14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 1996
Leaving Home is a collection of pieces about Lake Wobegon citizens who either do leave or dream of leaving. It has lots of the old favorites from "A Prairie Home Companion" (including "Homecoming," the monologue that most people seem to remember), somewhat rewritten as short stories. Funny, sometimes poignant, these are humor pieces at their best, with a surprising depth of characterization and the wonderful, slightly bemused, slightly awed voice of a master story teller. Of all the Lake Wobegon collections, this one is probably the most representative, because it is the most balanced. Belly laughs and a tear or two, although as Keillor insists, his view of Lake Wobegon really is NOT that nostalgic, and usually it's free of sentimentality
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2000
Leaving Home is essentially a collection of transcripts of the popular News From Lake Wobegon segment that is the highlight of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor's live weekly radio show. For new readers of Keillor, it's an excellent introduction into the colorfully ordinary world of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, the fictional town that Keillor has made into a functional microcosm of the small-town heartland culture that too much of American society often views as inferior. For readers already exposed to Keillor, it's an extension of our acquaintanceship with the characters we've previously met in Lake Wobegon Days and on the radio show.
I think Keillor is undervalued in the world of American literature. What he has done with the Lake Wobegon books and stories, and with his radio show, is create a fully realized fictional world populated with flesh and blood people. And he has done so in a way that is touching and funny; we may laugh at his characters when they do something foolish or ill-advised, but the perspective that Keillor provides us ensures that we do so from a position of sympathy instead of superiority. The people in his stories may be small-town, but they are not small-minded. In some of his stories, Keillor examines the strong opinions they may have in favor of social values that some may deride as intolerant, but his focus on the decent, moral people at the core of the culture reminds us that although we may have different attitudes and lifestyles, we are connected by the common thread of frail humanity.
My one criticism isn't really a criticism at all: that it is always better, in my opinion, to hear Keillor read the material aloud than it is to read them on your own. His warm, rumbling bass voice is the perfect vessel through which to hear these stories. While he does not imbue the material with any undue drama, he is a master at fleshing out the subtle, gentle humor of his stories. Keillor has a huge amount of material available on audiotape, CD and digital media obtainable at places like audible.com, and it is those that I really recommend for those seeking the complete experience.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
I found this book in the apartment I moved into in Japan and read it only when I had run out of my own books and was waiting for more to arrive from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised by Keillor's wit and insight. This isn't a book about small town people - these are stories about people. Keillor touches on some pretty major topics here. He is a wonderful storyteller. I found the stories both funny and touching and a bit edgier than what I expected. A great read!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2002
Garrison Keillor is a master short story writer...unfortunately, publishers keep trying to turn him into a novelist. This is his BEST collection of stories. Wise, warm, and wonderful. A worthy successor to the string of small-town American writers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2006
I found this book at my school's library in the free book section. I had no idea what it was about or who the other was, but only grabbed it because it had the nicest cover in comparison to the other books. I was pleasantly surprised that I found a nice collection stories for the 'price.'
The stories all take place in Keillor's fictional, religious, small town in Minnesota, Lake Wobegon. The only things that I really know about Minnesota is that it's cold, the Twins play in the metrodome, and the state has a unique portrayal in Fargo (the movie). Leaving Home gave me a better picture of the state, and how strange and interesting the place and the people are.
It's not a very deep book, but its a fun read. It's perfect for when you're really bored and just want to read something. Some of the stories are actually quite funny. Some are so-so, whilst the others are forgettable. After finishing Leaving Home, I had a nice feeling the rest of the day. It's corny, I know, but that's how it made me feel. Check it out when you get that chance.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2004
As I was browsing through the library one day last month, after reading some Latin short stories, I came upon this book. I was intrigued by the cover at first. So I sat down in MY SEAT in the library. Then I began flipping through the pages. Man, was I surprised. I thought, in the beginning that these stories were fiction, but when I finished it, and read the last lines, my god, it's all true. The stories, not all, but most of it, hit you somewhere. It really does. It makes you say, "Hey, I know this.. This is...(name here-me?)." There's not much continuity in the chapters, like from TRUCKSTOP to DALE. Anyway, it makes the book greater. Again and again, the book is fantastic. Well, if you don't believe me, read the book. Then you'll realize that there is one more thing constant in the world... It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.....
Favorite Stories - Dale, The Ticket, Aprille, The Royal Family, uh, some more... Truckstop... hell, the whole book!!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 1998
Another entertaining update on the comings and goings of the citizens and exiles (returning for the holidays) of Lake Wobegon. Keillor never fails to provide sly and gentle insights into small town life in mid-America, though even here in Canada we recognize those stoic Norweigian characters as some of our own.
Originally published in 1987.
I stepped away from Garrison Keillor for a while. I don't know why, but I forgot about Lake Wobegon for about 15 years. But, I have returned for the occasional visit for a couple of years now and I find that I missed these stories. Having grown up Lutheran in rural Indiana I find quite a connection with these stories.
Keillor melancholy yet heartwarming stories of the people in and around the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon are worth a re-visit if you have stayed away. Deft turns of the phrase like "Corinne doesn't believe in God, but there is some evidence to show that God believes in her. She has a gift to teach, a sacred gift. Fifteen years in dreary bluish-green classrooms, pacing as she talks, this solid woman carries a flame" (p. 23) make you nod your head in appreciation.
Towards the end, a couple from Lake Wobegon is trying to take a trip to Hawaii. Keillor's extended discussion on why the glamour of "paradise" is wasted on Minnesotans and how heaven will be just as wasted is great sly understated humor with a sweet comment that starts with: "My people aren't paradise people, but when God loves you, then everywhere is paradise enough." He ends with a long comment about love cemented in life's losses and tragedies "...will last because it has endured so much already." (p. 218)
My laugh out loud moment in the book came during the story of Larry the Sad Boy who was saved twelve times in the Lutheran church. It rings true to this lifelong Lutheran and I had to immediately run and read it to my wife who also laughed out loud. A great paragraph that gently skewers and defends the unbending Lutheran outlook on life.
I have noticed that every comment I wrote was about a religious passage. I marked a few pages as I read and they all happened to have this theme. This book is not really a religious book but religion is a clear part of it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2014
Sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming, I savored it in small doses and enjoyed it immensely.
on March 7, 2013
This is an excellent follow-up to Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon Days. If possible, it is even more sweet-natured and addictive than its predecessor. Lake Wobegon Days finally became available for Kindle only a short time ago and I devoured it. Having not read it for several years, it was like welcoming an old friend back home. The story is not complete, however, until Leaving Home also becomes available for Kindle. Sooooooo....PLEASE Amazon, Mr. Keillor, and whoever else is involved in the decision-making, PLEASE release this wonderful book in the Kindle format!!