Ep. 269 This Boy We Made by Taylor Harris — The Stacks Book Club (Nicole Chung) – Transcript

Author Nicole Chung returns to discuss our May book club selection This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown by Taylor Harris. We discuss the importance of specificity in memoir, and how much likability and reliability matter. We also talk about where this book shines and where it falls short, and how ableism shows up in the author’s story.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our book club pick will be for June 2023.


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Traci Thomas 0:08
Welcome to The Stacks, a podcast about books and the people who read them. I’m your host Traci Thomas and today author Nicole Chung has returned to discuss our May book club pick This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics and Facing the Unknown by Taylor Harris. This memoir was released in 2022. And it follows the emotional journey of a black mother whose beliefs around science faith and our healthcare system and motherhood itself are challenged when her young son goes through a mysterious illness. Today, Nicole and I talked about what makes a memoir, compelling expectations versus reality, and so much more. There are spoilers in this episode. Make sure you listen through to the end of today’s episode to hear what our June book club pick will be. And a quick reminder, everything we talked about on each episode of The Stacks can be found in the link in the show notes. If you just can’t get enough of the Stacks, I have a whole bunch more for you if you join the stacks pack, which is our community on Patreon. For just $5 a month you get bonus episodes, our virtual book club and access to our extremely active discord where we do buddy reads give book recommendations and share our pop tart Power Rankings. Trust me the stacks pack is having a good time. If this sounds like you, or if you just want to throw a little money behind an independent podcast you believe in head to patreon.com/the stacks. And here’s a special shout out to our newest members of the stacks pack. Joanna Espinosa and Chevy Crowley, thank you so much for joining and thank you to the entire stacks pack. And now it’s time for my conversation with Nicole Chung about this boy we made by Taylor Harris.

Alright everybody, we are back. It is the Stacks book club day I am joined again by friend of the podcast incredible author, Nicole Chung. Nicole, welcome back. We’re going to talk today about This Boy We Made by Taylor Harris. So I am so bad at remembering to do this. But I’ve been really good this year so far. Let me tell you all what the book is about before Nicole and I start talking. I should also say there will be some spoilers in today’s episode. So if you haven’t read the book, and you don’t want to know what’s coming, pause this, read the book and come back. But basically, this is a story of Taylor Harris. She is a black mother living in Virginia. She has a daughter and a son who’s about 22 months or so when he has some sort of like, extreme health scare. And the book follows her trying to figure out what’s going on with his health and as also sort of a fluid memoir that goes back to her childhood deals with her anxiety deals with her marriage, her faith, her family. So it’s one of those memoirs where it’s like about a thing, but she’s really covering like a lot of topics. So yeah, that’s the book in a nutshell. We always start here and Nicole, what did you think of the book, sort of generally?

Nicole Chung 3:02
I should say that right off the bat that I’m not exactly impartial. I’ve been a fan of Taylor Harris’s for a long time. And I just feel in the interest of transparency for your listeners, I’ll share that Taylor and I are like real life friends. And I’ve also edited and published her work. But we met many years ago on a writing conference before either of us had published much of anything. I was a fan of her McSweeney’s column, though, I was reading that at the time, it was called Big Mom on Campus. And it was about her experience like living in the UVA dorms with her husband when he was a professor there, like moving back to her alma mater, with with young children. And I had young children myself with that point around a little older than hers, but around the same age. So I was just really drawn in by like this very Voysey funny column written and really at the intersection of like, like race and parenting in ways I wasn’t seeing in a lot of other mainstream parenting columns. Anyway, all that to say, I’ve, I’ve known and really love Taylor’s work for a long time. And I really loved this book. And not just because I edited some columns that like, eventually were adapted into part of the book. But I think what I love the most about her writing is just like the heart and the humor and the way you’ll think you know, where a sentence or a story is going, and then she’ll drop in something that’s really so surprising. Sometimes funny, sometimes not funny, but like, it’s the fact that I’ve been reading her for so long, and I’m still continually surprised by where she goes. I really appreciate that. So, yeah, I mean, I really do. I really do like this book, and I knew when you picked it out of the list I sent you I was like, oh, man, like I cannot be impartial about this book. But I hope people still listen to my opinions.

Traci Thomas 4:45
Yeah, no, totally. I mean, when when you sent it over, I said back I was like, as long as she’s okay. If there’s criticism and you’re like, Yeah, I’m fine. So, and I have a little criticism of this book, but here’s I’m going to start here. Overall, I liked this book. Like I enjoyed my time with it, I read it pretty quickly. There are things in this book that I did not care for, which we’ll get to. But overall, I really liked it. And I think my favorite thing about the book was the beginning, I thought she drew the audience in to what was going on. And like her frame of mind trying to figure out what was going on. It was it felt like a thriller, I think the first note I took was like, This is so suspenseful, this is a thriller. And I was so interested to see where it was going to go, if she could keep that up, when we were going to find out what was going on, if it was going to shift at all. And I think it definitely shifts more until like a traditional memoir about maybe a third of the way in maybe 25% in. And I don’t know if I could have sustained that level of like stress panic as a young parent, you know, I’m a parent to three and a half year old. So I’m sitting there being like, this is my nightmare. This is my nightmare. This is my nightmare. And I don’t know if I could have done that fully. But I think where the book lost me a little bit was a lot of the faith elements around religion, I didn’t feel like they were interrogated enough for me to understand her relationship to religion, and also the importance for her of the kind of like head to head pneus of faith and science. And she gets to it a little bit throughout. But that part was really challenging for me. And I think that kind of took me out of the story. So I think that’s generally my like, overall overarching opinion. I want to talk I want to ask you a few questions about memoir before we really dig into the book, because you’re a memoirist, whose work that I love. And I wanted I’ve heard memoir is talk about memory work. What is that mean? What does that look like? Obviously, you can probably only speak to your own experience, but you’ve edited many people who write personal stuff. So I’m curious if you have insight on that?

