Vanessa Willoughby

The opioid epidemic has ravaged the nation and claimed the lives of thousands. How did we, as a nation, get to this point? How did the medical practice of “pain management” become a for-profit scheme conducted by pharmaceutical companies seeking to keep addicts as repeat customers?

Charlotte Bismuth’s Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher provides detailed insight into how America’s opioid problem can be pinned not to a single moment or person but to the negligence of systems intended to improve vulnerable people's lives, and to the indifference of people in positions of power within that system. Rather than placing the blame on a definitive cause, this knowledgeable account emphasizes overarching systemic failures, rooted in the greed of those who are meant to “do no harm.”

Bismuth, a graduate of Columbia Law School and a former prosecutor, describes the case of Dr. Stan Xuhui Li, the first doctor in New York state charged for and convicted of homicide based on the overdose deaths of his patients. Bismuth joined the New York County District Attorney’s Office in 2008 as an appellate attorney, and in 2010 she transferred to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. In December of that year, the office received a tip from an NYPD detective about a physician who was “prescribing medication to young kids who don’t need it.” Bismuth was asked to dig into the complaint, which kicked off her yearslong journey of bringing Li to justice.

The doctor, who was based in New Jersey and employed as an anesthesiologist at a teaching hospital, had opened a basement clinic in Flushing, Queens, that soon became a popular pill mill. Li was found to have written prescriptions for patients even after concerned family members begged him to stop. And though he didn't physically force patients to abuse their medications, Li’s actions, or rather lack of actions, contributed to the overdose deaths of 16 patients, “some within a few days, some within a month or a few months; others within a year” of their last meeting with Li at his office.

Bismuth writes in the author’s note that her book “does not purport to be a journalistic overview” but “a memoir from the trenches.” Told in nonchronological order, Bad Medicine isn't a stuffy, detached reenactment of the trial. Bismuth provides the necessary background to contextualize the opioid crisis, the evolution of related laws and the requirements of legal procedures, but she also shares the personal chaos that influenced her courtroom battle, including the breakdown of her marriage and contentious divorce, the demands of parenting and the crushing dread of depression and anxiety.

Some readers may wonder why the narrative switches focus from chapter to chapter, hopping from the nitty-gritty aspects of building a case to reflections on the author's inability to live up to her own expectations in her personal life, but the overall result shows Bismuth’s commitment to a higher calling. Bismuth came to know the victims’ surviving relatives as well as the deceased themselves. She portrays Li not as a doctor who cared too much or trusted his patients to a fault but as someone who had all the right educational training and chose to keep endangering his patients anyway—whose apathy and need for financial gain overruled his sacred duty as a doctor.

The greatest strength of the book is the author’s ability to break down the legal jargon of the court system and the prosecution’s evidentiary path to conviction. The text links each piece of evidence in a clear path to confirm Li’s self-serving motivations, despite the jumps in the timeline. Bismuth humanizes Li’s patients and does not pass judgment on their substance abuse problems.

For readers who prefer more of a straightforward nonfiction account that centers on the scientific data rather than the messiness of the human condition, Bismuth’s work may be too close to the bone. However, Bismuth does not claim to offer the final authoritative take on the opioid epidemic but instead provides one important piece of the puzzle.

Charlotte Bismuth provides detailed insight into how America’s opioid problem can be pinned not to a single moment or person but to the negligence of systems intended to improve vulnerable people's lives, and to the indifference of people in positions of power within that system.

In 2013, the phrase “Black girls are magic” was introduced to subvert the dehumanizing narrative attached to Black girls and women. The phrase, originally credited to feminist writer Cashawn Thompson, became the viral hashtag #BlackGirlMagic. Embraced by celebrities and public figures, such as Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg, singer-songwriter Solange Knowles and singer-songwriter and actress Janelle Monáe, the mantra is intended to uplift Black femmes in a society that maintains systemic racism and violence to oppress marginalized people.

Yet Shayla Lawson, the director of creative writing at Amherst College and author of three poetry collections, seeks to look beyond the notion that Black girls are magic. This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope not only spotlights the nuances of Black womanhood but also rejects the claim that their power is rooted in an inherently superhuman or supernatural disposition.

