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“Touching.” (The New York Times

For fans of Humans of New York and PostSecret, a collection of raw, urgent, and heartfelt stories, shared anonymously. 

Helena Dea Bala was an exhausted and isolated DC lobbyist, suffocating under the weight of her student loan debt, when she decided to split her lunch with a man who often panhandled near her office. They chatted effortlessly as they ate; there were no half-truths or white lies, and no fear of judgment. Helena felt connected and unburdened in a way she hadn’t in years. 

Inspired, she posted an ad on Craigslist promising to listen, anonymously and for free, to whatever the speaker felt he or she couldn’t tell anyone else. Emails from people desperate to connect flooded her inbox, and she listened. Within months, Helena quit her job, deferred her loans, and dove into listening full time. 

The 40 first-person confessions in this book are vivid, intimate, and real; they range from devastating traumas, to lost loves, to reflections on hard choices. Some accounts are quotidian, like that of one increasingly estranged husband: “I want to feel that we’re not just roommates - that we’re not just waiting for the kids to grow up so that we can move on.” Others are deeply disconcerting, like that of a sex addict employed by a religious organization and several are heartening, like that of a mother who dares to hope that her daughter, born with life-threatening heart defects, will one day walk down the aisle: “Sometimes you need to have the audacity to believe that it will all be okay, that it is okay to have the same kinds of dreams as everyone else.” 

In its complex portrayal of the common human experience, Craigslist Confessional challenges us to explore the depths of our vulnerability and expand the borders of our empathy. 

©2020 Helena Dea Bala. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Au global
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  • Au global
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelly
  • 2020-09-16

compilation of sad stories

The best part of this book was in introduction, then went downhill from there. I struggled to finish it. listening to people vent and share their struggles is a kind deed, but reading a compilation of vents, complaints and struggles is a downer.

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • cindy henzel
  • 2020-07-20

Addictive

Some of these stories were really difficult, and what really got to me was the raw honesty & eloquence, the amount of pain people are willing to share in such vivid detail and lyrical prose. The narration was haunting. Sadly a common theme to these confessionals were mental illness with drug & alcohol dependency. Not an easy listen but riveting.