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May 5, 2020

Lauren Sandler

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.


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.

About Author(s)

Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Childand 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.

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