Nicole Chung 6:51
I think so. I mean, I’ll say to that, because I wanted to real quickly if I could address something you said about like thriller ask, Oh, yeah, laying in the way, you’re kind of dropped into the medical mystery part of the book. I did find that like opening really effective to and I’ll say to someone whose first book followed. I mean, it’s such a different topic for your readers who don’t know, like, it’s about, like my search for my birth family. But like, so as someone who’s written a kind of memoir as mystery. Yeah, almost. And then also had the structure change. Yeah, kind of based on what I found, and like, I think all you can ever know, also becomes a more traditional memoir about halfway through. I hadn’t really thought about that similarly, till you mentioned, but it’s something I really enjoy. Yeah, in the form. And I’ll also say I like when it shifts to something that is more traditional memoir. And by that I don’t mean dull, I mean, something more interactive, something that’s more internal, and yet, like, hopefully has something reaching out to readers, because it is hard, I think to sustain that. Like it keeps you turning pages for a while that thriller mystery aspect. But at some point, like, I read memoir, like I read that genre, to your memoir. Exactly. So I just appreciated what you said about that. Oh, yeah. But yeah, your question about memoir and memory work is so different for everybody. I’m sure every memoir writer has their own approach to it. And I’ll say mine changed a lot between book one and book two. Writing Book Two, in general was like a much more physical experience for me, like I was more aware of like, my brain, and my body is integrated in that process, as opposed to like, just being a brain who writes kind of dragging my body along with me, I was much more, I was doing a lot more memory work, where I was trying to remember how certain events and conversations felt in my own body. And for me, that was how I summon those memories and how I kind of made them real. This is what the living remedy. I’ll say, from working with a lot of different writers, I know not everybody has that same approach. But for me, that is like what memory work now really involves, like a lot of it is like trying to embody a moment again, and not just telling you I felt this way or even I feel this way present tense writing about it, but like, let me bring you in and like try to explain give you like the sensation of this moment for me. So I don’t know. And then, in terms of like process, I think a lot of writers have different approaches. But like, you can look at photos. Of course, if if your sources are like living and you have a good relationship, you can talk with them. I really enjoyed like checking my memory, like against my mother’s when I was reading working on different parts of both books. So some of it too, I think is reported and we maybe don’t talk about that enough. But you’re not always doing that memory work alone, whether you’re trying to get other perspectives and even with a living remedy. By the time I finished it. My parents weren’t here. I mean, I was checking things with my husband, with my sister, with friends who kind of lived through that with me. And that was like really important too. So I think one thing to remember is you may feel like you’re alone, writing a memoir, and at times it’s very solitary work, but, you know, you’re not necessarily as alone as you think. And there’s people that you can, if they’re willing, and if you’re willing, like that can be part of that process.

Traci Thomas 10:05
Yeah. Something that just, I’m thinking about as you’re saying that like having other people being part of the process is in this book and this boy we made. You know, I think a lot about likability for authors because I think that it gets thrown around in a way that’s really like dismissive, especially of women authors, especially of authors of color, like I really hate it and happens all the time. But a thing that I was thinking, as I was reading this book was like, Gosh, I really like Taylor. I really liked her. Like, she seems like someone I like. However, as I’m reading the book, I’m also having these things where I’m like, This isn’t like, You’re annoying me, like, I don’t like this. I don’t like this part of you. I don’t like this. And it was really interesting to think about how much I liked her, but also how much she was pissing me off a little bit like, like choices that she would make or the ways she would describe things. And I wonder if like, this desire to, like something or to agree with something in memoir is different than like in a fictional piece where where we feel like we want to like the main character, because a lot of memoirs I read, I don’t like the person at all. I’m like, Okay, I’m interested in your story. But like, like educated, I don’t like Tara Westover. I’m not interested in her as a person. But I read I didn’t like that book, either. But, you know, I read the story, because I wanted the story. And in this case, I think I kept reading because I liked Taylor, and I was rooting for her. So I’m wondering what you think about like likability in memoir.

Nicole Chung 11:41
Oh, that is such a loaded question. When you when you started talking about this, I was like, oh, man, like I don’t even know what likeability means. And literature, and I think it’s especially tough with memoir, because I think people forget to, you’re never getting the whole person, you’re obviously never getting the whole person when it comes to other characters in the book, right? Like a memoir, writer, and we’ve talked about this, they can only give you as fair as they try to be as like thoughtful and nuanced and compassionate as we try to be, we can only really give you how we knew a person. If someone else were to write about, like my mother, it would be a completely different book than my second, right. So I mean, I think about that. But I think about to just like when you’re rendering yourself on the page, like the narrator, the eye and memoir, The great challenge is that you’re trying to do it in a way. And I don’t think I think about likability so much, maybe I should think about it more.

Traci Thomas 12:34
I don’t know if it’s the right word. But you know, like-

Nicole Chung 12:37
Yeah, but you’re trying to render the eye if not in a likeable way, at least in a way that is so honest and real, that the reader kind of stands in with you like you’re asking them to join you in this, like, they almost go through it with you. Right, right. They’re like almost taking your perspective that I perspective on your life. I don’t think you necessarily have to be likable for a reader to want to follow you through a story, right? Like you’re saying you read, educated and like kept with it, despite not really liking the narrator that much. I think sometimes though, it’s really difficult if there’s a difference between not liking a narrator and not feeling they’re like they’re being real with you. And maybe that’s the key. You cannot like the narrator, the author character that they’ve constructed, recognizing, I think it’s important to recognize, no one is the AI character, they create a memoir, right? I mean, I tried to be as honest as I could be. And of course, I am different. And just not entirely, right. Like, you can’t fully render yourself, either. But you I think readers, I trust readers generally, I think they know if I’m not being real with them. And like part of my job is to give them the respect of recognizing that recognizing they need something real to hold on to and it starts with the narrator. It starts with the author. I think that’s ultimately the most important thing.

Traci Thomas 13:58
Do you think that memoir is need to be reliable narrators? Just true, I’m just thinking about like a lot of the phrases we throw around with fiction like likable characters, or like relatable or real or unreliable narrator. And I’m just thinking about like, in memoir, will we go with someone if we think that they’re full of shit? Or they’re lying to us a little bit?

Nicole Chung 14:20
Personally, as a reader, I can’t really do that. And I It doesn’t bother me at all with fiction. You know,

Traci Thomas 14:27
I love fiction.

Nicole Chung 14:29
I love a good unreliable narrator. Yes. I think I think it’s a lot harder for me and memoir and why it seems sort of obvious, but it’s because I’m trusting them to tell me a true story. You know, recognizing Of course, it’s one perspective. It’s like their truth. It’s not the whole truth, but I’m still expecting a truth. Yeah. And if I feel like I’m, you know, just kind of being strung along or they’re not being real or they’re just not letting me close enough. Not that I need to know everything about them. That’s not like my right as a reader, but it again, I think I you can tell us your reader or women authors just not keeping it real with you. And that makes it really hard to follow, especially for for memoir.

