critiquing. The common notions of journalism. Which are that. You never get involved with your subjects. And i think she really goes there. And she's like. I can't you know i can't see the suffering of these people who cannot drink their water and have no recourse if the government without trying to get involved myself. She's just she's a very sharp voice. And i recommend that book as well are eight next up. John williams recommend a novel by british writer. Mtv wild she was born in london and raised in australia. London her third novel. The bass rock came out this year. I was a fan of the previous ones kind of looking forward to what she would do next than six years since the last one. I'll be very brief. It's a very capacious book. So it's hard to be briefed. It set in three different time periods essentially the modern day just after world war two and then another section that happens in the seventeen hundreds all in the same bill on the coast of scotland and they all deal with women's lives and the sort of looming specter. Madeleine's against them at all times and it stitches these three together. That subject matter sounds very grim but reading it is sort of the opposite of that wild is a very conventionally entertaining writer in some ways. The modern day you know sections feel very fresh. The ancient section feels very strangely imagined almost farrell. And so she's just always got on a string and she's a writer who i think can do. Almost anything proves it in this book. And i'm gonna be watching what she does for a long time. That's the best rock by ab wild. Thanks don greg. Kohl's one book that really got in. My head has stayed with me this year. They read it is just us by the writer. Claudia rankine anybody familiar with her earlier. Book citizen will recognize the shape of this book which is kind of part poetry part essay and photographs. It's not quite a poetry collection essay collection or photograph collection. It's almost more like her notebooks journal as she thinks about issues of race as she didn't citizen but we're citizen was very thinking about questions of blackness what it was like what it is like to experience blackness in america just us is a book that very much interrogates whiteness and asks white people to think about race in the same way that black people have to all the time. She thinks that whiteness is as the default position. It's something that we don't notice enough And yet it impacts kind of how we moved through through life all the time and so she's thinking through these issues on the page in a way that i haven't been able to let go since they read it all right greg. Thank you tina jordan. I don't know about the rest of you. But extent of times you know. In the last year wishing i were someplace else which is perhaps why. I love the book so much called owls of the eastern ice by a scientist named jonathan slot. Who was tagging looking for and tagging the largest owl in the world. The fish owl which lives in the deep forests of japan china and russia and he was tagging them so that they could figure out where the birds were breeding and protect those habitats. But it's not the science part that really interested me is the travelogue part. He's a beautiful writer. And i don't know i felt like i was snowshoeing through the siberian forest and walking into villages where people handed me buckets of vodka and ramousse meet. It was just a book that took me completely away from myself this year. Thanks all right. David kim over you. My pick is jack by maryland. Robinson which is a bit of a polarizing book when i loved the law. This is a standalone prequel in her gilead series. It's about an interracial romance in postwar saint. Louis and what's fascinating is how robinson keeps the segregated world. Jim pro at bay for a while and she imagines a kind of strange eden wear a white man and a black woman can fall in love on their own terms and aren't weighed down by the burdens of race. That doesn't last long. The world as the book progresses starts to assert itself more and more strongly but they managed to keep their love alive. It's a it's a slow burn for sure but a life-affirming one and i think deep rebuttal to racial determinism and hatred. I m j. Franklin i pick is cleanness by garth greenwell on a sentence by sentence basis. Don't know of a more masterly writer garth greenwell. He's able to with the string of words he puts together in the flourish is that he adds or the repetitions that he adds it. Feels like speaking directly to my heart. My soul. I can go on for days and days about this but i will say his in this collection. There's a short story. The frog king which in a year that has been so heavy the frog king looks at what it feels like to fall in love and it feels like something author is whispering this to you. It is so intimated so tender. So beautiful in garth. Has that quality even news writing about something that's brutal. To some of the later stories. It feels like a collection that has been written in told directly to so much heart and soul in just the craft of their faces tremendous Some might pick as the cleanest by catherine. Well all right lizzie. Ian my pick is the death of vic -aug. by a quick msa. I would describe it as a poetic mystery. It begins when a mother in a small town in. Nigeria opens her front door and finds the body of her young adult son on the and the book is about how vic died but it is also about whether or not his family and his community and his loved ones ever really knew him. Thank you emily. Can my pick is hurricane season by fernanda melchior. This is the first novel to appear in english by melchior. Who is a young mexican writer and it. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is strong stuff. It reads like a punch in the face. But i deeply admire the way. Malchow found a form for a story. That is unusually violence. The book is in electric. Read it. it has the trappings of a tale. It opens on the discovery of a dead body. A local person known as the witch in this little village has been murdered and the book proceeds to describe chapter by chapter different characters. Who have entanglements with this with the witch and the book is saturated with violence and brutality. misogyny that is both verbal and physical and melcher captures this in chapters that are written in a single paragraph practically a single sentence as if in one furious breath. She's spoken of the book as an allegory. For the epidemic of violent murders of women in mexico the country is is awash femicide and she captures this culture of violence within originality. That is is striking an at times. Improbably beautiful aright callback beckerman and really wanted to talk about two books. So i'm i'm passing on mine and i give mine over to gaul. Thank you pamela. This very quickly. I think both these books cover categories. That may not have been covered in the tempest. So i really wanted to do them. one is eat. The buddha by barbara dynamic democ journalist and she tells the story of this small town in In szechuan province of eastern china that has a tibetan population and has become the center of resistance to chinese authority and more specifically over about the past. Ten years has become what she calls in the book. The undisputed world capitals self immolations. This has been a tactic of resistance as one hundred and fifty-six self immolations over that ten years in a third of them are from this small little town so she just tells this sort of panoramic story of the town going over back about four or five decades and through a number of different characters. She has this way of sort. Having this multi vocal approach. She takes where you're just following a bunch of different people and it's it's just wonderfully wonderfully reported a piece of journalism. The other book is a very different kind of book. It's the weirdest people in the world by joseph. Henrich henrik his at harvard. He's at these Human evolutionary biology department. And this is this great big ambitious argument book in which he's trying to make a case that there is a distinctiveness to western psychology and he is bringing to bear in this book is i think it's even longer than the obama book. It's maybe eight hundred pages bringing to bear all of these different studies in order to make this argument in it swings back and forth between History psychology and economics and If you like a book that sort of goes for a for trying to do a theory of of everything This might be for you. Thank you are listening to everyone here. You'll probably get a sense of why. I am so grateful to have this. Incredible team of editors working together with me here at the new york times book review. I want to recap the ten best books of twenty twenty here. They are once again on the fiction. Side a children's bible by lydia millet. Deacon qinghong by james mcbride hammett by maggie farrell homeland elegies by ad. Aktar the vanishing half by byrd bennett and in nonfiction hidden valley road. By robert coker a promised land by barack obama shakespeare in a divided. America by james shapiro uncanny valley by anna and war. How conflict shaped us by margaret macmillan. Congratulations to all of those books. And a thank you to everyone for sitting patiently as we went through them as well as their favorites remembers more. Ny times dot com slash books. And you can always write to us at books at ny times dot com. I write back not right away. But i do. The book review. Podcast is produced by the greek. Pedro's sato from head. Stepper media with a major assist for my colleague john williams. Thanks for listening for the new york. Times i'm pamela paul.

