read a 2010 pulitzer winner — maybe

Today the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes were announced, and I was very pleased to see that one of the most remarkable stories in my recent memory was among the winners: a feature by the Washington Post‘s Gene Weingarten.

I had actually been contemplating recommending this story for Weekly Reading, but I kept hesitating, and here’s why. The piece, about the handful of parents each year who accidentally leave an infant in a car to die, literally haunted me for days after I read it. Even now, when I’m reminded of it, I have a hard time shaking it off. To say it’s disturbing is an enormous understatement. You will not be the same after reading this story, particularly if you are a parent or hope to be someday.

So I recommend reading it with reservations. But I do want to endorse it as an exceptional piece of journalism. It takes a circumstance that is easily (and perhaps self-protectively) dismissed as negligent or criminal, and asks uncomfortable questions about who this happens to, why and how we process it. And if it’s this difficult to read, I can’t imagine how the reporting of it has marked the writer. (He gives some hint of it here.) The award is richly deserved.

On a lighter note, I was thrilled to see another musical — the first since Rent in 1996 — awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Congrats to Next to Normals creators.

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