Traci Thomas 15:09
And I think I’m thinking about some of the unreliable narrators in memoir like, I like Prince Harry spare, I found his I found his version of events to at least make me be like, Hmm, what are we doing here? What do you try? What are you getting at? And I think that maybe with celebrity memoir, it works better. Or it is I’ll stick with it because I’m like, I have some frame of reference for you. Whereas like, if the author is like a career writer that I’ve never met or never heard of, and I’m just reading the book, because of the premise, it’s a lot harder for me if I feel like I can’t trust you like Matthew Perry’s memoir, people read and loved and hated and love to hate because he was lying to them a little bit, but like they knew it. And so you’re kind of in on it. I don’t know, I wasn’t planning on talking about this at all, but it just kind of popped into my head. And I did I find Taylor to be a mostly likable and relatable and reliable narrator. I think that like something that she was able to do, like I mentioned was, I wanted to go on the journey with her because I was rooting for her and for tufts, hers, her son, of course. But also, I felt like some sort of maybe like familiarity with her. Like, she reminded me of what I imagine if I had a sister, that’s who she would be, like, you know, like, where it’s like, I’m annoyed by you. But I also very much love you and want only good things. So I don’t know, I guess we should kind of talk about the book a little bit. I want to talk about this parenting and anxiety, because that is such a central theme, both Taylor’s anxiety previous to having children and everything going on with her son, but then also the parenting and anxiety connection and you’re a parent to middle school ish children. Yeah. And you’ve written about a little bit about your daughters. And I know one of your, one of your children you’ve written about had some health or some, some some sort of, you know, needed a little extra care in places. And I’m wondering, like, Did her parenting anxiety mirror what you felt as you’re dealing with those kind of things? Like, did you feel seen as a parent, just like, generally, I mean, when my kid gets a fever, I am having basically like running down the list of malaria. meningitis?

Nicole Chung 17:31
Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve been reading Taylor for so long that when I mean, I don’t necessarily see myself in her writing, which does not bother me. I mean, that’s not necessarily what I need to read all the time. But like, I am a parent, I’m also an anxious person. Yeah, but I’ve been reading her for so long that like my reading her, like far precedes my realization of how anxious I am. I was really only diagnosed like during the pandemic. And while my mother was dying, and I remember just looking at my hair, sorry, this is very personal. But I remember looking at my therapist being like, well, like, of course, I’m anxious, like, Did you just hear what’s going on in my life? She’s like, No, no, but like, apart from the pandemic, and the stress and your mother dying, like, from everything that you’ve already shared with me, I know, this is not new. And I was like, Oh, ha, and I really felt like, that was such a sobering and humbling moment for me. Like I make my living interrogating my life, my experiences, it’s not that I felt denial. It’s not that I thought she was wrong, but I was just like, a like, Duh. And be like, oh, like, it’s weird that I never really thought about putting a label to that. But like, I thought I was always just a worrier, or I was just watchful, or, or whatever. So anyway, all that to say, like, I, I mean, I read, I’ve read so much of Taylor’s work that happened that I read before, you know, realizing that and like since then, like me, I reread this book, just this week, actually like to prepare for this conversation. And I don’t know like those parts, they always really struck me just because I think she writes really honestly and beautifully about parenting and anxiety. And, and I actually felt like, the parts I related to a lot or she writes about how like faith isn’t is not like a comfort, or, or like a help for that anxiety, like the way those two things, I guess, coexist, and that are kind of mirrored in her search for truth about what’s going on with her son. I am not a person of the same type of faith as Taylor and I have never particularly found it comforting when I’m worried. But I was raised. I was raised in a really devout household. And I remember being told like, essentially a Catholic version of like, let go and let God and that never felt like enough or comforting for me. So it was kind of incredible to me. You just interesting reading about someone I actually like, I really like, care about and respect her rating. And also, like, we’ve had similar experiences, like they overlap in some places, but our, our reaction and like our take on it is so different actually find that really interesting just because like two roads and then divergence. But anyway, I just appreciate, like, really good honest writing about anxiety. Yeah, and how unexplainable it really is to other people. Because, yeah,

Traci Thomas 20:31
And it manifests like differently in everyone. I too, am an anxious person. I didn’t even I’ve never even heard the word anxiety until I was I think, in college, or, or late like into college. And one of my friends was, like, diagnosed with it. And I was like, what does that even mean? And as he was describing it, I was like, Oh, I feel seen.

Nicole Chung 20:50
I think I always thought it would like, take a certain form or look a certain way. Like, my anxiety is different. It’s very real. But it’s very different from like, for instance, what Taylor writes about in this book. Yeah, so like, I mean, like reading this before I had that diagnosis I like didn’t particularly see myself and like what you’re saying, you know, it’s because it’s because of course, it’s different for everybody.

Traci Thomas 21:13
Right. And then when you reread it this time, did it. Did it resonate with you differently?

Nicole Chung 21:17
It definitely did. I mean, I’m not going to but like sites, like just generally, yes. I mean, I’ve always found her reading about anxiety really moving. So even cific. Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. It is like the laser specificity. And the fact that it’s not like mine, or yours, that actually makes me feel like those are very universal sections of the book. Because she’s being so specific about her own experience. Yeah. Like general generalized writing about anxiety, as a phenomenon as a diagnosis. I’m glad it exists. But it doesn’t touch me in the way reading like this does. Yeah. Like, that’s what makes it feel real is her specificity.

