The Leavers by Lisa Ko
3 words: sympathetic, character study, emotional
Wow. This book packs a serious emotional punch.
I first saw it on the “Penned & Picked by Patchett” shelf at Parnassus Books in Nashville. Ann Patchett had written a shelf talker about it, and I took note.
And then she wrote about it in an article about summer reading books, so I hustled it to the top of my TBR.
And I'm here to tell you: the story is pretty darn heart-wrenching. It’s about a pregnant teenager from China who comes to America, and her life is hard. I kept wanting her to catch a break, but the hard times just kept on coming. But the book felt realistic — none of the false happy coincidences that a lesser writer would offer.
There are two storylines here: the back story of Polly, the mother, and the current-day story of Deming, her son.
When working at a nail salon, Polly was swept up in a raid and sent back to China because she had arrived without the proper documents. And her 11-year-old son never knew what had happened to her. She simply vanished.
Deming was adopted by a white couple who renamed him “Daniel,” and they tried hard to give him a good life.
Everyone is trying, but usually they’re not succeeding. There are so many dashed hopes here, yet everyone’s doing the best they can.
After reading this book, you’re going to want to discuss it. (If you can’t find someone IRL, come back here and leave a comment, and we’ll chat!)
Give this book a whirl if you like… reading about cross-cultural adoption, complicated and troubled lives, immigration, the Chinese-American experience, musicians
What book are you aching to discuss?