This is a collection put out by PBS about people’s lives (mostly**) through the first year of the pandemic. There were various prompts posted online (“The tradition I carry on is…” or “A day’s work is…” or “Now is the time…” etc), and people could submit their answers as well as photos if they chose. The book is divided into sections that loosely group answers into categories: family, opportunity, equality, etc. Some of the stories were specifically related to the pandemic; others were more general. In short, this was a cross-section of lives throughout America, from all different ages, races, backgrounds, beliefs, circumstances, and more.
To be honest, there’s not much I can say about this book. It’s well put together and well thought out. PBS and the editors who cultivated the photos, stories, and themes did a good job of organizing the book, as well as showcasing the hodgepodge culture we have in the US. The stories themselves hit on so many different topics that probably everyone will find some that are interesting and some that are less so. Some people may find some of the stories triggering, because they can hit on hard topics at time (from sexual assault to religion to family member loss to politics). But there were also completely innocuous stories, or stories of ancestry, or photos of silliness and play. My favorite was one of these silly stories, and I took a photo of it to include here. –>
**The project originally began pre-pandemic, with the question of “what does it really mean to be an American today?” Some of the entries – like the one pictured – come from earlier than the pandemic. Most, however, are from 2020 and 2021, after the project grew into something more as a global crisis hit.