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Prologue

Producer David Kestenbaum explains how teachers at his sons’ preschool installed a “tattle phone” where kids could register their complaints about each other. David rigged it up to record those complaints and document the unfairnesses of preschool.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass reads an excerpt from Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. The narrator, Will, recalls a time when he was a child that he convinced a friend that a portal to another world existed at the back of his closet.

Act One: The Disappearance

Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.

Prologue

When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to two different people who have stories they just can't get over...stories that make them cringe...and stories from which we can glean what makes a cringe story different from other kinds of stories.

Act Three: Oedipus Hex

Shalom Auslander reads his true story, "The Blessing Bee." It's about the time when, as a third-grader at an Orthodox Jewish school, Shalom saw his chance to both make his mom proud, and push his drunken father out of the picture. Part of his scheme involved winning the school's bee on the complicated Hebrew blessings you say before eating certain foods.