"The Leavers" by Lisa Ko

Updated: Jan 30


TITLE: The Leavers

AUTHOR: Lisa Ko

PUBLISHER: Algonquin Books

PUBLISHED DATE: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1616206888

PAGES: 352

Such a heartbreaking novel. The book does go in and out of time. It hops back and forth from the past to the present. This can be disorienting at times, but stick with it, because this story is worth it.

Deming's mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant who mysteriously doesn't come home one day. Deming is subsequently sent to foster care where he is raised by two white professors in a predominantly white community. They rename him Daniel, and Deming spends years feeling out of place, abandoned, and lonely.

As a struggling adult he seeks out his mother and unravels his mother's story that unmasks the horrors of the American immigration system and her own personal struggle to redefine herself. This book blew my heart wide open. Deming's story, unfortunately, is the story of millions of people who find their status in the United States to be precarious. Though his foster family gives him an affluent lifestyle, access to education, and support - Deming longs for his mother. This is a really powerful story and a truly noteworthy read.

Asian American Writers' Workshop: White People & Asian Dropouts with Lisa Ko, Jade Sharma, Ed Lin

Recommendation: Read it!

Audience: Millennials and up - even though most of the story takes place when Deming is a youth coming into emerging adulthood and would be suitable for an interested teen.

*I borrowed this audiobook from my library Hoopla account.

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