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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning novelist Tayari Jones delivers a story based on the 1979-1980 Atlanta child murders. Told from the perspective of three fifth-grade classmates, Leaving Atlanta is a vividly disturbing, but hopeful novel.

Tasha, Rodney, and Octavia each share the same wish: to be accepted. But reality soon crashes into their world, bringing with it fear and confusion. Children in their class are being kidnapped. Suddenly, popularity and recognition don't seem so important. Making it home safely through the menacing streets of Atlanta is an everyday challenge. Even their parents are unnerved by this violent outbreak. Who will protect these children now?

The convincing characters, voiced by a full cast of narrators, make this a haunting and effective work. Leaving Atlanta confronts complicated and sensitive subjects with just the right amount of sorrow and promise.

©2002 Tayari Jones (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"This strongly grounded tale hums with the rhythms of schoolyard life and proves Jones to be a powerful storyteller." (Publishers Weekly)
"She conveys powerfully the loneliness of a child...gives us a picture of children unsure they would even see tomorrow." (Booklist)

Featured Article: Must-Hear Contemporary Black Women Authors


It’s a fact that a high percentage of the best books that have come out in this century have been written by Black women authors. (Truth be told, there are so many excellent works that this list could simply centered on the best contemporary authors and still be accurate.) Nevertheless, Black women’s stories deserve to be heard, and when the stories are this compelling, this engaging, and this beautifully written, they’re impossible to ignore.

What listeners say about Leaving Atlanta

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

I was born in 82. This was news to me. My mom grew up in SC and intimately remembers this.

The story is broken up into three segments. Enjoy them all but Octavia's was the best. The narrator for her was excellent.

Tayari gave a realistic glimpse in what it felt like to be a child during that time.

4 people found this helpful

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Why does Audible make you answer these questions?

Any additional comments?

The best reviews that I read do not answer silly questions like, "If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?" Why does Audible do that?

OK, enough griping.

Leaving Atlanta is a wonderful collection of stories set in a tragic situation. The main characters are all fifth graders and the author deftly draws out the character of each one. They are as rich as a fifth grader can be and marvelously real -- worrying about the superficial things that are so important to a 10 year old, while also worrying that tomorrow that may be killed by a faceless murderer. The author's attention to details make the story all the more real.

I strongly recommend this great piece of fiction surrounded by historical truths.

4 people found this helpful

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Might be my new favorite author

Where does Leaving Atlanta rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Wow. Tayari Jones is perhaps one of the best modern writers. She brilliantly captures the way a child views the world around her. I was blown away.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Leaving Atlanta?

Octavia's part--

What does various bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Audio is my preferred method of

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book and audio production.

I loved this book, and especially loved it on audio. The book is told in three parts with each part having a different narrator. I loved the way that this was done. The first part was told by Tasha, the second by Rodney, and the third by Octavia. I loved Tasha’s section the best and Rodney’s the least, but even he grew on me until I couldn’t help but really feel for him and care about him and his story. The three lives are intertwined in more ways than they realize at first, and this becomes more clear as the story progresses.

Through the work we learn more about the awful spate of child murders that plagued the black Atlanta community from 1979-1981. Through the murders of the black children Jones is able to explore the racism and injustice that was faced still in the southern states in the 1970′s. Very glad I listened to this one.

4 people found this helpful

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Great story!

Loved the different perspectives! Nice nostalgic references. Great narration. Very soothing. Easy listening but not boring.

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Excellent

Any additional comments?

Tayari Jones always portrays characters so well. I love to read her books. The topic of this book is especially sad, even more so because it describes something that really happened. So, with the sadness of coming to the end of a good read and the subject of the book, pick this book when you're feeling upbeat. It is a good book. I'm glad to have discovered this good author.

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AWESOME

Jones is able to capture the true nature of how Black children speak, think, and play. Excellent book.

1 person found this helpful

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Another Tayari Triumph - starts slow ends huge

In all honesty this one started out slow for me relative to the authors other works. The story is told from three perspectives. As you might expect from Jones, nothing is as it seems. The first third is essentially a relatively straightforward story that introduces the characters with someone who is right in the middle of everything. My guess is if you were an african american fifth grade girl in 1979 this was a huge trip down memory lane. This first narrator experiences some interesting things and we get to understand her as a person but she is really there to set the stage. Don't be distracted when the author appears as a minor character in the story either (albeit a few years older than she actually was at the time)...she was really there!

The second narrator was quite personal to me because he reminded me of myself in elementary school in a lot of ways. He is a very complex and conflicted character. I had to listen to the end of his story 3 times. His narration contains less of the beautiful "poetic prose" that Jones is famous for, which suits his personality well.

Get ready for narrator number 3, Sweet Pea! I had the privilege (and I recognize that it was a privilege) to grow up white and middle-middle class. Sweet Pea will let you feel the joys and the pains of growing up poor, black and misunderstood. She is the least eloquent protagonist of Jones in her dialogue but the most beautiful in her reminisce. At one point she describes smelling her mother's perfume and as she leans in closer, the smell of cigarette smoke, and she says "it was like roses on fire". This is her book. She will make you feel the anxiety of childhood that you have forgotten, that age when you know there are things you don't know, but you don't yet understand what they are, and no one will tell you. What a truly amazing character!

Of course, Jones deals with issues of race both directly and indirectly. I wish more of my peers had enough empathy to understand and enjoy a book like this but they don't. She makes it easy to understand the pain and rage of individuals in the community, and she also addresses social division and stratification within the black community, something an outsider would have a very limited view of.

if you have read this far I think it goes without saying that I heartily recommend this and all the works of Tayari Jones.

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Missing, don't you mean taken or stolen

As a history junkie I loved this book. I never heard nor knew about the Child murders in Atlanta. Ms. Jones incorporated three different viewpoints during that era. The fear, was tangible. Not much has changed, no media coverage for black or brown kids missing or even when they're found dead. Hearing a child's recollection of events does something my soul. Hug and love upon your babies, this cold world isn't kind. #Book2of2021 #bookworm #whatsnext

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Expected more, but a good read

The cases of the Atlanta child murders always interest me. I was excited to run across a fictional story with it as a backdrop.
The narration was perfect and held my interest. However, the story fell short with character development.
More could have been provided for Octavia, who's story was the most interesting.
Rodney's story development was none existing. Seems like he was tossed in for a child male's voice.
I do like Ms.Jones' style of writing. She draws you in with the attention to detail.