lydia millet shakespeare tina jordan aktar america schizophrenia dave Shakespeare capelle Kohl Colette revenge max jacob dave kim franklin gal beckerman lauren Emily aitken elizabeth egan Mj franklin Emily aken john williams Egan gal beckerman Emily
A More Perfect Union

The Book Review

1:04:02 hr | Last month

A More Perfect Union

"One of the new york times best books of twenty twenty. I a- doctors novel homeland. Elegies is now available in paperback. It's a personal story of an immigrant. Father an american son and the post trump america. They call home a reckoning with what it means to belong in a nation coming apart at the seams beautiful echoes of the great gatsby raves dwight garner and the associated press calls it searingly honest and brutally funny read doctors homeland. Elegies today in paperback e book and audio america. Come to embrace same sex marriage. Sasha eisenberg will be here to talk about his new book the engagement. Can you tell the history of hollywood and nine bucks jim. Hoberman will join us to talk about the books that best describe a very particular city and gigantic global industry and art form. Alexandra alter will be here with the latest in publishing news plus we'll talk about what we and the wider world reading. This is the book of your podcast from the new york times. It's june eleventh. i'm pamela. Paul sasha is and joins us now. From santa monica california he is the author of several books including the sushi economy globalization and the making of a modern delicacy the victory lab the secret science of winning campaigns outpatients the astonishing new world of medical tourism and his new book the engagement america's quarter-century struggle over same sex marriage. Sasha thanks for being here thanks pamela. Let's start with something that probably not a lot of your readers will know but you know very well and i know which is that. This book was supposed to come out a full year ago. In june twenty twenty and it was one of those books that was delayed by the covid pandemic but maybe delayed the most. What was that like. It was tough so it got delayed three times in the last year. And i think some of that was in the spring. It was a marketing consideration that with bookstores closed and no live events. A lot of publishers held their books back and then it was supposed to come out last september. And by that point it was sort of a manufacturing problem as best i gathered. Publishers can actually get the books out of warehouses because people were sick. I learned the hard way that book publishing facilities are basically like meat. Packing plants with with wood pulp. So i had a lot set up last fall. And i had to put it all on hold and here i am must be a big relief if nothing else it is and you know. It was pretty cautious in writing this book of understanding that this was a topic where it was possible events in the news could affect it and tried to write it so that when it came out it would be current and i think there was some possibility that things can happen over the last year. That would change that dynamic and they really haven't in a significant way which is which is useful. You mentioned wood pulp and there is a lot of wood pulp in this book. It's over seven hundred pages. I hope that won't deter people. It moves very quickly but obviously you did a lot of research. It must have taken some time to write. And then of course you had that delay in coming out. What has it been like to sit with the subject for long time. How long have you been working on it so i. I had the idea for this a decade ago. And i saw the proposal in the spring of two thousand twelve. I've been living with it for ten years and it was about six years of reporting research and writing and then then the various things we talked about you know the one of the things that the subject changed right. So you know i i look back not long ago the proposal i wrote in two thousand twelve and i used phrases like as the as the nation approaches consensus on this issue. I did not expect when i started this. That there will be a supreme court case let alone a series of supreme court cases that led to a national resolution of the legal issues that the political issue would basically disappears a live political issue in our politics and so it was in a certain way. A smaller subject definitely a less resolved topic. And i went from feeling like i was writing a sort of historical treatment of something that was in the news. Something that feels like a pretty define chapter in our recent history right. You ended up having a beginning middle and an end which you can't say about a lot of books that are on political or topical subjects these days where it's constantly moving target. Yeah and the broader arc of the book ends up being about an issue that sort of came out of nowhere came to dominate our politics in many respects and then disappeared. you know. Politicians aren't asked for their opinions on same sex marriage. We don't debate it. We've moved on to other things. And so what was from a narrative perspective. Yes it was tidy that there was the end at the end of it. But also i think ends up being a really interesting study because you have this twenty five year period where you basically see the invention of a political issue. It's life and its death. And and that i think teaches us a little bit about how political forces can sort of organize around a new issue when you think about cultural and social change and political change all of which this is sometimes very often. It's a kind of you know straight slow growing momentum trajectory in one direction and other times. It's two steps forward one. Step back this to me at least seemed like this issue move very very slowly and then all of a sudden really quickly. What's the accurate way to describe the resolution of this. Yeah i think that's right. I mean one of the animated ing insights i. I hadn't twenty eleven. That made me think that this was about the topic book that the timing was right to do. It was watching the new york state. Senate vote to pass the marriage equality. Act which governor cuomo then signed into law basically immediately in the summer of twenty eleven. That was the first one that i as a having been a political journalist over the decade prior the first time. I was sort of convinced that i knew how this was going to end. I think there was a real question for a number of years. Massachusetts legalized same sex marriage. In two thousand and four. There were marriage activists who who seriously feared that if they could lose marriage in massachusetts if a constitutional amendment passed and you know in that scenario we might look back at this maybe akin to reconstruction but this brief experiment that then sort of got taken away with backlash. I also thought maybe what was likely was. We'd end up in a situation sort of like the death penalty which was its own. Probably the most divisive cultural social top in the united states for period of nineteen nineties and basically reached stasis around it. Roughly half the states have the death penalty roughly half the states. Don't have the death penalty every few years. One moves from one column to another. But we don't talk about it much. Politicians aren't challenged on it the way they once were and it's possible to imagine that as as a place where the marriage debate would have ended up. What happened in the year for between twenty ten in two thousand fifteen was that you had a sort of dramatic political shift public opinion elites like barack obama most famously changing their views to get in line with public opinion it being demonstrated in state ballot measures that this could actually win when put before voters and as it happens conservatives had had made. What in retrospect looks like a major strategic error in the nineteen nineties by taking naturally would be a local issue a state level issue over. Who could get married and making through the defense of marriage. Act something that was in the federal code and thus the supreme court might have to take on as a constitutional question and and that's what allowed for the tidy resolution is that this could be settled by nine justices and not by our very messy state level political processes. Okay let's go back to a couple of the key points. The key moments that you mentioned new york state passed that marriage bill. In two thousand eleven obama reversed his position shortly thereafter. And there's kind of a distinction to be made. Sometimes people change their mind and sometimes they change their