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Leaving Atlanta Hardcover – 19 Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (19 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446528307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446528306
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 822,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Explores a tragic time in Atlanta's history...with a refreshing sense of humor and redemption." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tayari Jones is a native of Atlanta and lived through the terrible times depicted in the book - two of her classmates were among the dead. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book

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Hard, ugly, summer-vacation-spoiling rain fell for three straight months in 1979. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I grew up in Rome, GA during the time period when more than 20 African-American children were kidnapped and murdered on Atlanta's southside. I remember hating to watch the news every night because I dreaded hearing about another child being abducted or another body being found. The author of this novel grew up in Atlanta in the area where the children were taken at the same time it was going on. I can't imagine what her experience must have been like, though I can only imagine that it is similar to what is portrayed in her book.
The book tells the story of a 5th grade class during this time period. Three different classmates tell the story - La Tasha, a girl on the borderline of popularity; Rodney, a boy who is shy & sweet and therefore picked on; and Octavia, a definite outcast who is called "Watusi" by her classmates because her skin is so dark. The same story is not told over and over, but begins with LaTasha's story, continues with Rodney's and ends with Octavia's. I enjoyed this plot device very much.
One thing that really bothered me about the story is that the perspective was definitely that of a child. The children do not realize that their parents are doing the best they can. They do not realize the depths of their parents' love for them. I know that this is the way children are, but I still hated to read it. I thought that some of the children's reactions to their parents might have been a little over the top. I remember being angry at my mom about one thing or another, but the feelings of "she lies" or "she's a horrible person" only lasted a few hours, not all the time.
Overall, this is a very good story. Ms.
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Format: Hardcover
Tayari Jones captures these things perfectly - that as children, we don't fear rational danger nearly as much as we fear hurt feelings from our peers and parents. That we internalise harsh, sometimes thoughtless judgements until we learn to judge ourselves more harshly than anyone.

That's not the way an adult would react, and adults learn to dismiss the reactions of children. But it's foolish to expect children to become, emotionally, tiny adults - and given that most children who are murdered, die at the hands of someone they know, I would say that it's the child's response that's apt, not the adult's.

I wanted to shake the grown-ups in this. Carrying around their own memories of being hurt children - not looking to see what they're passing on. Some of them got so close to actually looking their kid in the eye and seeing the person there, not the obligation or the thing to be moulded into just the desired shape.

'Never child born that wasn't a miracle, albeit miracle sometimes unwanted or unseen'.

'The most obscene phrase in the English language is 'unloved child''.

I look forward to reading many more books by Tayari Jones.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 84 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The Children Finally Have Their Say 30 Aug. 2002
By pearl cleage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Leaving Atlanta, Tayari Jones wonderful debut novel, brings to life one of the most terrible periods in Atlanta's history, the time when a serial killer was snatching and murdering children at the rate of one a month. While much has been written and said about the hunt for the killer, his probable motives, the impact on the city's image, this book takes a completely different approach by taking us back to that time through the eyes of the children who lived through it. Their fear, their vulnerability and their absolute "kidness" even in the face of the horror all around them come through clearly in Jones' book. Without sensationalizing the story in any way, she makes you feel the children's fear of a new crossing guard, even if he is an emissary from the guardian angels, come south to protect them. Jones' has a gift for the dialogue of her youthful characters and never strikes a false note when they talk to each other or to the adults scrambling to protect them. A pleasure to read and a unique perspective on those terrible times that still haunt all of us who could not find a way to protect our children from a danger we will never understand.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful debut novel 13 Aug. 2002
By Cydney Rax - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Leaving Atlanta is a must-read novel that exudes with honesty, compassion, and literary beauty. Told in alternate voices from school-aged kids who give their account of the time period during the Atlanta child disappearances, the story treads through the familiar: moms who lie, fathers who try to protect and secure their family, kids who belittle each other one day, and kids who befriend each other when they have nobody else to talk to. Tayari Jones is a talented writer who employs simple yet profound prose to tell her story. Leaving Atlanta is a wonderful accomplishment, a novel that speaks to the heart and mind of kids and grown-ups alike.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I lived in Atlanta during the time of the real-life Atlanta Child Murders. I was the father of a son and daughter who were about the age of the children who are the main characters in this novel. At that time, all I could think about was keeping them safe. I never wondered what they were thinking during this time until I read this arresting new novel.
LEAVING ATLANTA gives voice to the thoughts of a generation. I felt like I was reliving this time, but this time, I had a better understanding of my children. This is a must read for any and all parents.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Powerful and Touching 2 Sept. 2002
By J.C. Wallington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Leaving Atlanta is an absolutely awesome reading experience. Who can forget the child abductions and murders in Atlanta in 1979? It was a fearful and trying time for all, but for the children, who lived in Atlanta, it had to be one of the most frightening things they experienced. The author Tayari Jones does an excellent job of getting into the minds and thoughts of the children as they try to process what was happening to these children, and more so when the victim was someone they knew.
For the children in this book, Tasha, Rodney and Octavia, being in the fifth grade is hard. They surely had enough on their minds just with trying to fit in, make friends, puberty, and pleasing their parents. All the parents are talking about the child murders and trying to figure out how to keep their children safe.
Each child story is unique, each living environment different, but with each child there is that vulnerability which made you just want to wrap your arms around them and shelter them from all that was bad. This moving novel is one that I will be highly recommending. I will be on the lookout for future books by this author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a luminous and provocative novel 9 Aug. 2002
By J.Sinclaire Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Every one who has been a child will recognize the children in Leaving Atlanta. The expert crafting of language here disappears the writer, and we are left with the voices, thoughts and fears of fifth graders.
Not rendered wunderkind who figure it all out, and philosophize about the meaning of childhood, difference, or death; or morally superior because of their circumstances-- these kids are just kids, and we immediately care what happens to each of them, from page one. Concerns about who will be invited to a sleepover, a first flirtation at the roller rink, or the anxiety of recognizing that you `have' (a pretty pink coat), or `have not' (new shoes, or breakfast-evidenced by your presence at school hours before its' start to receive free lunch) often crowd out, for a time, the horrible backdrop of what we have come to know as "the Atlanta child murders."
This brilliant first novel is not even about the child murders, as such. The ongoing issues of black life in America, including the murders, however, provide a context for its' subtle, even funny, but always incisive commentary on class, race, and gender in the US . The early work of Morrison immediately comes to mind.
Jones has captured something very rare here. On the one hand there is a sweet-- even fairly "universal"-- coming of age narrative. The quotidian concerns of these fifth graders become our concerns-- what before reading this book we may have thought of as the petty details out of which children's lives are made. At the same time the reader is drawn so deeply into the unutterable questions 'who will be next?' and 'who will be saved?' that Leaving Atlanta is a formidable page turning, breath holding novel that defies easy description, but is wholly intellectually and emotionally satisfying, at the same time.
I will use it in teaching university undergraduates, as well as suggest it for leisure reading for adults and teens. This is a smart book-real literature-- whose economy of language and readability make it appropriate for a wide range of readers.
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