Navigating the world as a Black girl means being simultaneously seen and not seen. Lawson examines how the private inner lives of Black girls are routinely misconstrued, misunderstood and vilified by the institution of whiteness. The work’s dedication page shares this Toni Morrison quote: “Racists always try to make you think they are the majority, but they never are.” Morrison was not afraid of speaking her truth, even if it meant losing the favor of white literary critics and readers. As witnessed in her famous interview with Charlie Rose, Morrison had no interest in writing for a white audience. Lawson, like Morrison, is not attempting to explain Blackness or Black girlhood to white people. Consequently, her self-reflection is not a means to make Blackness more palpable for the white gaze.

In the collection’s opening essay, “You Are Here,” Lawson invokes a wide range of creative ingenuity: Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Josephine Baker, SZA, Simone Biles, Janet Jackson and more. Lawson calls upon these influential women to highlight their brilliance, resilience and ability to thrive in a world determined to cut them down. These women are very different, but they all prove one monumental truth: There is no one “right” way to be a Black girl. We are able to take on many forms; we can resurrect ourselves.

Yet, despite a Black girl’s ability to transform, this does not mean we are otherworldly. In “Black Girl Magic,” Lawson notes, “Black Girl Magic relies upon a white conception of supernatural blackness in order to make girls special.” Thompson’s movement “focused on Black Girl Magic as a state of being” and is significant, but its social media-friendly version “makes black girlhood a commodiity, a list of attributes you don’t have to be us to reproduce.” Black girls are magic, but Black Girl Magic “doesn’t set us free.”

Notably, freedom is a topic that is explored repeatedly throughout Lawson’s essays: What does it mean to be free? What does freedom cost? How do Black girls get free? And once you get free, how do you stay free? Whether she’s discussing the politics of Twitter popularity, the pitfalls of interracial dating, the ever-shifting cultural definition of “black” or the reality of gentrification, Lawson is a master of her craft. Her keen poetic sensibilities sharpen topics that may seem amorphous or expansive. She doesn’t present herself as the representative of all Black girls, but she seamlessly blends deeply personal memories with overarching moments in history and pop culture. The result is a sense of familiarity between the writer and the Black women who pick up this book.

Near the end of the book, the essay “Diana Ross Is Major” dissects the musical and cultural legacy of the Supremes frontwoman. Lawson uses the black-and-white image of Diana Ross enjoying a rib in her hometown of Bessemer, Alabama, as a structural bookend. The photo, taken in 1997 by Ruven Afanador, captures the singer in a silky slip dress and fur-accented shawl, hair done in a voluminous Afro, the rib stripped to the bone. Lawson contemplates how Ross not only broke barriers but also offered an unprecedented and radical vision of Black femininity. Racial caricatures of Black women have always relied on the assumption that Black women cannot be soft. These tropes portray a Black woman’s strength as brute aggression: the Angry Black Woman, the Strong Black Woman, the Sapphire. Additionally, a Black woman’s sexuality is seen as deviant or immoral, as evidenced by the hypersexuality of the Jezebel stereotype. The Mammy, another trope that can be traced back to Hattie McDaniel’s character in Gone With the Wind, is subservient, a devalued matriarch whose selflessness is born out of fierce loyalty to everyone but herself. None of these roles cast Black girls as worthy of protection or tenderness. Lawson argues, “Ross made black women visible in a time when we weren’t seen at all, and definitely not in our entirety.” When we think of “major” Black women changemakers, you can’t include someone like Nina Simone without someone like Diana Ross.

In This Is Major, Lawson doesn’t aim to provide all the answers, but the journey is certainly commendable, real and undeniably striking. Lawson’s voice can be smooth like honey or cut to the quick. This essay collection is a necessary study of self-enlightenment and the unique power of Black girls: We contain multitudes. And while it’s forever imitated but never duplicated, our influence reaches beyond expectations, moving like water.

Shayla Lawson, the director of creative writing at Amherst College and author of three poetry collections, seeks to look beyond the notion that Black girls are magic. This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope not only spotlights the nuances of Black womanhood but also rejects the claim that their power is rooted in an inherently superhuman or supernatural disposition.