Traci Thomas 21:59
Yeah, I think like, I I’m always really people can’t see this, because it’s a podcast. But I’m always a person who like, explains books by like, how they make me feel. And I feel like this, but I’m like, kind of like shaking my arms, I’m done. Like I’m shaking a soda or something. Because of the way that the book starts with all of that, like, stress. And then it kind of goes into her anxiety. When I think about this book, I have that feeling of like, I need to take a deep breath. And I feel like that’s really like a huge compliment to her that she was able to capture that in her writing. Because I think so many people who write about anxiety, write about it in a way that feels detached from what it feels like. And I feel like she was able to write about it in a way that maybe it’s not the way that my manifests or yours or anyone else’s. But it gave a feeling to me, like I could feel her. And I think like for me, that’s why the parenting and parenting anxiety and anxiety parts of this book, were by far my favorite, because I felt like it was so specific that I could be like, I don’t do that. But I understand what you’re getting at. Like, where she talks about the part where she’s like, who’s at fault here? Is it my fault for doing this? Is it my fault for doing that? And like that part of parenting? And like, because that made me think, okay, who’s at fault? You can play that game in the beginning, but that in a certain point, it’s like, does it even matter whose fault it is like, you’re still here? Like, you’re here now. Right? And like, I don’t know, I just feel like the way that she was able to write about the anxiety and the parenting opened up so much for me. And like, let me in, I felt like I was a really let in. And it’s interesting that you compare that to the faith part because for me, the faith part felt much more closed off, like I and I maybe because that’s personal in a different way. And I wasn’t raised Christian. And you know, I wasn’t really raised religious, but my family’s Jewish. So culturally, there were, you know, things and I guess anxiety and Judaism sort of go together. I feel like from what I’ve learned, but I feel like with the faith stuff for me. I didn’t she talks about how the faith was sort of like could be calming for her and the anxiety. But I didn’t feel that reading her story. Like, I don’t know what it was about the faith stuff for me. Exactly. And I have talked to people in the stacks pack, like in our book, virtual book club stuff like online, and a lot of people were thrown off by the faith stuff. And you know, my first instinct was like, maybe because it’s not in the subtitle. And it’s such a big part of the book. It’s sort of like a surprise, and an unexpected one that maybe like it should be in there. But I think for me, as I’ve thought about it more and more, where I struggled with the faith stuff was this assumption that the reader would know what she was talking about, in a way that she doesn’t do with a lot of the other parts of the book. She really walks us through the medical stuff. She walks us through those appointments with the teachers and To keep the IEP s, she walks us through her anxiety, but with the Christianity she was like, Yeah, I’m very Christian. So we did a 40 day fast. And I’m like, Okay, can I have more please? Like, I just think for me, as the more I interrogate the the faith stuff, I wish she had interrogated that part more, because it seems so central to who she is and how she makes decisions, and how she navigates faith. Towards the end, there’s a line where she’s like, you know, I was fasting about what to do for her brockagh diagnosis. And she said, I was fasting, and a lot of people would think that fasting for a medical thing would put science and faith at odds, but for me, like it brought them together. And in that moment, I was like, Oh, this is really helpful. I wish there had been more of that. So I don’t know that was a lot about the faith stuff. But I’m curious, like did as someone who was raised Christian, but differently, like did did the faith stuff work for you? Did it feel connected to everything else?

Nicole Chung 26:03
It’s interesting, I think it’s one of those things where I’m trying to like picture of course, I’m not impartial, but like thinking about when I run into things in other books, where it’s not my experience, and or it’s not all in the text. And I feel like I just didn’t like necessarily walk away understanding all of it. I tend to like roll with that as a reader pretty well, it’s just me. I think I’m like, very conscious of all the different types of experiences other people have that I don’t including different faith traditions. And that’s not to say you’re not just like, I don’t know that I was looking for that. And I also, like I wondered, and I’ve never asked Taylor this, but I’m not sure I, I know from her other writing, and just from knowing her as a person, how important her faith is to her. So for me, that was not a surprise. I’m also used to, like, I feel like you could almost make that criticism about, there’s this chapter and a living remedy. I’m sorry to talk about my own book. But like, I wrote about my parents faith in their church community. And I was like, kind of uncomfortable. When I realized I had to do that. I felt it was really necessary to the story, but it’s not my tradition, I didn’t know what readers would need to understand. I was like, I can’t explain this whole religion in this book. And also like, I’m not the person who should be doing that. I don’t know, like all that to say, I think, I think it bothers me less because I’m used to living with religion that I don’t understand. Like, perhaps more used to it, then most people, but it’s also I think, because I like No, and have edited other works of tailors that kind of go into it a bit more. Right? It’s just so hard in a memoir, like, even if I don’t know, because I haven’t asked her I don’t know if she wanted to include more or less, right in the face stuff. And so getting the balance was like a challenge. I know, there was so many things that like, I wanted to put in like book one or book two that kind of just didn’t fit. And I have like been left wondering, Oh, does that mean, like readers will be lost with this part or this part, just because I couldn’t figure out a way to either explain or make everything fit. So all of a sudden, I’m just aware of the tension in the project and how it’s very hard to know. And to figure out like what the like, right balance is, when you’re writing about something that’s kind of fraught, in the way of faith is that not everybody will be familiar with. But every time I kind of encountered something like that in Taylor’s book, I think I was like, okay, like, I don’t quite understand this. And then I decided to be fine with it. I don’t know if that. Obviously, that doesn’t work for everybody. And that’s okay. It didn’t work for you. But that was sort of how I I read it. I didn’t expect to, to understand all those things. Just because my my faith tradition is so different.

Traci Thomas 28:45
Yeah. I mean, I personally really like to read about people’s faith experiences. Like I like one of my favorite books so far this year, are my favorite memoirs, aside from yours actually is a job Butch Blues by Columbia age, which is all about their experience. Being a queer, non binary, Muslim person, and immigrant and all of these things. And the book is like, framed through religion. And so for me, I don’t know, I think it’s not necessarily the religious aspects of it. I think it’s like the, like, I think I just wanted her to dig into that part of herself a little more in the way that she’s able to dig into, like the anxiety or, or even some of like, the race stuff in the book that she digs into. And so I think it left me I think that’s like, why when it because like, the way the book is structured, where it’s like, so flowy, and you’re here in one moment, and you’re there and another moment, which I liked, for the most part, and it worked for me, except for when we would flow from one thing into faith and back out and I’d be like, Wait, why? You know, like it. It was like, I can’t even explain it. It’s just like a little bit like where you like tap the brakes before you break. We’re just like a little jarring. You’re like, wait, what’s happening? It didn’t totally take me out. out of the book, but it was a thing that every time it came up, I was like, Oh, we’re here again, like, where’s this going kind of thing? Like, like with topes baptism like that, that recurring theme that kept coming up. I was like, Okay, where’s this going? Like, why do we keep hearing about this? Like, what is this mean? And I just never felt like I fully got it in the ways that like, I felt very clear about her thoughts and feelings and emotions. When we talked about the schools, and like all of her education experiences with like top schools. We have to take a quick break, we’ll be right back. Okay, we’re back. Okay, I want to talk about some of the medicine stuff because, again, your book deals with medicine, your second book Living remedy, and the experience of like being dealing with the healthcare system. I think I could have done with more of this stuff in this story. Like, I thought this part was really well done the way that again, like the thriller part in the beginning, like the doctor who’s like, you know, what, don’t leave actually come back, let’s do the blood work. And like, the moment where it’s like, this is a black woman with a black child, and a black doctor. And this doctor decides like, not to send her home and how huge that moment was versus like as things unfold, and Taylor is very complimentary of, I think all of her doctors and all of the medical care if I’m remembering, I don’t think she has like, I think she has a hard time finding answers. Right. But does she have like bad experiences?

