Andrea Morningstar tells the story of a ten-year-old girl from small town Michigan named Sarah York, and how she became pen pals with a man who was considered an enemy of the United States, a dictator, a drug trafficker, and a murderer: Manuel Noriega.
We hear kids recorded at Chicago's Navy Pier and at a public swimming pool, talking about their mean friends. Host Ira Glass interviews Lillie Allison, 15, about the pretty, popular girls who were her best friends—until they cast her out.
Jonathan Goldstein interrogates the girls, now grown up, who terrorized him and his classmates years ago in school—and finds they can be just as scary as ever. Jonathan Goldstein is the author of the novel Lenny Bruce is Dead.
Host Ira Glass talks with Paul Feig, who as a sixth-grader, at the urging of his father, actually read the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. What he found was that afterwards, he had a bleaker understanding of human nature—and even fewer friends than when he started.
David Sedaris has this instructive tale of how, as a boy, with the help of his dad, he tried to bridge the chasm that divides the popular kid from the unpopular...with the sorts of results that perhaps you might anticipate.
What happens when the kid next door wants to be your new friend...and comes over, tries to talk to you, befriends your dog. Are you a bad person if you don't want to accept the tiny hand of friendship? Cheryl Wagner tells the story of her young, persistent next-door neighbor.
What happens if the immigration service wants to deport you, but the country you came from won't take you back? Under current law, usually, you stay in jail...indefinitely. Writer Alex Kotlowitz tells the story of one legal alien from Vietnam, Trung Tran, and the unusually close and friendly relationships he and his fellow deportees have with their captors in a jail in Victoria, Texas.
What can happen if a sibling relationship doesn't ever change. Hillary Frank brings us the story of two sisters, now in their seventies, who have preserved the same relationship they had as girls...for better or worse.
There's little in adult life that can hurt as much as a character assassination attack when it happens in junior high school. We hear the story of how one boy organizes the entire school against his former best friend, a guy named Bob Cucuzza.
Sean Cole visits Chad's Trading Post in Southampton, Massachussetts. One person who works there wears a shirt that says "Chad's Brother;" other shirts say "Chad's Best Friend," "Chad's Cousin," "Chad's Father." Pictures of Chad are everywhere.
Since the high school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, parents and teachers are looking for warning signs that the children in their lives might suddenly strike out. But the dividing line between normal childhood aggression and social pathology can be hard to spot.
In this act we hear two stories of people who stumbled upon a place where they instantly and instinctively felt more at home than in their real homes. Stephen Dubner, author of the memoir Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, talks about an encounter with a Jewish man named Irving that changed his life.
When Adam and Jamie were kids, Jamie would always ask for Adam's advice, but he didn't want to hear what Adam would say himself. Instead, he wanted Adam to pretend to be an Israeli commando he once knew, named Yakov.