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The Leaving: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Gabriella West
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

At 15, Cathy Quinn is an intelligent misfit living in 1980s Dublin. As the book opens she discovers that her charming older brother Stevie, who's gay, is falling in love with the one boy in school whom she likes. Over her last two years of school, Cathy struggles with her dysfunctional family, coming to terms with her powerful attraction to her best friend Jeanette, and leaving Ireland. "The Leaving" is a realistic, yet lyrical, look at adolescence and first love.

Above all, the novel offers a close look at two siblings growing up in conservative, recession-plagued Dublin in the 1980s, when homosexuality was still taboo, and being different was not tolerated.

Gabriella West is also the author of the lesbian historical novel "Time of Grace," set in Dublin in 1916.

From a reader on Smashwords.com (5-star review):

It's a good book for teenagers and young adults that want to read about self-identity, coming out of the closet, relationships, acceptance and maturity through the eyes of a female fictional character.


Editorial Reviews

Review

If you're looking for something with a little bite, something that will challenge you, something that will take you back to those not-always-so-halcyon days of your teens as you assess where you've come and how you got here; then The Leaving is the perfect catalyst. - The Rainbow Reader

Absorbing is the word that comes to mind to sum up this novel. It is written in first person and has a distinct narrative voice. It is not light fare - it is a deep and insightful look at the character's coming of age, coming to terms, and coming to acceptance. - Kate Genet, author of Remnant and Orange Moon

I love reading books that feel like they are told from the heart. "The Leaving" gives me that feeling. - Alle Wells, author of Railroad Man, on Alle's Five-Star Reviews blog

West is especially adept at capturing the complex, difficult and sometimes challenging choices facing a teenager in life. - J.J. Collins, BooksReview4U blog

From the Back Cover

Gabriella West is also the author of the lesbian historical novel Time of Grace.

Product Details

  • File Size: 460 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Shaggy Dog Publications (December 17, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005BSYMQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,273 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant and Beautiful Book July 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I sat down by the fire on a snowy afternoon with this book, intending only to read for a couple of hours, before setting it aside to do something else. But this is a completely absorbing book and it would not let me put it down. I stopped only for something to eat then took up where I'd so briefly left off.

Absorbing is the word that comes to mind to sum up this novel. It is written in first person and has a distinct narrative voice. It is not light fare - it is a deep and insightful look at the character's coming of age, coming to terms, and coming to acceptance. It never wavers in its focus and tells a story of confusion, obsession, need and the complete inability of the main character to compromise herself - she will not be other than she is, and in this there is a lesson for all of us, something to think about and admire.

Sometimes books speak to us with a familiarity that echoes our own experience, and we are lucky when this happens, but even if this is not the case, there are some books with aspects that touch on the universal, here the oft-painful voyage of discovery we all go through as we learn who and what we are; especially for those of us whose expressions of sexuality are not mainstream. This is quite an extraordinary book and Ms. West has gained in me a reader for life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No sweetener added May 13, 2012
By Mirrani
Format:Kindle Edition
The Leaving was described as "a realistic look at adolescence and first love" and it cannot be denied that this well describes the book for prospective readers. The story is very realistic, with realistic relationships and feelings, including much confusion regarding relationships between both friends and lovers. No sweetener is added to the emotion or background of the characters, they are purely themselves, showing us life through their eyes. The title itself comes full circle from the beginning of the book, where Cathy and her brother are in school, each taking their turns in participating in the Leaving, graduating school and moving on into adulthood. They find they are leaving previous lives and relationships behind them, something I thought was rather fitting. In reading the original description, I did expect a little more of a love triangle aspect of the story, perhaps more focus on the relationships mentioned, which I felt somewhat dumped into the middle of, but such is the case with meeting someone new. They have had lives before I came along, the feeling only adds to the realness of the characters and their situations.

As an American, I felt it was somewhat strange trying to experience the events and emotions behind The Leaving. Having not grown up in Ireland or otherwise experienced life around that part of the world in the early eighties, I was uncertain that I could believe that every person encountered in the book should feel so negatively about themselves or their situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting read August 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
'The Leaving' was an interesting read, however, I had mixed feelings about it. There were a number of POV issues that caused me to have to backtrack to more clearly understand the points of views. At times it seemed Cathy was somewhat repetitive and maybe the manuscript could have been trimmed down. It's not an "epic" tale, more like a slice of "in the life of Cathy".Still, I wouldn't dismiss 'The Leaving', I'm sure there are many folks who would find this story charming and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read February 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written believable novel. Could be enjoyed by adults and teenagers or anyone interested in urban Irish life in the eighties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply emotional October 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book exploring emotions of a family in Ireland and takes them from childhood to adults making their own choices. The book was neither happy nor morbid but just plain emotions that we all go through.
I would highly recommend this read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply felt and expertly crafted April 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Perfectly titled, The Leaving stands for so much more than the milestone it's named for. This unique coming-of-age read captures a moment in time as teenager Cathy Quinn navigates the end of high school life in Dublin, and the beginning of a life with adult choices. Gabriella West has created in Cathy a very real protagonist who's the unflinching explorer of her own heart and mind. Sometimes raw, yet riddled with humorous moments, this is the self-examining first-person narrative of a teenager who knows who she is at her core: smart, awkward, angry, longing, selfish, and selfless.

Deeply felt, and expertly crafted, The Leaving, is a must-read for anyone wanting to reconnect with that time in life when we're about to be set free on the world, and the world set free on us.
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More About the Author

Gabriella West was born in Santa Barbara, CA in 1967. In 1969, her parents moved to Ireland, and she grew up there, studying English Literature and Italian at Trinity College, Dublin.

She earned an MA degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University in 1995.

She's published two well-reviewed novels. "Time of Grace" (Wolfhound Press, 2002), the story of a passionate love affair between a young English governess and a maid, is set in Ireland against the backdrop of the 1916 Easter Rising. "The Leaving" (2011) is a semi-autobiographical look at a rebellious adolescent girl coming of age in Dublin in the mid-1980s.

She often reviews indie/small press books on her blog, http://gabriellawest.net. Her day job is proofreading and editing. (http://editforindies.com)

Her eclectic body of work includes novels, erotic romances, and personal essays. She lives in San Francisco, CA, where she enjoys film, birding, hiking, and reading.


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