The Leavers by Lisa Ko

the leavers

Deming Guo is a eleven year old boy whose mom, Polly/Peilan, was pregnant and came to the US illegally from China and is now at a Bronx nail salon struggling to support the two of them.  They live with her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s sister and her son when Polly disappears one day without Deming. Without the means to take care of him, the boyfriend’s sister eventually takes him to an adoption agency where a white family adopts him, moves him to upstate New York, and changes his name to Daniel.   It is a coming of age story about Deming and his search for answers about his mom and his struggle for identity.  The book also explores his mother’s story about what led her to move to the US and what happened to her after she left.  This is a beautifully written and moving story exploring identity and the forces that impact our identity, issues of the immigration experience, and motherhood.


2 thoughts on “The Leavers by Lisa Ko

  1. Gretchen Collins says:

    Just finished ‘Be Frank With Me.’ Thank you for the suggestion! Enjoyed this.. Such a colorful character..was interesting to connect with Frank.


  2. Gretchen Collins says:

    Similarly good is ‘Love Anthony’ by Lisa Genova. Leads you into the mind of an Autistic child. Very helpful in understanding this disorder.


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