A wise rap group from Staten Island once delivered a succinct definition of post-Reaganomics economic theory: “Cash rules everything around me.” For many millennials, student loan debt is a source of shame, anger and disappointment—a false bill of goods created by a broken system using the manipulation tactics of a seasoned multilevel marketing company. According to Forbes, student loan debt in 2020 shows no signs of slowing down; there’s a reported “45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S.” Echoing the sentiments of many people in author Michael Arceneaux’s age group, I Don’t Want to Die Poor is a candid study of the hydra-like power of student loan debt and, as a result, the rising cost of freedom.

Arceneaux, a 2007 Howard University grad, is not looking for pity. Rather, this collection argues that what is truly pitiful is the state of our country’s education system, wherein higher learning, like health insurance and its associated medical expenses, can sentence already disadvantaged people to further hardship. In terms of Arceneaux’s own student loan debt, the book is a reminder that privilege always grants access to opportunity. Essays cover the pitfalls of the gig economy; the crushing impact of debt on mental, emotional and physical health; living up to cultural, societal, familial and personal expectations; the crutch of self-serving coping mechanisms; and capitalism’s ability to commodify the basic need for human connection.

Arceneaux is as entertaining as he is insightful. While pop culture references come fast and furious (the Real Housewives franchise, “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” Carrie Bradshaw, various R&B starlets and 90s chanteuses, vernacular and slang familiar to habitual browsers of Black Twitter, etc.), they don’t distract or take away from the overall narrative themes. In less skilled hands, the humor could feel forced and repetitious. However, Arceneaux found his voice online, having carved out a space where both vulnerability and nuanced critical thinking work together to reflect on the contradictions of our world. His voice is as familiar as that ride or die friend who isn’t afraid of your mistakes and has stuck around without judgment.

In the essay “Shrinkage,” Arceneaux writes, “You have to be able to afford choice. Happiness is expensive.” What do we lose when we let fear rule our life—the fear inspired by money and the lack thereof, the nightmarish anxiety induced by failing to conquer capitalism’s twisted labyrinth? We dehumanize ourselves. We begin to believe that our worth is dependent upon our gross net, that our value is determined by how far our money can go. Arceneaux’s essays are a reminder that debt (particularly for the generation of young people who graduated on the heels of the 2008 recession) is not indicative of one’s character. As he advises in the title essay, “Learn to forgive yourself.” Student loan debt is not a death sentence but an indictment of broken systems and the unjust, corrupt institutions that keep them alive.

Echoing the sentiments of many people in author Michael Arceneaux’s age group, I Don’t Want to Die Poor is a candid study of the hydra-like power of student loan debt and, as a result, the rising cost of freedom.

What comes to mind when you picture a mother? For many people, the concept of motherhood, and by extension of a family, is associated with whiteness. We spoke with Nefertiti Austin about her memoir, Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America, the reality of Black women looking to publicly adopt and how she settled into her identity as a Black mother without appeasing societal or cultural expectations.

Your book discusses not only your personal experience of becoming a single parent but the absence of positive representation of Black motherhood. How can Black motherhood be a radical act?

The fact that Black women continue to pursue motherhood despite our history in America is definitely a radical act. Brought here in chains, we were property and so were our children, but we persevered. Even when we were denied access to our kids or forced to nurse and nurture white children, we created a village of grandparents, elders, siblings, neighbors and friends who became family to keep our kids safe. At every juncture, we have laid claim to our offspring, whether or not we gave birth to them, knowing that slavery, segregation, discrimination, criminalization, sexism, homophobia, racism and erasure are no match for a Black mom’s love. 


What is the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while on the journey to adopt your son, August? How was this self-revelation different from your experience adopting your daughter, Cherish?

Before becoming a mother, I never considered giving up my free-spirited ways. I was accustomed to coming and going as I pleased, but once the decision to adopt took hold, I realized that I was ready for a more routine-driven existence. Overnight, my life expanded to include carpool, sports and family time; and I was good with that. When my daughter came along, she easily blended into the mix.


One of Toni Morrison’s many nuggets of wisdom includes the quote, “The very serious function of racism . . . is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work.” How do racism and, by extension, the white gaze prevent Black mothers from simply being mothers?

