In and out of prison, in and out of homes and shelters for the homeless, in and out of employment, romance and poverty - the women and the children compile families, support systems, from whatever material they find at hand, for however long it lasts. The men drift, domineer and disappear. It's absolutely another world, and yet, of course, it's yours, with the bass and treble turned up. There are no authorial intrusions, no judgements, no visible steering and so this story reads like a novel, an old-fashioned novel that is all character, dialogue and plot, albeit one whose subject matter would have made even Mrs Gaskell stutter.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has written for the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, the Village Voice and Elle. She was a non-fiction fellow at Radclyffe's Bunting Institute.