Andrea Elliott on “The Invisible Child”
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In 2013, the New York Times front page devoted five consecutive days to the story of Dasani, an 11-year-old black girl who lived in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. Now Andrea Elliott, the reporter for this series, has released her first book, “Invisible Child”, which tells the full story of Dasani and his family to the present day. In this week’s podcast, Elliott explains how she came to focus her reporting on Dasani.
“As a journalist, I have always believed that the story is showing itself to you, and you just have to do the job of being there and being around for as long as possible until it becomes clearer.” , says Elliott. “At the very beginning, I had three families that I followed in this shelter. And I had this approach that a lot of journalists take, that you have to capture three different families to give an idea of the spectrum of the experience. But what I think becomes more important for the reader is to be able to identify deeply with a story, a protagonist, and follow that person. Dasani became that person, in part, says Elliott, because “he was someone who, at a very young age, could express his experience in a moving and profound way. And it’s a rare trait, even in adults.
Comedian, actress, producer and editor Phoebe Robinson visits the podcast to discuss her new essay book, “Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outerwear.”
“Writing books is a completely different style of writing than stand-up,” says Robinson. “Standing there is a rhythm and you are aware of the laughs and the way they hit. With a book, you can really have more flavor; you can be vulnerable, you can slow it down, have low beats, you could be really funny. I wouldn’t say it’s hard to write stand-up compared to writing books. They both have their challenges.
Also in this week’s episode, Tina Jordan reflects on the history of book review as she celebrates her 125th birthday; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they read. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed in “What We Read” this week:
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