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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 out of 5 stars
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    129
  • 4 Stars
    113
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    69
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

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    125
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    96
  • 3 Stars
    40
  • 2 Stars
    16
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    16

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    118
  • 4 Stars
    105
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    12
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    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kennym
  • Seminole, FL
  • 06-29-17

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to say. ...

The reader brought too much emotion and interpretation to the reading. Made it difficult to come to my own conclusions. Overshadowed the story

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narration Off-Putting

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The Narrator

Was The Leavers worth the listening time?

Debatable

Any additional comments?

The story was a slow starter but became more interesting as it unfolded. The narration was a huge detractor - women are read in tense voices ever on the verge of anxious hysteria and men are read in cartoonish voices. Might be better enjoyed the old fashioned way.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Would make an excellent movie

I kept imagining the book as a movie. It was a little drawn out sometimes but provided a beautiful and nuanced coming of age story of immigration and transracial adoption that we are rarely told.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not quite a classic yet

I’d say this is an author to watch. Some of the character development was a bit weak and there were a few too many cliched themes, particularly with relation to the adoptive parents. Unlike many reviewers here, I thought the narration was good but, yes, occasionally a little over dramatic. That said, I think she conveyed the passion of the characters well.