The Leavers

The Leavers

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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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"-- Provided by publisher.
When his undocumented immigrant mother disappears, eleven-year-old Deming Guo is adopted by a family that attempts to make him over as an American teen while he struggles to reconcile his new life with memories of the family he left behind.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616207137
Characteristics: 1 online resource (338 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Feb 13, 2018

This story is so relevant for today. If you have no future in your native land, and come to the US illegally, you end up living a shadow life. You can’t expect to have much of a future. When Polly leaves China for what she hopes will be a better life in New York City for her and her unborn son, she finds it’s a heck of a hard climb to survive. When she is caught by INS she is sent back to China, and her son eventually ends up being adopted. What happens to the two of them creates a drama that many people are facing.

Jan 04, 2018

What confusion Ms. Ko has about matching technology to actual timeline. It is unbelievable that her editors did not pick up on this!!!

On page 179 Polly "takes out her phone to call Yi Ba" Unfortunate that Ms. Ko has assigned a cell phone to make the call when there were no cell phones 20 years ago. Hard to understand? Believe it or not, kids. There were NO CELL PHONE 20 YEARS AGO.. So.. how would our heroine make a call to China?? Pay phones were still around. Nobody could record the twin towers falling in NYC when it happened even 17 years ago. Why? No cell phones yet and certainly no cell phones with cameras.

So, if Ms. Ko wants to continue her narrative about Daniel's Mom phoning Grandfather in China to find out he has died of a heart attack? It was from a land line or a pay phone. If she whipped out her cell phone, it would have weighed about 3 lbs. They were in their infancy at that point.

Good try, though. Good try.

So read this book with a grain of made up salt. It does not follow any actual timeline.

Oct 29, 2017

Daniel, Deming Guo, was adopted by an American couple under circumstances the reader will much later find out. In the meantime Daniel's life unfolds as he remembers his childhood and those who helped shape his adult life. The author tells her story by taking us deeply into the complexities of an immigrant and their expectations, dreams, and ability to maintain family.
At times I skimmed when the author stayed too long in a situation but overall I found the novel rich in detail and I was easily drawn in.

Oct 03, 2017

Impressive and moving debut novel about a mother and son who are separated. The novel begins with the disappearance of a young Chinese-American's mother, who is in the country illegally. He has no idea what's happened to her and is adopted by a white couple who give him an American name. The novel shifts between the mother's and the son's point of view and takes place over many years and in two countries (China and America). It is a book that feels very much of the moment.

AL_MARINA Sep 18, 2017

Ko takes us behind the headlines about ICE raids and deportation to flesh out a moving and mournful tale of a son growing up without a mother, her mystery a constant, gnawing puzzle that colors his whole life.

AL_ANNAL Aug 29, 2017

This is a compelling and sensitive story of a Chinese immigrant and her son. Life becomes complicated and you feel for the boy and eventually for his mother as the story unfolds.

Jun 19, 2017

please don't throw tomatoes at me. i could not sympathize with the protagonist at all; at times, i wanted to smack him and say grow up already!

PimaLib_LoisM Jun 09, 2017

The Leavers is one of the best books I've read this year. Deming Guo struggles to find his true identity and sense of belonging after growing up in both New York City and Fouzhou, China. His life at age 6 falls apart when his mother leaves for work at a nail salon and never returns. Deming is adopted by an Anglo couple who are professors at a university, and is renamed Daniel Wilkerson. The story alternates between Deming and his mother's perspectives, and keeps the reader enthralled until the end, when we find out the real story behind why Deming's mother left him.

Jun 05, 2017

Set in New York and China, The Leavers, is told from the perspectives of an American born boy and his undocumented Chinese immigrant mother.
When young Deming Gou's mother Polly disappears, he is adopted by a caucasian couple who are professors in upstate New York and he is renamed Daniel Wilkinson. In his college years, he is overwhelmed by his struggles with identity, his past, and his abandonment by his mother. As the story unfolds, we discover the tragic circumstances leading to the separation of Polly and Deming.
Ko's powerfully written debut novel examines culture, immigration, family, alienation and belonging.
The Leavers, is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.

May 13, 2017

Winner of the Barbara Kingsolver Bellwether prize it is an immigrant story that is simply engrossing. It explores the question of of how one finds a a comfortable place after living in two separate and vastly different cultures. One commentator suggest it reflects "the alienation and double consciousness of the first generation". In and odd way it reminds me of the News of the World, although vastly different time and place. I loved this book.

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