Though Black motherhood has often been diminished, we are still mothers. Racism makes our jobs harder because it adds another layer of stress and worry about the emotional and physical safety of our children, but it doesn’t stop us from teaching our kids to tie their shoes. We are primarily focused on loving and caring for our families and less concerned with the white gaze, unless it interferes with their welfare. Then, you will hear from us.


What was the most challenging part of writing your memoir? Did having a blog make it easier to assemble and write a full-length book?

The most challenging part of writing my memoir was being vulnerable. In order to share my story and convey the sensitivity that I feel as a Black mother raising Black children in America, I had to shed layers. I had to remove my academic hat and be open to divulge how I felt different from my peers as a child, to discuss my father’s persistent incarceration and accept that I didn’t know my mother in an intimate sense.

I definitely thought my now-defunct blog, Mommiejonesing, would make writing my memoir a breeze. I had assembled a lot of articles written by others and myself on the subject of race, motherhood and adoption. I was armed with information but no feelings beyond outrage and disgust. Plus, I was writing from a distance, and that would have kept the reader from understanding the problem of erasing Black mothers from the parenting canon. In the end, much of what I blogged about did not make it into the book.


Your book opens with you taking 5-year-old August to a Black Lives Matter rally. You discuss the very real mixture of fear and anxiety that comes with being a mother to a young Black boy in America. How does white privilege contribute to and sustain the accelerated loss of innocence for Black children?

White privilege gifts white children with a shield that blots out the ugliness of the world. They get to be kids, where mistakes are encouraged and then forgiven. They get to live moment to moment without fear that someone hates/fears/despises them because of their race. This is the power of white privilege.

Simultaneously, Black parents do not have the luxury of not teaching our children about the perniciousness of racism and how, despite best efforts, microagressions and random acts of discrimination will come their way. Our children learn to code switch (act one way with us and another way with whites) and what to do if detained by the police or surveilled by merchants—early. These lessons—i.e., innocence-snatchers—occur as early as 5 years old, because white privilege perpetuates a system with the deck stacked against us. These are our gifts to Black children to keep them safe.


In the chapter “Building My Village,” you write, “It had never occurred to me that there was an expectation for little boys to adhere to a specific masculine salutation.” How does the myth of Black hypermasculinity work in conjunction with toxic masculinity? And how can it finally become obsolete?

Personal and emotional safety is a huge issue in our community. Showing fear can be death in some spaces, so emotion or affection between men is not promoted. However, expecting boys to remain in a man box, where not showing emotion or admitting to hurt and acting like nothing touches them, is heralded as masculine and is extremely problematic. It is toxic and a recipe for a shortened life, troubled relationships and mental illness. Plus, it plays into the stereotype of the hypermasculine Black man who needs to be put down by force. We saw this in the case of Rodney King.

As long as systemic racism, mass incarceration, gangs, drugs, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, poor health, undiagnosed PTSD and undereducation prevail where the opposite is true for their white counterparts, Black toxic masculinity isn’t going anywhere.


One of the most pervasive stereotypes about Black women is the “Strong Black Woman.” In the chapter “Got My Sea Legs,” you say, “More than one friend commented that I made parenting look easy, but part of the reason I was exploring on my blog how Black women were faring as mothers was because I was feeling the weight of trying to do everything myself.” For Black mothers, especially single Black mothers, how is there power in the decision to be vulnerable?

Self-care is empowering, and we have to give ourselves permission to ask for help. We are so used to doing everything ourselves that we don’t know how to ask for help or we think that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness or admission that single motherhood was a mistake. So we put pressure on ourselves to just handle things and succumb to the societal pressure of being all things to everybody. Most women, regardless of race, take care of the children, elders and work. It’s too much, and the reality is that Black women’s mental and physical health are taking a nosedive. Heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are taking their toll on us in a big way. We suffer when we don’t take care of ourselves or each other.


How can a sense of community benefit adoptive parents? How does it shape the identity of a foster or adopted child?

Adoption communities offer a safe space for families and children. Here, we do not need to prepare an explanation for why we chose adoption. It is understood that we wanted to become parents and viewed adoption as a natural path to achieve that goal.