political position and occasionally they changed. Both obama was one of them. Another one. interestingly that you talk about a little bit later on is rob portman talking about why he was so important so rapport minutes in the spring of two thousand. Thirteen is the first marriage. Cases are headed to the supreme court and just a couple of weeks before he gives an interview to cnn and and writes in bed in some ohio paper saying that he had changed his position on the issue. He was always fairly moderate republican. Who is more interested in budget issues. Not a culture warrior but he'd been within the mainstream of his party on lgbt issues but he had a son who came out as gay and as he as he wrote rather movingly like back changed his views about not just gay rights issues but about what marriage meant from the perspective of a family member and it was a luster. Tive of the way in which i think. A lot of public opinion moved in this country. Which is you know. It was always the best predictor of of support for marriage for other gay rights issues. That the survey question. Do you have a coworker. Family member friend. Who's who's gay or lesbian. And you know when that. I got asa in the late. Nineteen seventies a number pretty close to zero. And now it's pretty close to one hundred and political opinions have moved alongside that but but portman ends up in the political sphere driving elite opinion not among his fellow republicans but among democrats because it becomes instantly impossible for a senate democrat to be to the right of a republican on this issue. And so what you see. Is that over the course of of just a couple of weeks. Basically every democrat in congress gets asked about this regularly and they all announced that they now support him sex marriage to who had some of the key people who reversed their position at that time on the democratic side of claire. Mccaskill is a great example of that cautious politician. Who comes from a conservative leaning state. She was perfectly fine up until that moment. It went from being that the politically safe place to be for a moderate democrat was opposed to same sex marriage and then immediately was on the other side of her then then she had to switch. Interestingly since he's in the news i'll note that they're only two democratic senators who got through that period post portman without changing their positions on them. One of them is mark. Pryor who's no longer in the senate. The other is joe manchin. Who by all accounts still to this day is opposed to same sex marriage but as is the lesser of the turn. This issue's taken and nobody ever asked him about it anymore. One of the big players opposing same sex marriage was the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. How unified was the movement against gay marriage. To what extent was it religiously motivated and organized before nineteen ninety-three. There was hardly anyone who is opposed to same sex marriage in the united states. Just like there was hardly anybody who was forced sex marriage in the united states and that changed with the court decision in hawaii which were the state. Supreme court becomes the first court on earth to recognize that the fundamental right to marriage could extend to same sex couples and the mormon church is the first institution in the united states of any significance to fully appreciate the gravity of that state supreme court decision. That that decision that bear verses lewin nineteen ninety-three and so the church had always had a significant footprint in hawaii because of historical missionary. Work that it did there and they start organizing to try to effectively defeat this legal decision for the political process and they go in but a lot of money detail. Some fairly prominent figures including ronald reagan's former pollster dick wirthlin who are sent on on mission to do political work in favor of this and create a coalition with the local catholic archdiocese of honolulu and the mormons are very savvy about their politics and that is that they're willing to throw a lot of resources into places where they can have an impact but they also have a keen view of how they are seen by the broader population. And they understand that if the face of this political movement in hawaii is mormon that will make it very difficult to build relationships with legislators that they need and so the effect of deal that they strike with with the catholic church is that the catholics will be the face of this. The mormons will offer a lot of the money and expertise behind it. And we see that a version of that for formulation again during proposition. Eight in california in two thousand eight at that point you have a coalition of. It's sort of spurt along by some evangelical pastors in san diego but ultimately it's the catholic church especially through the san francisco san diego archdiocese in with tons of money from both institutional and individual mormon sources. And one thing about mormons. Is they have a lot of experience knocking on doors and talking about tough issues and so they were sort of exceptional based to build a field operation for for a statewide ballot contest. Okay so unwanted side. You have a well organized. Politically savvy lots of money religious opposition. Who's on the other side so the coalition's started to grow and one thing that you see. Is you know in hawaii early on. You have the fairly small gay and lesbian community in in hawaii the aclu some national gay organizations you know at that point. Some democratic politicians are actively opposed to same sex marriage over the course of the next decade. You have thirty five states that have statewide ballot measures and the coalition the pro same sex marriage coalition starts to expand to include labor. Unions are non gay civil rights groups and that is both a huge opportunity for gay rights activists but also poses a challenge. Because you end up with these committees were there are so many stakeholders in them trying to come up with a message that the n. Double acp and the auto workers and the bar association and like the libertarians. From the cato institute can all get behind since they're all decision makers on this committee and the the lowest common denominator messaging is almost always version. Don't mess with our constitution which is so emotionally inert compared to what the opposition is doing which at this point is some version of this is going to either turn your children. Gay or schools are going to have to teach. The gay. marriage is all right or kit. Your kids are gonna come home and ask you. Because i heard it school today. You know that. Heather has two mommies or whatever to explain this to them and one of the challenges that gay marriage activists faced in the wake of their defeat in proposition eight was figuring out how to refine their message and some of it was building a structure that got beyond the kind of broad coalition politics. That had prevailed in these states are it. Let's talk about the moment. This ends on june twenty six twenty fifteen talk about the decision itself and remind us who was on the court at that time. And was this a foregone conclusion. People think do they know this was going to pass. Anthony kennedy was the swing vote on the court and this was the third in a series of major gay rights opinions that he had written starting nineteen ninety-six and by that point it. Was this very unusual. I think in american history confluence of being a landmark court decision. That was also seen as at that point completely. Foregone and a number of district courts had struck down. State bans on same sex marriage and they'd been upheld at the district level and when those cases got peeled over the course of twenty fourteen to the supreme court. The supreme court didn't want to hear any of those cases which permitted the states in many cases to start marrying same sex couples but also created huge problem. If the court was later going to come in. And try to overturn those decisions. All you now would have tens of thousands of couples who married under the new regime and the court does not like to be a source of regardless of ideology. The justices do not like to be a a sort of source of uncertainty and chaos in american life and after they had allowed all those lower court rulings to stand. It seemed very hard that they were going to come in at a later. Date an overturn them and so the question became not is the court going to rule that there is a fundamental right to marriage for same sex couples and overturn all of the state