Saslow awakens our psychological immune system. He gets us to feel again ... There are a few brief moments in Saslow’s collection when the overwhelming emotions come from awe and gratitude rather than pain ... In his author’s note, Saslow writes that the stories offered him inspiration and perspective about how the pandemic was often overcome. They didn’t for me, because the world is still very much amid the global health crisis. The surge of infection and death continues. Perhaps, as we reflect on this blight in a decade’s time, the stories Saslow gathered will ground readers emotionally, evoking gratitude for the health and safety we’ll hopefully have in the future. But now, these stories terrify me. And that might be one of the greatest gifts this collection can offer us—the opportunity to feel what we have lately grown immune to feeling, and a compelling reason to do what we need to do to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe, healthy and alive.
Voices from the Pandemic offers numerous examples of the heartbreaking, infuriating and even inspiring ways COVID-19 has changed our world ... Reading a book like this in the midst of the delta variant’s surge may seem like a depressing pursuit, but it feels oddly cathartic. So many of the emotions and experiences are familiar. This collection is a reminder of how much we all share in common during a time of great loss ... a rich and valuable portrait of a confusing, frightening time in our history, even with that second question yet to be answered.
Presented one after the other, and uninterrupted, their stories do more than provide a patchwork portrait of the country: They also help correct the notion that, whatever your personal experience of the pandemic might have been, it was the only one ... this is a vital historical document of a year-plus that none of us will ever forget. An excellent resource full of well-rendered, memorable portraits of ordinary people enduring extraordinary circumstances.
... [a] fascinating oral history ... The breadth of Saslow’s reporting astonishes, as does the directness and vulnerability of his interview subjects. This powerful, unputdownable account should be required reading.