I heard an interview on NPR yesterday with author, Lisa Ko, regarding her first novel, The Leavers. It was one of those moments for me when I arrive at my destination, but don't want to get out of the car until the segment is over. I was fascinated by the story I heard and the parallels to my own. Different cultures, different locations, and some unique circumstances, but it strummed a nucleic chord which resonated strongly with me.
The Leavers is about an American boy named Deming Guo whose immigrant Chinese mother vanishes when he is 11-years-old. Deming is adopted by a "well-to-do," "well-meaning" white couple as the characters are described in several book reviews. I was the same age when I learned that I was adopted, and the nuances explored in this book intrigue me as I consider the many cultural and racial exchanges of my own life and those of my ancestors. I'd love to read this novel, but I'm afraid that doing too soon may influence the writing of my own story tentatively entitled Spitting Image. Isn't The Leavers a great title for a book about an adoptee? When people "leave" our lives, we don't always have explanations, but we're very good at concocting innumerable hypotheses. Was his mother a leaver? Did he become a leaver? Were there other leavers in his life, and how did he cope with leaving as he matured? Did he ever reunite with his birth mother? Were his adoptive parents supportive of his search? I'm definitely adding Ko's book to my reading list, and I encourage you to check out the reviews and listen to the interview. Let me know what you think of her book, but don't spoil the surprises, please ;-)