bands. That still existed. But how was that opinion going to be written. What was its breath gonna be. Ineffectively was going to be written as an opinion about marriage. Or was this can be written as a gay rights or lgbt rights. Opinion and there were sort of two ways added and kennedy. Who has who always you know. A republican appointed justice. Conservative in many respects had always been very skeptical about traditional civil rights jurisprudence and he ultimately wrote this as a marriage case about the institution of marriage what it would mean for gays and lesbians what it means for them to have been excluded for children of those couples to be excluded but he did not write this. As many gay activists came to hope he would as a case about how sexual minorities should be treated under civil rights law. And what that meant was that. The impact of this was circumscribed entirely to state marriage laws. And it's part of the reason that we're having debates we're having now about trans rights and why they're still a push in congress to pass the equality act for basic nondiscrimination protections because the court chose in a certain way the language was was was inspiring but the the legal reasoning was very narrow in particular when it comes to supreme court decisions on very divisive issues even when there is a major decision that seems to settle it once and for all. We know that that's not always the case. Prime example obviously is roe v. Wade is the settled and done. I mean is there any danger that this could be reversed undermined. I think it's really hard to imagine a circumstance in which the central holding of oberg afoul which is that same sex couples have a right to marry under. The us. Constitution could be overturned. What we are seeing is efforts to define religious liberty exemptions in a way that could limit who has to recognize those marriages. There is a case that went before the supreme court about a colorado baker who do not want to make a wedding cake for married gay couple. There's now a case of this before the court. Now that the rule on this month about whether catholic social service agency has to place foster children with same sex couples. And i think that we could see sort of years of pushing the envelope to see how far a conservative court would go and maybe a few years from now. They're hearing cases where an employer says that the that the religious beliefs of its owners mean that medical in health insurance should be extended to opposite sex spouses of their employees but not the same of their employees. And so i think you could end up. Not really getting at the core of obergefell but dramatically changing the place that the institution of civil marriage has an american life if all sorts of private actors are basically given permission to disregard it if it goes contrary to their beliefs there is a movement right now with storytelling. Where some people question. who's right. It is to tell a certain story. And you yourself are in heterosexual marriage. Did you ever think at any point like this isn't my story to tell or. Did you get any resistance from people. You're interviewing or talking to as part of your research along those lines. I had people who asked questions about my personal life. That i think at the beginning of interviews were more than just idle small talk. I was not married at the time i got married. Turns out if you take ten years to write a book. A lakensha clued in not just with marriage nationally. So i was straight and single when i started this book and i get the sense that people were trying to politely. Feel out where. I was coming from on this. I was sort of conscious of the idea. That people would sort of interrogate. What right. I had to tell the story you know and i saw this not as just a lgbt history story but very much a story about a national debate that they came to engulf the whole country. It's a it's a story not about the people who fought for the right to marry people who oppose the right to marry and people change their minds. And i did not want it to be received as just a matter of lgbt history. And i think that that may maybe in some respect made me feel comfortable that i had standing to tell it civil rights. Is everyone story. I want to ask about one final thing. Which is there was an interesting story. Recently in the new yorker by the writer andrew solomon looked at marriage new frontier in marriage rights around polygamy and polish wrists and this kind of unexpected alliance between men or offshoots of mormonism polygamists and poly-amorous and and this question of does gay marriage set precedent for being married to more than one person. Have curious what you think. Does that feel like that could be a next debate in terms of marriage rates. It certainly could be. I mean i think one thing that's happened over. The course of this debate is it has fully enshrined marriage as the sort of gold standard of relationships. There's an active debate that chronicle in the in the nineteen eighties with in the gay and lesbian community mostly among lawyers and legal theorists about whether marriage was something worth fighting for whether it's actually a desirable goal for the gay rights movement. And you had folks who came from a sort of liberationist background folks primarily lesbians who had been informed by second wave feminists thinking about marriage is a patriarchal hetero normative institution and they argued that the goal of gay rights family law should be to. You know what they is called. Multiple families to create a legal regime in which a wide spectrum of family types were treated equally and that could be couples of any gender or sexual combination but also single parents multiple partner setups communal living co parent adoption. Let like everything should be treated the same under the law and there should be no benefits or privileges that are extended to just one type of family arrangement in what has happened as gay rights opponents focused on this issue unified the gay and lesbian community about fighting for marriage rights. And what they have done. Alternately is help to enshrine both in the legal process end in american culture a sense that the marriage is a unique institution and the language they use to talk about it about. Love and commitment is so particular i think to the dynamic between two people that in a certain respect you know marriage is a more central institution in american life now than it was thirty years ago because we went through this political fight over it and i don't know whether the sort of feelings that would extend to marriage will naturally translate to ta- versions of it that don't have the essential codependence of two people at its heart all right. Well let's end on the note of love. It's june it's pride month. It's also a very popular for weddings. It's the month in which the supreme court decision was made legalizing gay marriage and it's the month of the publication of this long in the works. Book sasha congratulations again. The book is the engagement. America's quarter century struggle overseas sex marriage. Thank you panel. I love spelling my boyfriend. And i often place telling be together by together. I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating sometimes when i open up spelling bee. I see that you have completed a few words on your own a little portrayed. It may have happened again. You did it again. I have one friend who i will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words than i always get nervous that i sent it to my parents or something like that dad. We like together. And shay a she k. p. o. T. jack jack panicking. I'm same as their ski. The digital puzzles editor for the new york times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at ny times dot com slash games. Tina jordan joins us now to help. Celebrate the one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary of the book view. Hey tina hey pamela. Such talk about the best seller list which actually goes back. I think a lot further than you would imagine. In fact decades before the book review was even born. The newspaper was really interested in what books were selling and there were often reporters whose regular beats involved like around to the city's individual stores to see what was selling on october thirty first eighteen ninety six which was just the third issue of the book review. It reprinted the bestseller lists collected by a literary journal called the book man and that was just the first of many. There's a brief period of time