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The Leavers: A Novel by Lisa Ko
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The Leavers: A Novel

by Lisa Ko

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ALMOST 5 stars. I really enjoyed this. It comes from a perspective so different from my own, and it was written so interestingly. Deming and his mother's relationship was so fascinating to watch. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
A very moving story of an illegal immigrant (Chinese) mother an the son born to her in the U.S. The reader gets the back story of how the mother, Polly, came to arrive in NYC and work at a nail salon. Polly and her son (Deming) lived with Polly's boyfriend, his sister and her son. As is usually the case with immigrant families, they are very tight knit. But then one day Polly goes to work and never comes home. Deming is eventually turned over to social services an adopted by a couple of college professors who live in rural NY. Throughout the book, the voices of Polly and Deming are alternated and we learn of what transpires in the ensuing 10 or so years. Deming did not know what happened to his mother and was scarred from her disappearance and his adoption by a Caucasian couple. It's a wonderful story of his coming of age and finding his mother and himself. Heartbreaking, sad, funny, I felt many emotions reading it but it was quite unlike anything I have ever read before and I highly recommend it. ( )
  bogopea | Nov 13, 2018 |
This is a book of bad decisions and unrealistic expectations. The novel centers a Chinese mother and son. She comes to the United Stated illegally and tries to fashion a here. There is a big build up till mother and son are separated. The other theme is about when the son (now older) goes on a quest to find his mother and find out why his mother abandoned him. This issue seems to force him into making into really poor decisions and leave him goalless life (except finding mom) The book is well written and deserves all the plaudits it has received, Read the book. Don's listen to it on CD as the narrator is a drama queen. ( )
  muddyboy | Oct 29, 2018 |
Anytime a book makes me gasp out loud as a major revelation becomes clear, I know it's a good one. This novel was beautifully written, often heartbreaking, and so very honest in its depiction of difficult relationships. The Leavers is a standout from start to finish. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Oct 21, 2018 |
I thought I would like this book a lot more than I did. After all it won 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction. A lot of the reviews I read said it depicted life for immigrants fairly well. If so, I am a fortunate person. But I didn't like the characters that well. They were so unlikable. It took me a week and a half to read because I wasn't compelled to keep picking the book back up. ( )
  kayanelson | Aug 22, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Like the sea, I am recommended by my orphaning. 
Noisy with telegrams not received,
quarrelsome with aliases,
intricate with misguided journeys,
by my expulsions have I come to love you.
--Li-Young Lee, "The City in Which I Love You"
Dedication
Sin Yao Tai
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The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, the Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past"--… (more)

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