Review posted August 13, 2016.
St. Martin's Press, New York, 2015. 428 pages.
I loved Brandon Stanton’s first book, Humans of New York. Now I love his second book even more. In the first book, about half of the photographs had captions. In this book, he interviewed everyone, and includes snippets or in-depth stories from those interviews.
You still have high quality photographs of random people, in all their variety, from the streets of New York. But you’ve also got their stories.
Honestly, some of these stories will break your heart. Others will make you shake your head. Some are inspirational. Some are simply cute. There were several with the caption “Today in microfashion,” showing a small child dressed in a striking outfit.
What comes home to me after reading it is the sheer number of amazingly unique people on our planet (let alone in New York!).
Many of the stories go on for paragraphs. This isn’t as quick a read as the first book. However, I’ll quote a small selection of some tantalizingly short captions to give you an idea. Imagine wonderful photos of the people doing the talking.
“I’ve got what I want. I’ve got a place to live, a girlfriend, and a child. My biggest struggle is just figuring out how to maintain.”
“I spoil every girl I’m with. I’m bringing this dog to my girlfriend now. I’ve already gotten her a snake, a rabbit, and two dogs. She loves animals. She wants to be a vet.”
“Sometimes, when I’m going home to see her, I think: ‘Nobody should be this happy on a Tuesday.’”
“I went to a psychic the day before I met him. She told me I was about to meet the woman of my dreams. I said: ‘I’m gay.’”
“Had cancer six times. Beat cancer six times.”
“Three thousand years ago I had a disagreement with Zeus about the Trojan War, and he’s been harassing me ever since.”
“I’ve completed a series of monumental-sized drawings in ballpoint pen of girls who’ve killed their mothers.”
“It’s hard to adjust. You’re reading a story to your daughters every night, then the next thing you know, you’re only doing it once or twice a week. It’s been hard letting go. It all happened without my consent. It only takes one person to want a divorce. And that person wasn’t me.”
“She helps me with my math homework. When I run out of fingers to count on, she lets me use her fingers, too.”
“I once crash-landed a plane in a desert in Tunisia. I wasn’t even the pilot. The pilot got hysterical and I had to grab the controls.”
Reading this book is a wonderful way to celebrate the amazing diversity of humans.