An Almost Perfect Guy

Air date: 
Thursday, June 5, 2003
This piece was a part of a series, Stories of Love, produced by Alex along with Amy Drozdowska. It aired on WBEZ.

Janice Powell met and married Nate, the love of her life, in 1972. And he was just perfect, except when he drank. Alcohol transformed him. From a gentle soul who would bring Janice roses, to an angry, sometimes raging man. But love can have a way of working itself out. A few years into their marriage, Nate was arrested for robbing a utility company, and was sent to prison for eight years. As it turns out, Nate’s eight years in prison were precious to Janice.


Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart.

Separated by a river, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor are two Michigan towns that are geographically close, yet worlds apart. St. Joseph is a prosperous, predominately white lakeshore community while Benton Harbor is impoverished and predominately black. When the body of Eric McGinnis, a black teenage boy from Benton Harbor, is found in the river that separates the towns, relations between the two communities grow increasingly strained as longheld misperceptions and attitudes surface. 

There Are No Children Here chronicles two years in the lives of two boys, Lafeyette and Pharoah, struggling to survive in Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex disfigured by crime and neglect. 

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