Virtual Event: Lauren Sandler


This Is All I Got:
A New Mother's Search for Home

in conversation with JOHN WILLIAMS


May 5, 2020
7:00 PM ET


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This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes award-winning journalist LAUREN SANDLER—author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One—for a discussion of her latest book, This Is All I Got: A New Mother's Search for Home. She will be joined in conversation by JOHN WILLIAMS, Staff Writer and Daily Books Editor for the New York Times.

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About This Is All I Got

Camila is twenty-two years old and a new mother. She has no family to rely on, no partner, and no home. Despite her intelligence and determination, the odds are firmly stacked against her. In this extraordinary work of literary reportage, Lauren Sandler chronicles a year in Camila’s life—from the birth of her son to his first birthday—as she navigates the labyrinth of poverty and homelessness in New York City. In her attempts to secure a safe place to raise her son and find a measure of freedom in her life, Camila copes with dashed dreams, failed relationships, the desolation of abandonment, and miles of red tape with grit, humor, and uncanny resilience.

Every day, more than forty-five million Americans attempt to survive below the poverty line. Every night, nearly sixty thousand people sleep in New York City-run shelters, forty percent of them children. In This Is All I Got, Sandler brings this deeply personal issue to life, vividly depicting one woman's hope and despair and her steadfast determination to change her life despite the myriad setbacks she encounters.

This Is All I Got is a rare feat of reporting and a dramatic story of survival. Sandler’s candid and revealing account also exposes the murky boundaries between a journalist and her subject when it becomes impossible to remain a dispassionate observer. She has written a powerful and unforgettable indictment of a system that is often indifferent to the needs of those it serves, and that sometimes seems designed to fail.

Praise for This Is All I Got

“Meticulously crafted and brilliantly reported, Lauren Sandler’s This Is All I Got exposes the Kafkaesque cruelties of America’s disintegrating social safety net. It is a gut punch of a narrative, an electrifying summons to policy action, and an instant classic.” —Dan-el Padilla Peralta, associate professor of classics, Princeton, and author of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

This Is All I Got is an absorbing portrayal of a resourceful, driven, brilliant young woman—down and out in the richest country in the world. Sandler has written a book that reads like a novel, which only makes her indictment of dwindling affordability and the public assistance bureaucracy all the more penetrating.” —Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Disgraced

“This is the very human story of a single family that at the same time is the broad and important story about the ravages of inequality in this country.  This is also a book you cannot put down: Lauren Sandler’s remarkable, intimate reporting and her lyrical, specific prose shine.” —Alissa Quart, author of Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

John Williams
John Williams

John Williams

John Williams is the Daily Books Editor and a Staff Writer at the New York Times, where he has worked since 2011.

Photo Credit: Early Wilson/the New York Times

Lauren Sandler
Lauren Sandler

Lauren Sandler

Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One and Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement. Her essays and features have appeared in dozens of publications including Time, the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Nation, and elsewhere. She has taught in the graduate journalism program at NYU, where she has also been a visiting scholar.

Photo Credit: Justin Lane

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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