Kids who spend time with other kids who are adopted see their experience as normal. Among kindred spirits, they can safely share how it feels to be the only adopted child in their class, or how they met their first parents and it went well or didn’t go well. In these spaces, they do not carry the burden of explaining why they don’t look like their (adoptive) parents or why they do look like their parents but are adopted. It frees them to enjoy life as part of a special club.


How do you think the definition of a family has changed in recent years? How has the idea of a “traditional” family excluded marginalized people, especially single Black mothers?

Modern American women are free to define and create family on their terms. We have moved away from believing that a nuclear family—father, mother, 2.5 kids and a dog—is the only way to be a family. Women are less likely to be shamed for having a job or wanting to stay at home with their children. The definition of family has even expanded to include single moms, adoptive families, LGBTQIA family configurations, kinship family dynamics and mixed-raced couples.

Depending on the socioeconomics of a community, sometimes the traditional paradigm of a family was not modeled or available due to poverty, racism, incarceration, unemployment, homelessness, etc. Also, many Black families are multigenerational, with grandparents or other relatives on hand to support the entire household. Our nontraditional familial configurations deem us marginal by mainstream standards, even when we do not.

In the case of white women willing to go it alone and bring a child into the world without a partner, she is often described as badass in mainstream culture. This nod to the independence of white women does not always extend to poor women or women of color. The reason is simple. Black mothers exist at the bottom of the racialized motherhood totem pole, as we are still saddled with negative stereotypes if we’re thought of at all. There are obvious exceptions—Michelle Obama and Serena Williams come to mind—but these ladies are married and have the means to provide stable homes for their families. Single Black women who pursue nontraditional paths to parenthood receive a side-eye from Blacks and whites. It is assumed that homes headed by single Black mothers are poorer, less intellectually stimulating and a breeding ground for children who are prone to delinquency. This racist characterization of single Black mothers suggests that our kids don’t stand a chance.   


What has been your favorite Mother’s Day to date?

Mother’s Day 2014 was my hands down favorite because it was the first Mother’s Day I had with both kids. Their godfather and a close friend made brunch: salmon croquettes and waffles, two things I don’t normally eat. No one bothered to ask if I liked either dish, but the effort let me know that I was appreciated.


What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received? On the flip side, what has been the worst, and if applicable, how has it revealed the conscious and/or unconscious racial bias of the speaker?

The best advice I have received is to put my oxygen mask on first. Self-care is critical to my being the best mother possible, and every day I strive to make myself a priority.

The worst advice was that my future baby from the foster care system would be a “crack” baby. The speaker believed the 1990s media frenzy about how the first parents who used crack cocaine would produce babies who would not thrive, would be sickly, would have physical and developmental delays and grow up to be criminals. Of course, this was nonsense, and research later confirmed that foster children who were drug exposed and then placed in stable homes showed no academic or developmental differences by third grade. It all came down to children having a safe, loving and stable home environment. Sadly, this bad advice was not a function of racist unconscious basis but media-sponsored fear and misinformation run amok.


If you could go back and do one thing differently during your adoption journey, would you? And if so, what would it be and why?

My adoption journey had peaks and valleys, but the outcome was two healthy, sweet children. I wouldn’t change a thing.


How do you think the foster and adoptive system can be improved in the U.S.?

One way to improve the foster and adoptive system is to hire additional social workers and reduce their caseloads. Smaller caseloads would serve three purposes: (1) individualized support for first parents, who often unconsciously repeat their own cycles of abuse and neglect and lose custody of their children; (2) better screenings for prospective foster/adoptive parents when family reunification is no longer feasible; and (3) the ability for social workers to really bond with children on their caseload, in order to find the best matches for them.


Do you envision August and/or Cherish reading your memoir when they’re older? What is the most important thing you hope they take away from the book?

Absolutely. August has already tried to read it, but I keep taking it from him. LOL

I hope they know how much I love and admire them. I did my best to make their journeys easier and hope they remember to pay it forward.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of Motherhood So White.

Author photo by Bobby Quillard

We spoke with Nefertiti Austin about her memoir, Motherhood So White, and how she settled into her identity as a Black mother without appeasing societal expectations.

