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Publisher's Summary

One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, 11-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. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an "all-American boy". But far away from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother's disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It's 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.

©2017 Lisa Ko (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    70
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    82
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Overly dramatic narration.

Story bogged down by excessive descriptive details. Appreciated the socio-cultural story line. May have been more enjoyable to read rather than listen to as an audiobook.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story horribly read

The story was beautifully written and very interesting but difficult to listen to give in the odd accents and tonation of the reader. This is a time to get old fashioned and just read the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Awful narration

The narration makes this story very difficult to listen to. She alternately whispers and yells, and, as others have mentioned, is overly dramatic. She frequently sounds like she's crying, or at the very least, severely depressed, and many of her character portrayals are ridiculous sounding caricatures.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator is off-putting, histrionic, and limited

Any additional comments?

I will finish this audiobook by reading it. As much as I enjoyed the story of an adopted Chinese boy, and felt the author captured the spirit of her characters, I couldn't abide the narrator, whose voice was grating, and who offered too many passages in a kind of screechy, histrionic fashion that I found unbearable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

somewhat dark story.

the book gives the reader a glimpse into the life of immigrants a well as broken relationships. I was left with the question, do we really overcome the imprint left by the environment we grew up in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Reader wasn't loud enough

The story is exceptional but ruined by the reader whose whispered tone and selected overdramatizations were distracting and hard to follloe

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Leavers

Intense subject matter. Enjoyed learning about the main characters as the author switched back and forth between the present time and past. Focused on themes of separation, loneliness, and starting over in life.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting. Narrator too quiet/loud.

- My friends and I are getting tired of narratives that jump around a lot. It's starting to feel like a trendy gimmick. This book follows that trend.
- I found parts of the story interesting. Though I only liked one of the characters (Michael) Polly felt real to me. I have met someone who reminded me of her. Diversity doesn't bring out the best in everyone. Contrary to a popular cliché, life does sometimes dish out more than we can handle.
- The narrator's speech fluctuated between too soft and too loud, especially when listening in the car or with headphones. She sounded angry or near tears most of the time, which I found grating. I suggest that narrators eschew drama and leave it to the author's words express emotion.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book and solid performance!

Great performance and a great book! Learned how to pronounce some Chinese words from it as well.

The book itself is a good example of the power of books to show us different lives and experiences. I could never claim to know Chinese American culture after reading this, but it did manage to broaden my understanding just a bit.

Ko is a wonderful writer also. She strings together words with a deft yet warm precision.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Storyline<br />

I enjoyed the way the story intersected across time periods and characters. The author made all of characters heroes on their own merits.