The Leavers

The Leavers

by Lisa Ko

Overview: Eleven-year-old Deming and his mother Polly are reunited after Deming arrives from China where Polly sent him when he was a baby to be cared for by his grandfather. Polly promises Deming they won’t be separated again, but one morning, Polly leaves for the nail salon where she works and never comes home. Ten years pass and Deming is now named Daniel Wilkinson. Feeling the pain of abandonment all those years, Daniel decides to pursue links that will lead him to solve the mystery of of his disappearing birth mother. Will Polly and Daniel reunite?

Lisa Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, tells the harrowing story of immigrant mother and son who had to be separated in order to pursue the American Dream.

Faith Bowers (09/07/18): This is a more modern immigration novel that is worth reading. It is written in the first person with Polly and her son, Deming’s voice each with a chapter. I learned how very hard it is to be an illegal alien in this country. Most of the story is written from NYC and that becomes a recurring destination for Deming. Both of these characters are well developed though the surrounding characters that shape the story are less dimensional.

This story is about choices made and their consequences. Running away is not an answer but is thought to be a theme, though there is a surpris e which changes your whole perspective of the story.
Rating: ***

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