where it published the bestseller lists curated by publishers. Weekly for example even later baker and taylor but before all that and before it had figured out a way to create its own bestseller list. It kept finding new and different ways to report on what books were selling and part of that involved writing about what the most checked out at libraries where i mean for years. The book review ran a regular weekly segment called most check out books at the new york public library in. Nineteen o one. It started a regular column called books and demand in which basically a reporter went out and interviewed librarians booksellers about most requested. Titles and finally the very first official new york times book review bestseller list appeared on august ninth nineteen forty two and it actually looks a lot different than the bestseller list. Does today. it was divided into fiction and nonfiction and it then was a charts lit into cities. So you could see what the bestsellers were in boston in atlanta cleveland. Detroit chicago saint louis new orleans and so on but in new york anyway that week. The number one novel was something called and now tomorrow by rachel field. And it's about a death heiress. That's all i can tell. And elliott polls. Last time i saw paris was number one on the nonfiction list. So there you have it and it'd be continue to publish those bestseller lists weekly from there. We did indeed all right. Thanks for the lookback. Tina thanks family. Jim hoberman joins us now from new york. He is a recovering film critic and the author of my day movie culture in the age of reagan this week in the book review. He wrote a history of hollywood in nine bucks so book view of the movie industry. Jim thanks for being here. Oh my pleasure this a fun project to work on. Absolutely i mean hardest thing about it was Narrowing down the list of books. Art was well. I knew that it had to be nine. So i probably had in mind off the top of my head sort of about twenty books and then begin naturally. Nme painful to lose well. There's one that is. I think it's going to appear online. But it's not gonna be in the Paper that was a book called hollywood's sensor by thomas doherty and it was a kind of biography. Or you know. In terms of film industry of joseph i breen who is the head of the production code in the thirties and forties. And i this gave a fascinating. Look at. How movies were made through the Perspective of a center of the production code. I thought that this guy probably had as much influence on the American movies period as as anybody did. And it's not something that's generally considered in you know in the movies then were so integral to public opinion that this guy's mindset is invaluable to study one interesting thing about the choices you make here you start with a book published in one thousand nine hundred fifty. Two picture by lillian ross. I want to talk about that. But of course this is a history of twentieth century america and so i have to ask were their books. That were good that were published prior to that midway point in the century about hollywood or was it not until then that people maybe started to write seriously about hollywood culture and the movie business. No there were. There were certainly books that were published before. I mean i'm in the twenties by terry ramsey Movies and billion in one nights which is incredibly detailed in explaining how the movie industry worked during that decade. But i wanted to start with the fifties because that's the period you know. In which in the sense the the industry became self conscious. You know if you if you think about what was came out around that time. I mean that's the year of sunset boulevard. Where the movie's sort of looked at themselves. And it's also the period in which movies were being supplanted by television and. I think that that caused a degree of introspection. The the period when when movies were the dominant popular art form was over and what was ending. And i think that that's really you know. When when more analytical books were written and also a number of popular ones part of my criteria for a books was our enjoyable. I thought they would be to read. Some of the books are well known. I think probably should readers still today and a few of them are maybe slightly less well known and you didn't pick some of the obvious books that people talk about like you didn't pick william goldman you didn't pick a few other widely read bestsellers. Was that deliberate to kind of draw attention. To maybe some less well-known books it was part of my mindset as film critic in looking for things that i thought might have been overlooked or were not as well known. We're not necessarily best-sellers. I don't know that any of these were were bestsellers. I guess Peter biscuits book easy. Riders raging bull. Might have been the closest to that. But you know it's enjoyable for me to bring to the foreground books. That may not have been as well known and i should say that these were all books that impressed themselves on me when i read them. So there's there's a personal aspect to this. Also let's go back to that first book in chronological order on your list. Picture by lillian. Ross i guess this is part of a sub genre of books that focus on a single movie. Yeah she invented the genre. I mean it's the first example and in some respects. It's it's the best you know. She was a a terrific journalist and she practices kind've fly on the on the wall report. Taj which is in itself very cinematic. Got behind the scenes of this ill-fated. But you know well publicized. Production adaptation of the red badge of courage. Bhai john houston. Who is probably the american filmmaker taken most seriously in nineteen fifty. I mean i think that it was fourth that orson welles self destructive but houston was was there and was active and she just gets a fantastic cast of characters here all these producers talking in addition to house an end you know it's much more interesting ultimately than the movie and she demonstrated that the backstory could be the real story. There have been many many books written about the vote individual movies in fact. I just finished one myself. What's your new book. It's a monograph on duck soup the marx brothers comedy. Which i wrote i mean that had been my f- my favorite movie when i was fifteen so i was happy to revisit that project. Oh completely yeah but my my point is that she was on the set and in the in the offices wall. This movie was being made and the end product was not as important to her really as the process and she made that process fascinating. She illuminated it. And it's it's also phenomenally well written too so there's that book has a lot going for it. It's interesting that those single movie bucks that ross as you say invented. Sometimes they're about great films. It seems more often that they were about movies that were total disasters. Or maybe those are just the ones that are more well known in this case. The movie was really neither a total hit nor a complete flop. It sounds like yeah it was. I would say it was a disappointment. It was it was a disappointment. There was a what would have been called a prestige project that failed and it also had kind of larger implications for the movie industry. Because you know. Mgm the studio that produce it had been the leading studio and was undergoing kind of changing in management. And the idea of a loss leader was still very important to hollywood. The idea that they could make the prestige film. That might not make that much money but everything would balance out because they had their theaters and so on so that people would have to book it and that idea i think lost traction in the nineteen fifties. So you in a way. It's it's also a study of something which was going out of existence. You put your history in nine bucks here with another single film film. buck will always have casablanca by noah. Eisenberg was that a deliberate choice. Oh yes oh yes. I i wanted to bring things full circle. Also i mean casablanca is by some standards can be considered the most successful hollywood movie ever made because necessarily made the most money or you know. Got the most oscars. Although it did make money they'd get a lot of oscars but because people love it so deeply and to me. This is something to take the title of other book. Which i could have included. But didn't it opinions as the genius of the system. There's not really any one person who made casablanca. It's almost like a natural occurrence. Somehow you know that would come