Another Great Episode From This American Life

I’ve become a This American Life convert. I anticipate listening to it every Monday, and am rarely disappointed. I always worry a little when the show’s host Ira Glass does not say “a show in three acts, three acts”. And instead, he says “we’re dedicating the entire hour today to…”. See, if the topic doesn’t interest me, that’s the whole show shot.

Last week’s episode was such a show. It was entitled Switched at Birth, and it was fantastic. Here’s the blurb:

On a summer day in 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The infants were accidentally switched, and went home with the wrong families. One of the mothers realized the mistake but chose to keep quiet. Until the day, more than 40 years later, when she decided to tell both daughters what happened. How the truth changed two families’ lives—and how it didn’t.

It’s an absolutely riveting show. It’s about nature vs. nurture, the big secrets in every family and the influence of the church on small town life. The producers just get everything right. They skillfully manage the large cast of characters in the two families. More importantly, the show is a classic example of radio at its best–it’s a story tailor made for the medium. Plus, it feels like a very American story. Which, of course, is what the name of the show promises.


  1. I think this is one of their best shows, it was amazing! So many ideas to process.

    I have a question about a small detail they mentioned – did anyone else think that perhaps sexual abuse was hinted when the show mentioned that the older girls barricaded
    their door at night? It wasn’t just a mattress blocking the door, but the armoire and hope chest. I thought that was a strange detail. Also, it sounded like Mr.Miller had some history of violence.

    Make sure you check out the TAL website for a photo of the Millers from the 50’s that was in Life magazine:

    Direct photo link:

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