Helena Dea Bala was exhausted and found herself isolated even though she was surrounded by people. One day, she decides to escape outside to take a break and finds herself splitting her lunch with a man who panhandles near her office. The pair chatted like old friends while they were eating. They were honest and open with each other as they didn't fear judgment. After their conversation, Helena felt free and connected in a way she hasn't felt in years.
Inspired to help others, she posts an ad on Craiglist promising to listen to anyone anonymously for free. The speaker was allowed to talk freely without having any fear. They told secrets that they weren't able to share with anyone including loved ones. Helena wasn't expecting much responses to come in but, she was surprised when her inbox was flooded with requests from people who were desperate to connect. She decided to defer her student loans, quit her job, and spend her time listening.
The book is a collection of forty people telling a moment in their lives that defined them. Some stories were heart warming and inspiring while, some were sad. I did find a few stories boring or disgusting (one person confessed to drinking his own pee) and I had to skip their story. While reading the book, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into someone's life and sometimes, I wish I knew more. I felt though at times, that the author or person might have embellished their story because it felt "too perfect" or "out there" to be true. However, after reading the book I been trying to be more understanding, empathetic, and patient with people.