Nicole Chung 31:34
I can’t remember like specific instances from the book. I mean, there might have, at some point been like a hurried person, ya know, most of all-

Traci Thomas 31:43
It’s mostly like, pretty good care, right? I don’t know, I don’t have really like a question about it. But I’m curious, like, what what you sort of felt about about the way like medicine is covered throughout this book.

Nicole Chung 31:57
I really liked those parts a lot. And I also recognize as somebody who’s read, written about the healthcare system, but does not consider myself by any means, like an expert, I can understand like, again, where it’s sort of hard to figure out like the balance that works for you, the writer, first of all, and your family and their privacy, right. And then also like, what, what is going to be there for readers? What scaffolding? what details do they need? I think that tension and like how much to reveal, and your concerns about privacy is something that like, every every memorias has to think about a lot. And I’m sure she did. I really do like those sections that again, that’s where the mystery comes from. I feel Yeah, it’s what keeps you turning pages told in this book. And at the same time, like this is like when we get a little bit into spoiler territory, I was not bothered by the lack of like a neat tidy answer, you know, oh, I liked it. I really liked it. Well, whereas if like we were talking about just a medical thriller, like if a doctor or reading this about ptosis case, you would expect if they’re bothering to write this down, they’re gonna tell us about this moment of realization, like there will be a revelation there will be an explanation. And like, because it’s memoir, and because it’s real life, like we don’t get that does not bother me. And like you, I really liked that.

Traci Thomas 33:12
I think that’s what makes this book compelling.

Nicole Chung 33:16
Yes. But I just I bring that up, because I think it goes to show it’s hard because on one hand, it is a little bit medical thriller, medical mystery. And on the other hand, it doesn’t have the ending you would expect, if that’s why you’re here. So I don’t know, I really just appreciate how difficult that task was, especially for somebody without a background, like in medicine, and I thought the way she wrote it, it’s hard to write about the hardest thing in your life in a way that is also for readers. And entertainment. suspenseful. Yes. Yeah. Like, it’s like your your families and your trauma. And it’s also supposed to be entertaining for people. I mean, that’s a hell of a thing. Yeah. But yeah, I also think that question, and eventual like answer is, is what gives the book so much of its structure? Yeah. So yeah, I don’t know that it didn’t work. For me. I think it’s just there was so much to excavate in this book, between, like health care, and the medical mystery. And as you mentioned, the education sections which were really compelling in which I completely relate to as the parent of an autistic child with an IEP. And then the the fate stuff, I think it might just be a thing to have, like, there’s so much to excavate and also explain to readers who are not necessarily familiar. But yeah, I thought the medical, the big question as like the driving question of this book. I heard that was quite effective.

Traci Thomas 34:39
I agree. I thought it was and I think like, you know, I’ve read a few books. I’ve read many medical related memoirs, like not from the doctor’s point of view. And I think a lot of the times, when it’s the parent writing about it, we know the ending like the child dies, or we know that this is a parent dealing with a child with XYZ And the memoir is presented in that way. It’s like, okay, this is my memoir about when my child was diagnosed with lymphoma or whatever, I don’t know. And in this case, we don’t know where we’re going. And even when we get there, it’s like, okay, wait, what? Like, it’s like so. And that’s like the real life of it, which is what I appreciate. It is like, yeah, this, there’s not really a good answer here. Like, there. We think we know, mate, we think it’s a seizure thing, actually, you know, like, Thanks for testing his blood all the time. But I guess the glucose thing not so much like, that whole part of it also feels so like real life for anyone who’s ever been sick or had illness. Even if you have a true diagnosis of like, diabetes, it doesn’t always manifest like, I think, did you read?

Nicole Chung 35:51
The People’s Hospital by Ricardo Nuila is on my list, partly because we were on a panel together at the LA Times Book fest, I really want to read it. It’s the conversation that, like his parts of the panel were so excellent. So it’s definitely on my TBR. But I haven’t read it yet.

Traci Thomas 36:05
Well, it’s really good. I just finished it. And he talks about, I mean, he’s a doctor, but he talks about one of his patients who has diabetes who comes in, and they the this person has, like, had it for so long. And it has like been so deteriorative, that his medical handbook doesn’t even have the symptoms, because they, they don’t take into account that like there are healthcare systems where people can’t get health care, and that something like diabetes could be left untreated for so long. And I guess my point, oh, my point in that is that even when you have something that is easily diagnosed or quickly diagnosed, there are symptoms and things that don’t match. And in this case, it’s like, they’ve given her a diagnosis by the end, but it’s like so unsatisfying, I’m assuming for her as it is, for us, the reader and for probably topes to have like, sure, I have this, but like, what the fuck was all that other stuff? You know,

Nicole Chung 36:58
I think like the real, I think it’s true. And but I also think it’s affected that you think you’re reading a book that might answer a specific Yeah. Right. But like, I also I don’t, I don’t necessarily feel like the feeling I get from the end is not like dissatisfaction. That Oh, and I have to give her a lot of credit to for reading that reading that sort of, I don’t know, living in the in between living unknown. I mean, actually, that’s what I find most powerful about this book is that it is a hard thing, especially for an anxious person. And especially for a parent with a sick kid. Like, it is so hard to just dwell in the unknown. And know you may never know more. Yeah, but some of the moments I related to most in the book, apart from like, the IEP stuff. I don’t know, there was this moment. In general, our anxiety is different. And so like, your, your first question about did I feel seen by that, like, not necessarily, but it’s still related. But there’s one part where I really did and it’s like, I forget how she describes it as she was like a beautiful, like, lyrical style of writing. But like, it was something like, it was the way she said, I think she was calling for her husband, Paul, but in this way, like it was the way she described her tone, like the tone that means like somebody anybody help when it’s when the house is in the bed with her. Right. So like that reminded me in this moment, the first time I thought anything could be wrong with one of my kids. And like my husband informed me had like a whole different facial expression that he’d never seen on my face before. And basically, it was just this sort of, like, someone needs to help us like, someone needs to help them. And me, this is like too much. And it was like a look he’d never seen on my face before. He’s seen it many times since. You know, it’s that my kid needs help, who’s going to help us and it’s kind of just like, it just like struck me like to the core. I don’t know, a parent who doesn’t, who can’t relate to that, regardless of whether or not they’re anxious. I don’t know a parent who hasn’t had that feeling at some point or another. But this realization, you develop new tones of voice, you develop new facial expressions. There’s like a whole new library of like, things you worry about, and ways you express that and try to get answers. And then like in this book, she does all that and she doesn’t end up with like, an answer like she thought she would get. And you realize for me, like I realized the question that this book is really about is like, how who is her son. And like, one of the more powerful points in the book for me is when she says she was driven by this need to like, see him and understand him and know him, because they’re your child that you don’t know and could love them more. But sometimes, you do feel like you don’t understand. And I also don’t know, I don’t know any parent who can’t relate to that feeling either whether or not they have a disabled child. Just like them there being some part of your child that you want to be able to understand and reach and love that part too. But it’s just out of reach. That is like so powerful to me and so relatable. And that to me is why the sort of ending where we don’t have neat answers is okay, because I feel like in the end, she sees him. She understands him and she loves him. And she realizes that the most important thing.

