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Friday, April 3, 2015


Published in 2012 by HighBridge Audio
Multicast performance
Duration: 2 hours, 16 minutes

This collection was inspired by listeners who wrote NPR and commented on why these stories from their vast treasure trove of stories have stuck with them for so long. Some are funny, some are sad and some are thought-provoking. They are also a mixed bag. Some are great, some are so-so and some had me wondering why they were included at all.

Pretty typical of the collection is a skit called "Complexities of Modern Love in the Digital Age". It features the two voice actors that you most typically hear when you call a big corporation for customer service and they lead you through the phone tree. In this case, they have the two voices talk to one another and date. The idea is sort of cute but the actual skit was not as funny as the idea of the skit.

A Kathy Griffin interview. Eh. 

The Cookie Monster interview was fun.

I loved the story about a stray cat that wandered into a prison yard and was adopted by the prisoners. They feed it, take turns with it and the amount of discord in the yard has dropped because of this one cat.

I also liked the story of the former KKK member who went from harassing his Jewish neighbors to converting to Judaism thanks to a little human kindness.

The story about pets in the Sarajevo during the war among what used to be Yugoslavia was very interesting.

The story of a young couple in China digging through the rubble after an earthquake looking for their only son and his grandparents who were babysitting was gripping and heartbreaking. Easily the best in the collection.

The story that will stick with me was "Growing Up, Aging Out: The End of Foster Care". It was told from a very sympathetic point of view, wondering what a girl was going to do when she turned 21 and was no longer eligible to be part of the foster care system. But, I found it to be very irritating and the longer I listened the angrier I got. This girl was not physically disabled. She still had not finished high school and she was nearly 21 years old. She was making no moves to get a job or even finish high school. Instead, had been conditioned to accept handouts her whole life and to not work. How would she live without a government check? What would she do? What she was doing was sleeping with her drug dealer boyfriend and trying to get pregnant. I listened to it with my high school-aged daughter and I turned it into a cautionary tale.

So, lots of forgettable stories, some so-so stuff, a couple of really good ones and one really disturbing one.

I rate this collection 3 stars out of 5.

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