In her memoir, Motherhood So White, Nefertiti Austin provides valuable firsthand insight into what it means to be a black single mother and to reject the constraints of societal expectations.

When Austin decided to adopt her son, August, a black boy placed in the California foster care system, she was met with criticism and disbelief, especially from her own family. They couldn’t understand why she wanted to legally adopt a stranger, an outsider. For many black people, adoption is a cultural custom reserved for white people, unless you had “a connection with that child, even a tenuous one.”

As a child, Austin’s grandparents provided stability and guidance while her parents drifted in and out of her life. Her own adoptive experience had shown her that families, especially black families, didn’t need to be limited to the traditional expectations of one mother and one father, or to the demands of the white gaze.

When she decided to become a mother at 36, Austin had to first become a foster parent, as decreed by California state law. This journey, which eventually resulted in adoption, was not without trials and tribulations. Not only did she face the daily challenges of newfound motherhood, she also had to contend with America’s legacy of systemic racism and discrimination, which renders black mothers either as invisible or as tropes in a dehumanizing narrative.

Austin’s memoir is a natural response to both the erasure of black mothers and the dismissive and demeaning misrepresentation of black motherhood. She relays her experiences with equal parts candor and consideration, careful not to paint communities or motherhood with broad brushstrokes as she dismantles the notion that all “real” families must look and act alike. Motherhood So White is a testament to the power of love as a radical act and an urgent call to reclaim motherhood from institutionalized whiteness.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our interview with Nefertiti Austin, author of Motherhood So White.

In her memoir, Motherhood So White, Nefertiti Austin provides valuable firsthand insight into what it means to be a black single mother and to reject the constraints of societal expectations. When Austin decided to adopt her son, August, a black boy placed in the California foster care system, she was met with criticism and disbelief, […]

The invention of the internet is a double-edged sword: The ease and instantaneous nature of advanced technology have guided the evolution of modern communication as much as they’ve given power to the predators lurking in the unsavory corners of the web. Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls is a timely work that combines the vulnerability of personal experience and the researched, fact-based reporting of nonfiction.

Goldberg, a victims’ rights attorney based in Brooklyn, doesn’t just empathize with the pain and trauma of her clients; she has firsthand understanding of the hell that a perpetrator can inflict on someone’s life. She writes, “Some people call me ‘a passionate advocate’ or a ‘social justice warrior.’ I’d rather be called a ruthless motherfucker.” Before founding her own law firm in 2014, she was battling a deranged ex-boyfriend who had made it his mission to make her “pay” for ending their relationship. His love and adoration seemed to quickly dissolve into the obsessive need for control. The breakup pulled back the curtain and revealed a man who had declared psychological war: spamming Goldberg’s inbox and phone with threatening and violent messages, filing a false police report and harassing her friends and family. The ex-boyfriend’s campaign of terror lasted for a year. And while it had been a harrowing period of time, Goldberg realized a new purpose: becoming an advocate for victims, the advocate she wished she’d had in her corner while dealing with her ex.

Goldberg’s writing is especially compelling when she focuses on specific clients she has helped. There is no such thing as a “standard” victim; the individuals mentioned in the book hail from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, geographical locations and genders. While these clients are certainly victims of the vindictive acts of offenders, whom Goldberg classifies as “psychos, pervs, assholes, and trolls,” she doesn’t frame their misfortunes as signs of character weakness or indicators of personal fault. When Macie, a 17-year-old girl, and her mother wanted to hire Goldberg following a schoolwide leak of the daughter’s intimate photos to her then-boyfriend, Goldberg didn’t shame her. On the contrary, Goldberg was truly angry—angry at the boyfriend for violating Macie’s privacy and trust and angry at the gender-biased judgment of the school administration, who decided to punish Macie and not the boy.

While her tone is more conversational than rigidly academic, Goldberg provides solid research to supplement her anecdotes. An important, harrowing look into the dark underbelly of the internet, this book sheds light on the mistreatment of victims and on the society and justice system that often fail them.

Nobody’s Victim is a timely work about sexual harassment that combines the vulnerability of personal experience and the researched, fact-based reporting of nonfiction.

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