It's Friday. Time to take a look at a few radio pieces worth a second listen... or a first listen if you missed them.
This past week, we caught several stories about growing up or living in a tough environment.
Diane Rehm talked to Andre Dubus III, best-selling author, about his recent memoir Townie.
Hearing someone talk about their memoir doesn't always make for radio magic, but I sat and listened to the entire interview with Dubus as he talked about his journey - going from a scrawny kid, to muscled brawler, to successful author.
From the Diane Rehm Show website:
In the 1970s, life along Massachusetts' Merrimack River was harsh and unforgiving. Jobs were scarce, neighborhoods were rife with drugs and violence, and hopelessness and despair prevailed. To survive amid such hardship, "House of Sand and Fog" author Andre Dubus III, built himself up from a scared, scrawny victim to a muscled street fighter who could defend his family and channel his anger at his absent father. Later on, Dubus found redemption through writing. He healed old wounds and forged a new life as one of America's bestselling authors.
In the interview, Dubus III talks about his rough and tumble childhood, touching on the difficulties facing single parents as well as issues surrounding bullying and empowerment, including Dubus's own vigilante-esque behavior in the face of would-be intimidators in his neighborhood.
Dubus III is charming and down-to-earth about topics which, one imagines, are very personal, and somewhat difficult to talk about. Not to be missed.
Kyle Norris caught this story over last weekend.
It came from Splendid Table, which is not normally noted for having to bleep offensive language in its show.
The show, normally an interview program with host Lynne Rossetto Kasper, broke their format a bit and opened up the program with a feature story about Gabrielle Hamilton.
Hamilton is a chef and author of the memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.
She, like Andre Dubus III, had a tough childhood. She says from ages 12 to 35 she had a sort of fake "just try to test me" kind of attitude.
But she came out of it seeking a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Hamilton calls it a "non-profit" lifestyle ("I'm never going to be tooling around in my Benz").
She runs a restaurant in New York's lower east side called Prune.
It's the kind of restaurant where other chefs go to eat, according to Spledid Table Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Producer Sally Swift met up with Hamilton at Prune.
You can listen to this direct and honest piece below. It's in the first 11 minutes:
If you think humans have it tough, trying being a lion in today's world.
In the 1950s, there were around 450,000 lions in the wild. Today there are around 20,000 to 25,000 left.
One of our listeners, Art, called in asking for help to find the photographs paired with this story.
Art said he was amazed by the filmmakers' courage featured in this interview.
Host Terry Gross spoke with Beverly and Dereck Joubert.
The couple made a documentary called The Last Lions about a pride of lions in Botswana.
The Jouberts live in tents and have a customized, open vehicle that allow them to film lions close up (even lion fights).
Dereck Joubert talked with Gross about a mother lion who lost her cub. From Fresh Air's page:
"What we are very, very careful about doing ... is being careful about how we deal with what are obviously emotions within these animals. So we never, ever say, 'This animal is feeling sadness. And this animal is feeling hatred,' or any of those sort of things. What I try to do very carefully is say, 'We don't know about animal emotions, but any mother who loses her young must be going through something.' So I'd like to take people up to that point and then do a handover because it's very, very obvious that these animals do have emotions, but exactly what forms those emotions take is where we have to draw the line."
You can listen to the interview here.
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