into existence or the whole system brought it into existence and eisenberg is a terrific study of the film in that context. He really goes at a number of ways. It's very entertaining. But again you know i i see it as as a retrospective it's a. It's a work of history about something that's not going to happen again. There's not going to be another movie like casablanca which i think is part of the the sort of fund irony of his title will always have casablanca paraphrase. We'll always have paris famous line from from the movie. So i like the way that that brought. You know a certain closure to the set of books. And it's a recent book. Which i which i like books that you include on your list look at politics and hollywood politics in hollywood. The way in which hollywood movies reflect politics. And i'm out of order here. But i'd like to talk about three of them. They are naming names by. Victor nevada. Ski the former editor of the nation from reverence to rape by the film critic. Molly haskell and toms coons ladas mommy's and bucks by donald bogle let's start with. What's this spoke about. This is an example of of a book that i read when it came out. I think actually bought it in hardcover. I think that he really just shifted the focus of hollywood history by looking at it from a An african american perspective. I mean so. Crucial to You know america's identity in his and so on and no one has really ever done this before it's written from the perspective of a fan which is to say that there's a lot of passion. I mean he really loves movies but he's also has a critical. I i mean. I i just think that it was a. That book was kind of revelation. I think that's molly haskell's book is something similar from reverence to to ripe molly. Haskell was a working film critic also quite passionate. And you know a real advocate. For classic hollywood and writing in the seventies which was the period of of the so-called new hollywood when much more. Let's say adult movies were were made. She takes his point of view which was very radical where where she goes and she sees many progressive aspects in terms of particularly in terms of female stars in classic. Hollywood and points out that it's not you know in this moment. I mean the book is written. I think ms magazine was founded. When and seventy one. Seventy two or seventy three. I mean this is right after that. You know when feminism is is an idea. that's getting a lot of attention and you would think that that is. The attitude would be reflected in the movies but she's taking the point of view that in fact it's not that the movies of the Post code era of the sixties and seventies or some ways very retro. Although she does find stars to champion. I mean jane fonda being sort of the exception who proves the rule so i think that that that was an enormously influential book and then the the nevada book which comes out. You know a few years. After that goes back and recounts what to me is the most compelling of hollywood back stories and i say this because i myself. I'm very interested in the ways. In which movies hollywood movies in american politics. Were in. some sense symbiotic. And you know that. The connection. And i've written on that as well. But but vaske interviewed a number of writers and producers and and someone who had been blacklisted and also talk to the people who are responsible for implementing the blacklist and. It's another amazing way to look at film history when you see this other dynamics going on this struggle within the industry and i think that these three books together is an attitude which their political but they're also they see movies as a form of social history more that that social history is embedded in the history of of the movies and i think that was was a very important way to look at them and certainly affected my view at at the time some of the most popular in terms of bestselling books about hollywood are of course celebrity memoirs for better or for worse. And you don't have a lot on the air in fact you only have one and it's by louise brooks lulu in hollywood. Why did that would make the cut. Brooks was not a household name. I mean certain film historians in central falls and so on think that she's she's one of the greatest film actresses ever and i and i wouldn't dispute that she is pretty remarkable in her And a handful of movies that she made but the thing is that she was a remarkably clear eyed observer of what was going on and embarked in the whole storm making thing with a healthy degree of ambivalence and so she's able to write about herself and about the conditions under which movies were made and the people that you met in hollywood and someone in a in a way. That's both personal and detached. There aren't too many other memoirs like this also again. I would say you know the quality of the writing and i mean she was. She was a really good writer and and highly intelligent and i. I don't want to necessarily disparage but most of these books are ghost written. You know there is toll to and I think that the fact that she found her own voice years after she had been a movie store is another remarkable thing about it occupies its own sphere. All right i'm going to lump the last three books together and sort of loosely being about the business and we don't have time to talk about all three but maybe we can talk about one of them and those three books are nineteen. Sixty is the stars by edgar moran. The movie moguls by philip french from nineteen sixty nine and book. We mentioned earlier. Easy riders raging bulls by peter biscuit and we tell us about one of those. Well i would like to mention the sars by edgar moran which is a book that came out well over half a century ago and book that i read. I think maybe when i was in undergraduate is a relatively brief and elegant analysis. Some of the greatest you know most iconic stores but also about their fans and also about how they were marketed by the studio. And you know. I found this kind of revelation when i read it. I mean. it's quite poetic. Because he's completely comfortable. Discussing them is kind of divinities. You know which way they were. They could be every place at once. They seem to live forever. I mean you know. He's perfectly at home talking about kind of religion that grew up among classic hollywood but he also is a very astute at talking about this sort of material aspect of this. I mean there is a fantastic chapter. On james dean which i discovered much later actually was was taken out of the book and ran and the evergreen review which was sort of like the beatnik journal record in the late fifties early early sixties that really catches you know what what was going on and why he thought that dean developed this kind of aura. So i i just think it's a wonderful book. It did come back into print. Recently that one was a great personal favorite of mine all the time for recommendations on about film. You've been doing this for a long time. What's the book most frequently recommend to people. They're like well. I just wanna read like one book about. The movies are about the industry. Or what's that one book that i should read. I taught film history to undergraduate cooper union for a few decades. So i certainly have the book that i used to use as a history and that's american-made movies by robert sklar which is an incredibly readable comprehensive and intelligent history of american movies even the updated if you time it was published right around the same time as from reverence to rape in the mid seventy s. So that i think is the best single history of hollywood single popular popular history. I didn't include it in these books. Not well i wanted to keep something reserve in case you asked me that question here. We go all right. Well that makes it a good final question. Then tell us the title again of your next book and your most recent book. That's coming out in. The fall is duck soup. It's published by the british film institute that they have a whole series of monographs which they've been doing for years and the the recent book that i had published is make my day movie culture in the age of reagan. Which is the last installment of a trilogy of books about hollywood in the cold war which deals with the intersection of movies and politics. And of course the culmination of that in my view is reagan. You know the second movie star. Come to power in the united states so it from the perspective of this series. Reagan is the ultimate hollywood production. Well that was a lot of fun for me. I think as fun for me to discuss. Hopefully