Traci Thomas 40:12
Yeah, I mean, I think that the ending is the exact right ending for this book like I because it’s there. It’s her story. It’s their story. And I think like, as, as a reader and like as an piece of entertainment, right, like as a book. I think it’s also the right ending, because it’s true to the world that probably most people who are reading the book live in, right people in America who have some relationship to the health care system, whether they have fantastic health coverage or none. That there is always this feeling of like, this is unsatisfying, even if you get the exact answer pinpointed. And you know what to add on top of that, in her case, the part that I mean, this part really struck me was when they did all the genetic testing, and then she finds out she has Branca or BRCA or I don’t know, some people say Brocket some people say gonna say, anyways, that she finds that out. And that moment, I was like, holy shit. Imagine being so wrapped up in this other thing. And you’re like, obsessed with what’s going on with your child? And you’re like, Yeah, whatever, take my take my blood, like do my test. And then all of a sudden, you get the phone call with the person with the voice that’s like So Taylor. We got your results back and we just want to talk like that conversation.

Nicole Chung 41:20
On the day she found out she was pregnant with Yes, right. This is also why I mean, I’m sorry, this is gonna sound I don’t mean it to sound callous, but I feel like this is one more reason you read them more. Like because realize it’s so much weirder than fiction. You’re reading this novel you really like no fucking lady like this is to me. This is like how, like, I heard from my birth father the first time as I was going into labor with their daughter, if this were like I said this before, but like, if this were a novel, you’d be like, I’m sorry, but that’s too much to the nose. Yeah, I felt like because it’s life, you’re like, holy shit. Exactly. Yeah. So I actually really, that that part of the book, it’s such a hard thing to to let go from writing about this one medical journey to like, then it’s really her story of becoming too, but it feels so right. Like an in a way, like because you are writing such intimate like things about your child to me, like from a craft standpoint, again, not to sound callous. I think that is one of the things that makes the book work is the fact that it becomes a dual journey. They’re on it together separate journeys. But it’s her story, too. I think that’s actually essential. In a way, I find it a lot more like moving and relatable than if it were, if it had remained just his story.

Traci Thomas 42:36
It doesn’t feel like his story at all. Actually, it feels like her story. And her story involves him, which I respect a lot because I think so many people overshare about other people’s lives and make their memoirs about other people. And she does not do that, especially when it comes to kids, because it’s like, he can’t really consent to us. You know, like, I think she does a great job of being like, this is my experience and my life story. And there is a huge component that I would like to focus on, which is my child, right?

Nicole Chung 43:06
She never says like, this is what it means to him, or this is what it will mean someday. Yeah, there’s this whole brand and like parenting writing about kids, often disabled kids, that I find, honestly, repugnant, morally. And like that, that is almost always at the heart of it, is that they’re trying to define this experience, like for their kid? Well, and this is something I think I’m sensitive to just as an adoptee because so many adoptive parents do this in writing about us. I’m not saying it’s the same, but I’m saying like, I noticed that. And I always noticed that as an editor, too. It’s just kind of like one of my big red flags.

Traci Thomas 43:42
And sorry, just to clarify, are you saying that like, what you what you’re noticing is that the parent is trying to like define the situation for the child and to say like, this is what this means to Nicole.

Nicole Chung 43:53
Yeah, but I would say to like, it’s not necessarily a parent and child thing. I think, like you see that most commonly. And there’s this with, like, disabled children are often kind of infantilized and written about without their consent. And it’s often parents and caregivers. But I mean, I can see it too. It’s just like essays that could be very beautifully written, but like, we’re very much fundamentally about someone else’s journey. I see someone else’s story. And like, that was not really interrogated enough, or like the piece was not enough about the author. And their experience of that. It was, it was too much about not only someone else’s experience, but defining, like what that meant to them. It was always just one of those things that I noticed as an editor.

Traci Thomas 44:35
Yeah. I do have a question for you about like, there. There was one moment in the book or she is talent sharing with us, sort of, I guess, like maybe her fears for topes. And she talks about like, perhaps, you know, he’s autistic, and she kind of like has this moment, and it’s something that I was the note I took is like is this dabbling in ableism, right. And like, for me, it’s something that I think a lot about because as of now, I’m healthy, and my children are healthy. And I know as a parent, it’s like, you want your kid to be the most healthy, the most smart, the most beautiful, the most generous, the most, whatever, you know, like you want your kids who have no struggles, I think is what it really boils down to is like you want your kid to be healthy, happy, loved, be able to love all of these things. And I just, I never know how to how we should be talking about and expressing these things. Because I also know people who are disabled who are happy, healthy, loved, generous, full, complete humans. But then when I think about my own kids, I know that I dabble in some of that ableism. And so I don’t, I don’t know, what you think about it, how you feel about it, when it comes up in writing, if you see those kinds of sentiments, if it if it does anything for you.

