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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, 40 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. (Random House)
Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist based in Brooklyn, and the author of two previous books, the bestselling One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One and Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement. Lauren's essays and features have appeared in dozens of publications including Time, The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and Elle. She has been on staff at Salon and at NPR, where she worked on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and the Cultural Desk. In addition to her journalism, Lauren has lead the OpEd Project’s Public Voices Fellowships at Yale, Columbia, UVA, and Dartmouth, and has taught in the graduate journalism program at NYU, where she has also been Visiting Scholar. She was a regular commentator for the BBC and has been interviewed nationally and internationally on many networks including CNN, PBS, CBS, NBC, and throughout public radio. Lauren is a member of NationSwell Council. She has been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, a Calderwood Journalism Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and a resident at the Maison Dora Maar in Menerbes, France.
John Williams is the Daily Books Editor/Staff Writer at the New York Times. He is the founder f The Second Pass, an exclusively online publication devoted to reviews, essays, and blog posts about books new and old. From 2001-2007, he worked in the editorial department at HarperCollins. Before that, he spent time as a journalist in Texas and an editorial intern at Harper’s Magazine. His work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Slate, McSweeney’s, Stop Smiling, the Barnes & Noble Review, the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News, and other publications.