as it was for you to put it together jim. Thank you for being here again. It was my pleasure. Thank you tim. Hoberman is a film critic who this week put together a history of hollywood in nine bucks in the booker. Alexander altered joins us now with some news in the publishing world. Sanjay gamla so this week. There was a controversy surrounding the work of the author ellen hildebrand. She's very popular author and known for her summer reads and her latest novel. Golden girl takes place in untuckit. Where a lot of her work is set and some of her readers. I would say not the majority because she's a massively bestselling author and has a huge audience but a small number of readers were offended by something that one of the characters says in the book when one of the character suggests that the other one hide out in the attic and the character of their teenage characters girls. The character replies like an frank and they both laugh. Some people found that remark by fictional character to be insensitive diminishing the holocaust and some even went so far as to call anti semitic but what was interesting. I think in terms of how this impacts the publishing industry where. There's a lot of debate over. Who can write. What and which topics or stay for authors in which ones should be off limits with with the fact that allen hill. Lebron responded by not only apologizing but saying that they would delete the sentence from upcoming editions of the novel and take it out of the book. So you immediately saw a lot of very intense debate on social media as to be on social media tends to be with some people saying you know this is going a little far little firm to not only look at what nonfiction writers are saying what their views are or how a fictional rare maybe portrays a character whose unlike themselves these are all topics that have been intensely debated recently when you think about all the controversy surrounding american dirt which is subject. We've talked about a lot on this. Podcast this was like somewhat of a different animal into in terms of you know just taking a specific phrase that character said and then responding by taking out of the book so people who were originally offended. Think it's a good thing. She's responding to readers and taking care to listen. But other people including the literary critic laura miller who wrote about this in sleet philip. It's dangerous precedent just sort of allow social media to be your editor and to go so far as to really react to the language of characters who are fictional. We'll have a thousand things to say about the good free eight on because everyone should feel free to say what they want about anything and everyone else should feel free to disagree with it or dislike it but not to stop someone from speaking. So i wanna say that you know. I do think that they are related in that. This is the kind of logical conclusion of that argument. That if you take something an argument to an extreme it often will highlight the absurdity of the original base argument. But the idea that fictional character can't say something unlikable insensitive obnoxious would basically get rid of all the interesting characters in fiction because you know good. Fiction is about complicated people and everyone even. The most likeable character has opinions and characteristics. That not everyone is to agree with exactly. And i think you know. Sometimes that's a good way to introduce. Those arguments is to have a fictional character espouse views that most people would find offensive and then suddenly their topics for discussion. You know the other thing. I thought was notable about hildebrand. Response is that. She posted formal apology on instagram than she said. I revere in frank. Those of you read summer of sixty nine. Another book of hers that in frank was a courageous woman who fear her story remains deeply influential in my life and then she said i always strive to write in good faith golden girls novel i wrote from children and they want them to be proud of every word. It was a pretty extensive in heartfelt apology. But i did wonder what happens the next time. Someone criticises if not her work than else in her genre. Who's very popular. Who has a large following or are people are gonna start retroactively changing their work. I just can't think of precedent for this. It's common in nonfiction for people. You know to address errors in their work. You have a corrected edition leader if there are factual errors. It's much less common for novelist to change their work in response to criticism. Well i think it's disturbing precedent. And i guess my i'm sorry as that. I'm sorry that she felt the need to apologize for a work of fiction. Hopefully other writers won't be pressured into feeling like they have to apologize for acts of imagination. Yes we'll see how it develops wasn't the only recent example. Actually laura miller wrote about another instance of a novelist deleting a passage after people criticized it again a passage. That was a kook from a sectional character. In this case it was casey mick winstons red white and royal blue which is a gay romance novel. It actually came out in twenty nineteen but some of the controversy came recently and it relates to a character description of netanyahu's israel and people said this seemed to cross the line even though again. This was dialogue. That was coming out of the mouth of fictional character. Alexandra i have a solution. All future novels will feature bunny rabbits puppy dogs and kittens. I'm pretty sure. I get in trouble for talking animals too. I mean i haven't heard of this yet and there's no parking. No parking no biting just friendly animals that eat vegetables all right alexander. Thanks so much for being here. Thanks for having me joining us now to talk about what we're reading my colleagues andrew lavallee and liz egan. Hater hamlin andrew. Let's start with you. It's been a while. what are you reading. I am reading. Actually just finished reading liberty by caitlin greenwich This is a novel that came out in march and it's a coming of age novel and coming of age. Novels are one of my favorite types. This book is set just after the civil war in new york and is focused on a young black woman named liberty. Whose mother is dr which has an exceedingly rare thing for a black woman to be at the time. The mother is light skinned enough to palce. Which liberty is not and in the early parts of the book you see her becoming aware that some of the access privilege her mother benefits from will not be available to her but liberty is also becoming aware that she just wants a different life. She goes off to school and discovers a passion for music but she doesn't really like school either and flunks out. She eventually returned to her mother and becomes romantically involved with her mother princess. Who has taken her place and because he is from haiti they get married and return there together. I thought the novel really came alive. In the section because the routine is experiencing the culture shock of a new country and people. She doesn't know along with the feeling that she still isn't finding the freedom that she longs for but also the her relationships with her husband in her mother to are still unfolding and right up to the very end of the book. You see this character. Who's still sort of searching and changing. It's interesting that this book came out so shortly. After the vanishing off by brent bennett. And i'm sure people are making comparisons but just most directly in terms of the idea of the darker skinned daughter of a mother who can pass as white characters awareness of how not just race but color is affecting their lives and and and you know will affect their futures. I thought was really interesting. Can we just pause. Also for a moment on the sisters greenwich because caitlin sister. One of her sisters carrie was a recent guest on the podcast. And there's a third greenwich sister christian a playwright a really kind of amazing and creative trio sisters. I hope there's not like a little brother who you know. Never got off the ground. Because that's a pretty formidable grouping definitely. Liz what are you reading. Actually just finished so unkind of cheating. A book called malibu. Rising by taylor jenkins read which i predict will be one of the big books of the summer and is the perfect book to pick up if you're trying to get into the mindset of the season it's hot sun sandy feet big waves. Fresh seafood gorgeous sunsets. It takes place. Obviously you might guess from the