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Book review: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

The Leavers centres on the story of a young boy, Deming, who is seemingly abandoned by his Chinese mother in New York.

The story revolves around the impact of the absence of Deming’s mother after he is adopted by an American couple.

His name is changed to Daniel and he lives with a sense of displacement in his loving, middle class home.

Eventually, he is reunited with his mother and Deming can make sense of his experience.

I really enjoyed the fact that this book is set in two places – New York’s Chinatown and China itself, along with suburban America.

As a mother, I was heartbroken by the situation that occurred and Deming’s mother’s separation from the boy she had sat next to on the subway, spotting their doppelgangers.

It was at times tender, and at other times blazing with anger and hurt. The depictions of the characters was realistic and I felt sympathy with the poor decisions made, along with the confusion of being an outsider.

I thought The Leavers was a beautiful representation of the importance of belonging, and the different forms belonging can take.

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