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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Children Finally Have Their Say
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...
Published on August 30, 2002 by pearl cleage

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From Atlanta
I found much in Leaving Atl to be authentic in many ways. The places, the language, the fear, the actual events -- all this was true. I loved the last line. But I saw a number of inconsistencies. The view of Octavia and her mother in the section Octavia narrates does not fit with the Tasha and Rodney narratives. The 2nd person didn't work in the Rodney section...
Published on October 22, 2012 by Beth


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Children Finally Have Their Say, August 30, 2002
By 
pearl cleage (atlanta, georgia United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful debut novel, August 13, 2002
By 
Cydney Rax "rmn1994" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAY WE NEVER FORGET, September 2, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Touching, September 1, 2002
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a luminous and provocative novel, August 9, 2002
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Debut on a Timely Topic, August 21, 2002
By 
Alma F Washington (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Hardcover)
This novel could not have come at a beter time. Although the child abductions at the center of this work happened over twenty years ago, the subject is relevant today. Everyday on the news, it seems that more children have been stolen from their families. This book takes us back to a two-year period in Atlanta when almost thirty children were abducted. Jones lets us see the children's perspective on this. Lets us see the way that children are afraid and the ways that they cope. This is a novel that will make you love our children with all your hert and protect them with all your strength. Tayari Jones is a stunning writer. I hope to be reading her books for years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Story, October 13, 2003
By 
Brian K. Walley (Clayton, Delaware) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Hardcover)
Leaving Atlanta, the debut novel by Tayari Jones, successfully blends fact with fiction and her story centers on the real-life child murders in Atlanta during 1979-1980. In this story, the author tells three stories by 3 children during that time period. Tasha, Rodney, and Octavia are three students who all go to the same school and they each have their own set of problems to deal with as well as learning that children have been disappearing and getting murdered. Somehow, almost miraculously, Tayari Jones tells a gripping, sometimes humorous, and engaging story that doesn't make you dread turning the pages since you already know what the end result's going to be.
I personally loved this novel and it's been one of the few books that I can really strongly recommend this year. The fact that this book deviates from the norm and combined with excellent storytelling, Tayari Jones is an author to watch and I look forward to reading more from her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional, April 30, 2004
By 
LOCKSIE "ARC Book Club Inc" (Mt. Vernon, N.Y./Coram, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Paperback)
Tayari Jones tells the story through the eyes and ears of three children. Tasha, Rodney and Octavia are the fithgraders coming of age during the time of the Atlanta child murders. Each tell of the trials and tribulations at home, school and during their personal time. There is sadness, fear and tears especially when children they know start disapearing! It was fun to read what the children thought about their parents and teachers, it took me back to my own childhood. Octavia is my favorite out of the three. She seemed wise beyond her years. Tayari Jones did a great job but I felt the story could have gone on for a while longer. I got emotionally attached to the kids and wanted to know how their lives turn out. Over all this book was very good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly Simple, April 17, 2005
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This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Paperback)
I found the book to be a wonderful depiction of my own childhood. Although the tragic events of a muderous time for a city which I love so dearly was presented, I found the simple pleasures of my childhood in Atlanta unfold before my eyes with such skill that I had to make myself put the book down. Tasha, Octavia and Rodney were all friends each of us could easily relate.Fifth grade was one of the most memorable times.Growing up in the projects of Atlanta myself, I also knew a few boys who like Jashante, were only trying to make a few bucks, not find death.A bouquet to Ms. Jones, for revealing a good side to a city shadowed by the darkness of these terrible deaths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, February 7, 2008
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This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Hardcover)
I remember this period in Atlanta so reading the story took me back to that time. Tayari's colorful writing puts you back in that place in time and allows you to experience the normal, everyday and typical childhood experiences of a few young children. She show's how fear weighs upon their minds and swells their hearts. She poetically shows how a typical day can end up being the last day. I loved her writing style. And although I didn't care for the story written in second person, it's definitely due to my reading preference and not the author's writing style. I recommend this as an enjoyable, yet thought provoking book for anyone.
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Leaving Atlanta
Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones (Paperback - August 1, 2003)
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