Nicole Chung 45:57
Um, I think it reminds me kind of aware. I don’t know, it reminds me how prevalent ableism is, and how internalized it is, and how, just like racism, or misogyny, it, it’s not enough to know that it exists, it takes active daily work to recognize and resist it, right. Um, and it’s something I have, like we’ve all learned. So I’ll include myself in this. And not to get too personal again. But like, when you’re the parent of a kid who has either specific, like needs or challenges or just like a medical mystery, like in Taylor’s case, you know, you’re seeing a lot of doctors and you’re always encountering, like this very medicalized system, of course, to try to get at the bottom of something. Speaking from personal experience, though, once you get a diagnosis of something like autism, you know, which, which they don’t get in this book. I mean, that’s not the diagnosis, clearly. But once you get that, you sort of realize how, how the medical model that got you here to this place, isn’t necessarily going to help you that much in like moving forward, you know, because, like, they’ll rush to reassure you or things like I remember, I remember the doctor who diagnosed my daughter being like, she can still get married, like, she can still go to college, like I was thinking about that was a three year old, but there are so used to that being where people’s mobile. Yeah, I mean, for the for the record, like I have no idea really what her future is, I also don’t know what the future of my non autistic child is. But like, there’s, I don’t know, I, I have had because of my own experiences, a parent like years in which to try to unlearn my own internalized ableism. And challenge it when they see it. And also, like, recognize, like, I’m not going to know that passage that you’re referring to, like, I can’t remember a specific part where she seems to be like, but I understand being scared of that diagnosis, because I was scared right up until I got it. And then I understand that I have spent years working and like challenging myself and realizing that like my daughter is happy, loved healthy, like a wonderful kid, and she’s autistic. And like learning what that means. I think it still hurts to encounter in the world. We encounter ableism all the time. Like I’ve encountered it in the education system, like Taylor did. And I’ve encountered it from people, I consider friends. And that’s hard. Because you don’t always want to be the one who’s educating either, right? Right. But so much of it for me is about I think, I don’t want to say like radical acceptance, because I am shit at accepting things I can’t change. But like, I truly see and love and accept my child just as she is. And like, I don’t know, I’m, I like, wish I could make the world into a world where that would be the case with everybody she met. I can tell you when I worry about like the future, and like what could happen to my kids, it’s not because of anything about them. And in my younger world, it’s because of the world they live in. And like, I’m sure you can relate to this as a parent, like a black parent, I also like think about it from like a racial standpoint as well. Like, there’s so much you want to be able to do to remake the world for your kids before they get there. But like, I mean, there’s a limit to what you can do individually. So I think I’ve drifted from your question but no, I when I read on there, when I read those sections of this book or other books I just often unless it’s like wildly ablest and I can tell the person has not interrogated, or like worked on that at all. Like, I think to the degree that it comes in to this book, you see her struggle with it.

Traci Thomas 49:30
Yeah, that’s how I feel to like, you see it, like I see it. And I think like for me, I recognized it in myself, you know, like, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like I’m this perfect enlightened person. And like, I recognize that and I recognize it as this fear of like I said before of like, not wanting your child to have to have struggles even though of course we know our kids will struggle. It’s like I just yeah, we I want the least possible like as I would love for you to be a child of a billionaire actual and just have someone drive you around every day.

Nicole Chung 50:02
Who wouldn’t want to put your kid on an express train? If you didn’t get them on an express train? Yeah, it’s the easiest route. Yeah, absolutely. I think you know, and I think it’s important to recognize it’s a natural, like, urge that you don’t want your kids to struggle, and the life is life, and they’re never going to, they were never going to have a life of that struggle.

Traci Thomas 50:22
And like, yeah, and that people who are disabled also have a life, I think that’s the thing is, like, We’re taught that if you’re disabled, you are less than, and I think, for me, my feelings about like, wanting my kids to be the happiest, healthiest, smartest, whatever. It’s just like, I want my kids to have the best possible life that they could possibly have. Because I’m their mom, period. And I think the ableism part of it is like that I associate being disabled with something that’s less than because that’s what I’ve been taught. And so I feel like when I see it in another parent or another person, I can see it. But when I think about it, and myself, I can’t see it, because it is the water that we swim in, right. But like when she says it, I’m like, oh, that’s that thing that, you know, we’re not supposed to feel this way.

Nicole Chung 51:06
It’s like yeah, I think it’s right, that you notice and that it makes you a little uncomfortable. And I think she does that as well. Yeah, for sure. I think she does, too. Yeah, I think it’s, you know, it’s important to realize, I don’t know, I’ve, like I said, it’s not like I’m some perfect enlightened parent, either. I mean, I’ve learned a lot, I will say from like, disabled, and especially Autistic Self Advocates. So I don’t know, any wisdom that I have is pretty much really gleaned from other sources. Yeah. But I still really glad that like, my kids have reached basically adolescence now. And like, I’m not wrapped up in like their academic achievement, or like, I don’t think about course, like, I want them to be happy. But I don’t know, I had to get to a point when they were very young, of like, accepting that there’s so much I don’t control. And that, like, really what’s most important to me, like, I think every parent has to face back. But when you are the parent of a disabled child, you face it kind of maybe quicker than some other people in a very different, very real way. I had to ask myself when my daughter was two and three, what if her future doesn’t look the way I always thought or assumed my kids future would look and I had to, like accept that very early on, in order to like, of course, love and see her and be her parent and also fight for her. Right and her right to learn as much as she can, you know, so I don’t know, if that hadn’t happened, I’d be a really different parent right now. I’m not saying like, I’m superior. I’m just saying like, different path that but I have that perspective, that experience because of like, my particular parenting experience. So when I read those sections in a book, like, I recognize that I only get mad if I feel like, like I said, if they’re not interrogating that like because it is, it is our responsibility, as hard as it is to do that to be our kids, like, first best allies. And to not just go along with the world’s line about because the world’s learning is ableist. You know, like, we have to see their worth and their dignity in a different way.

Traci Thomas 53:06
Yeah, I think like you brought up race right before during this part of the conversation. And I think like, I see a similar thing. And Taylor, when she’s talking about, like the education system, and a little bit about the medical system, when she’s talking about race as like being a black parent to a black son. And like with the education, like the plans that they make, and she’s like that my son isn’t just another black kid. And like, that same kind of like thinking and talking is similar to the ableism, right like that the racism is there. And it’s part of it. And it’s in her two and like, I think like their sections where she says something that I think she’s like state she, I read it as she’s standing up for her son, like, he’s not going to be just another black boy. But even like that kind of thinking is of course, racist that like he that he, you know, like, and so I see I see it, and I’m not saying that she’s racist, I’m just saying like, she does a good job of letting us see her failure failings, or her or her weak spots, or whatever you want to call it. But when I get to see it in her, I can see it in myself a lot better. So I think that’s probably a compliment to her. And I think like for her, allowing us to let her see her show her work kind of like Right, like, because also all of this happened a while ago. So it’s not her today, no matter what. But just like there’s moments where I’m like, oh, that’s like, don’t say that. And then I’m like, right, of course, but that’s I’m only freaking out about this because it’s in me too.