title in malibu and the action unfold over the course of twenty four hours in nineteen eighty three. I did actually read a review that referred to it as a historical novel. Which i take issue with because i don't think of nineteen eighty-three is necessarily canary upsetting. I now i m setting. I found that really hurtful because nineteen. Eighty-three was pretty much my heyday but the book is about four siblings. Who are the children of an absentee father named mick reba. Who is a legendary crooner in. The vein of frank sinatra. He actually makes an appearance in another one of taylor jenkins reads books called seven husbands evelyn hugo but in this book we're getting to know his four children who have kind of raised themselves in malibu with the help of their oldest sister and slash mother. Whose name is nina. And what we know at the beginning of the book is that the rivas who are young adults are getting ready for this annual party that they throw and it's the lead up to the party and we also know that at the end of the party nina's house will burn down. There's a wildfire. Malibu is often catching on fire. And that's what you know going in. And then the story flashes back to the riva kids growing up and trying to find their footing in the world as surfers and models and just trying to bring themselves up. After their family falls apart i would describe it because i could never resist a hollywood composite. I would describe it as party of five meets soul surfer meets. This is us and it's just a really in depth. Look at these siblings and how they stick together and help each other out and undergo a big transformation from the beginning of the book till the end along with that hollywood composite. Do you have thoughts on how you would cast this book while i picture nina. Riva the oldest sibling as a very young cameron diaz. She's the only one. And of course i was imagining frank sinatra in the role of of makreda. I can sort of imagine the the movie itself you know like it's very sunkissed landscape. Very dry and also. The family owns a really popular restaurant on the pacific coast highway to get these great scenes of them. Trying to save restaurant as it's floundering a little bed and sitting outside and eating these platters of i was imagining fried clams. I can't remember exactly what it's a real page turner and has a lot of heart. And i just loved it enter. You knew that. Liz would have at least one cast member at the ready. I knew she for better or for worse. Pamela what are you reading before you go into what i'm reading. I just have to say that. Close listeners. Of the podcast will note that. Liz just used the word crooner after dwight and and and i discussed the word curbing in recent episode and kerner glad that used and you can't use it without thinking of frank sinatra so all that made sense to me. I also. I'm going to talk about a book that i recently finished. And that is on juneteenth by annette. Gordon reed and of course she was a guest on the podcast recently. Talking about this book. Which i just loved and it's a short book and a very timely book it is june and it's interesting when she was on the podcast. She said that she used as as along the lines of those that were written by james baldwin as kind of model for this book and it's very different from bigger more researched historical books that she generally rights. And what's interesting. Is that one of the things. I enjoyed moose about this book. That she very persuasively an elegantly rights defense of history into this book in that what she's talking about an the book is about the holiday juneteenth which originated in texas. She's talking about her own personal history growing up in texas and she's talking about the history of taxes and in particular as it pertains to race and what she does in. This book is talks about the complexity of all of those things. And the fact that what we would like to believe of our own personal history and of our larger whether it's state history our national history and the stories we tell ourselves about those things in the legends. we create. don't necessarily line up with the historical record. And so she can write about what she grew up believing and what her parents believed in what her ancestors thought and believed in and liked to believe and hoped. And then the reality that is often a lot messier in the fact that as a historian she has to reconcile these things so to give an example. Many people in this country do tend to think of our history in terms of race is black and white and of course it's really not there are so many other populations in this country and it's a lot more complexity it's complex within those white and black populations and texas is probably one of the most interesting cases because of course there are not just black and white but indigenous people and mexican americans and the texans and the fact that taxes for a period was its own country. And so you just have these really interesting allegiances and is but also antipathy. Is that exist. So for example. Her father liked to believe that indigenous americans were naturally aligned with black americans and so it was only as an adult that she realized that in fact many indigenous people in texas were slave owners and so it was not this kind of combat alliance between people of color but in fact was a lot messier and so one of the things that she writes about in. This book is that history doesn't always tell us the story that we want to hear that we would like to believe or the story that will make us feel better but is just a lot more complicated. And she just tells it in a kind of concise. It's almost like misleadingly planned spoken. But it's really well written. And and in her words are chosen. I think with great deliberateness so it's accessible and yet the themes and the issues that she writes about are pretty profound. Pamela how does she manage to squeeze everything you just said into a very short book right. It's not it's only a few hundred pages right. I don't even think it is no. It's one hundred and forty-one pages And so that's exactly at its concise elegant. She tells a few key. This is not an autobiography or even fully a memoir so much as it is a series of interlinked essay. Said all build along these themes. I will forever remember this book as one that i i saw in the hands of two unmasked people outside my bookstore having a conversation about about the book and it it to me was a moment where i realized life is returning to normal. They were just too happy readers reading about the book to one another. And it just. I can't wait to read it. I thought that was the ultimate raving endorsement. See i got nervous when you set that because You know the point in time is so crucial for like the word on mast. What they were massed this post. Cdc okay yes. It was legit and it was outside. Yes well i will say it is short. It is very accessible. It is the kind of thing that you can sit down and read a few hours and yet feel like you've kind of enough to chew on for weeks so interesting too because i feel like at least for me over the past year has spent a lotta time learning about parts of american history that i didn't know about fully and feeling kind of self conscious about it. It's comforting to see that historians are also kind of grappling with this week. We're all kind of relearning a lot of things especially over the past year. I agree and i think we'll probably all taking. Us history around the same time in high school and in different parts of the country. I'm appalled by the gaps in my own. What i thought of is very thorough education so if this year has taught us one thing it's to go back and look again and you can start with at least two of the three books that we've discussed. Let's run down the titles again andrew. Starting with you. I'm reading liberty by caitlin greenwich. I'm reading malibu. Rising by taylor jenkins read. And i read annette gordon reed on juneteenth. Remember there's more. Ny times dot com slash books and you can always write to us at books at ny. Times dot com. I write back not right away. But i do the view. Podcast is produced by the greek pedro rossato from head. Stepper media with a major assist for my colleague john millions. Thanks for listening for the new york. Times i'm pamela paul.

supreme court hollywood united states the new york times hawaii pamela dwight garner Sasha eisenberg Paul sasha church of jesus christ of latt governor cuomo senate obama dick wirthlin new york Hoberman Molly haskell andrew solomon rob portman san diego