Nicole Chung 54:37
I read those sections. A lot of them again, like as a fellow parent with an autistic kid have an IEP? And I think, I think it’s sort of like I understood why she was worried about like, she was worried that education system was going to put him in put him in that way with like black boys that they’ve left behind or like in the case of like she writes at one point and this is again, where this specificity I feel like helped me understand so much better. Because I think understand is the parent of a kid with IEP. But I don’t have a black child, right in the public education system. And so when she said there was talk about there being too many black kids with IEP s, and the school system actively wanted to have less to have fewer of them write, which meant denying services, because that’s really what that means. Ultimately, if you’re going to have fewer of them, then you’re going to be denying services to somebody. And she was like, it’s not going to be my kid. Like I understood like that part of it just because like, I mean, I know like a racist quota. I know what it’s like to have your kid put in a certain bin in the school system for various reasons. Right. So that point, I was like, yeah, like, again, if she were being more general about this, I might not understand. Yeah, like her motivations or her feelings, but because she’s being so specific, like I get it, I get why and like, where this fear comes from?

Traci Thomas 55:55
Yeah. Yeah. And like also talking, remember, we were saying like, if this was in fiction, people would be like, No way. How about the fact that she’s living in fucking Charlottesville, like, that also is just so on the nose, given that, like the Charlottesville March, and riot and murders and all like that, that all happens, like, there, she’s talking about, like, navigating, I was like, There’s no way she’s gonna be like, there’s no way and then of course, I knew it was coming. But I was like, maybe she’s gonna be gone still or whatever.

Nicole Chung 56:25
Another thing that she does so beautifully in the book, and which is really hard to do, because it’s also emotional and scary, is talking about that intersection of race and disability with her son, even though they don’t know exactly what’s going on with him. Like, when she goes into these future scenarios, like having a son, a child who grows up becomes a black man in this country. And like, you know, she talks about his seizures or inability to like, like, necessarily always track a conversation or understand what he’s being asked or like, control, like, all of his, like physicality, you know, like, I just, like, I really felt those moments, like, in my heart, just like for fear, and like, the heartbreaking thing is there perfectly reasonable fears to be having, you know, and of course, that’s where her mind is gonna go. And I just don’t want to, I just appreciated that, given how hard I’m sure it was to, like, have those thoughts and like, face that reality, and then also write about it again, in a way that’s going to reach people who don’t share your experience, who don’t have kids like yours, and not lose them. But I thought it was just like, really just an important and heartbreaking and very realistically thing to be worrying about. Yeah, I think it took a lot of bravery.

Traci Thomas 57:41
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think like to sum it up, since we’re pretty much out of time. Like, I think both of us the stuff that was the most compelling is like when she got really specific and like really let us in to what she was thinking and feeling even when it is less than, you know, politically correct. I don’t even know if people say that anymore. Like, like Bill Maher room, not for us. But I feel like to me that that’s where this book is, at its best is like when she is really dropped into letting us into her experiences. The last thing we always talk about is just title and cover. I have to say, I think this covers fucking gorgeous it is yeah, I mean, it just pops off my bookshelf every time I see it. I’m just I mean, I remember this book when it came out. I didn’t read it then. But I remember being like, whoa, what’s that about? And I think the title is great. This boy we made I think we can carry a lot of weight. Like who is the we? Is it society? Is that her her and her husband? Is it you know, medicine? Is it faith? Is it God? The subtitle I would have just added faith in there somewhere. I think that would have helped me, since it’s already such a long subtitle, why not throw another floater in there.

Nicole Chung 58:59
I didn’t even know what the subtitle was till you mentioned faith wasn’t in there. Like I think if you it’s not that I haven’t read it, but I never pay attention to memoir subtitles. And like both of mine are just subtitled A Memoir, which I prefer that.

Traci Thomas 59:10
I actually prefer that because we’re not there is a subtitle that I’m like, This is what I’m getting. But if you just put a memoir I’m like, Okay, it’s your life.

Nicole Chung 59:17
Let’s see. Yeah, I had to I think argue a little bit to get just a memoir was like the first book publishing loves a classification and to category as a sure do. I agree. I think the title is gorgeous. And I love how the outline of toasts like is like stars. And it reminds me of that line from the Clifton poem like star shining clay. Anyway, I think it’s really pretty and I’m not sure you Like I’d have to ask her but I think Taylor like had something to do with like making a couple of suggestions about the cover. I’m not sure maybe the color and I don’t want to say that and then be wrong. But yeah, the covers by Nicole Caputo and it’s really, really gorgeous. Um, yeah, I’m sure she considered other titles. I think sometimes titles the very last thing that you’re like, Yeah, settling on. But yeah,

Traci Thomas 1:00:09
I think I like the title. I think the title really works.

Nicole Chung 1:00:12
Yeah, it does make it seem much more like ptosis story. And then of course, as we talked about, it’s really her story. But it’s not a criticism. It’s just like, that’s what the title makes me think about. Right and then, like, you could then be surprised that it’s so much hers.

Traci Thomas 1:00:27
Yeah, that’s true. All so well, Nicole, this was so much fun. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you for talking about this book with us. Thank you for suggesting it.

Nicole Chung 1:00:36
Yeah, it’s my pleasure.

Traci Thomas 1:00:38
I’m really glad it worked out. And everyone else. Listen to the end of this episode to find out what our June book club pick will be. All right, Nicole, thank you. And everyone else, we’ll see you in the Stacks.

Alright, y’all, that does it for us today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you again to Nicole Chung for returning to the show. And a special thank you to Michael Thompkins for helping to make this conversation possible. And now our June book club announcement. We will be reading Oreo by Fran Ross. This book was released in 1974. And it’s a satirical tale of a biracial black and Jewish woman from Philadelphia. Listen next week to find out who our guests will be for our discussion on June 28. If you love the show and want insight access to it, head to patreon.com/the stacks and join The Stacks Pack. Make sure you’re subscribed to the stacks wherever you listen to your podcasts and if you’re listening through Apple podcast be sure to leave us a rating and a review. For more from the stacks follow us on social media at theStackspod on Instagram and Tiktok and at the sacks pod underscore on Twitter, and check out our website thestackspodcast.com This episode of The Stacks was edited by Christian Duenas with production assistance from Lauren Tyree. Our graphic designer is Robin MacWrite. The Stacks is created and produced by me Traci Thomas.

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