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Posted December 9, 2008
interesting spin on the black children murders of 1979-1980
In 1979, fear grips the black community in Atlanta as someone is killing the children. The younger generation knows what is happening to some of their peers as the TV and especially their parents never stop talking about the missing children. However, there are more pressing concerns than missing or dead children as one must survive the social climate of elementary school. <P>In that environment Tasha struggles with wanting desperately to be part of the in crowd, but also must deal with the separation of her parents. Weird Rodney can¿t worry about some murderer, as he just wants to please his father, who has the uncanny ability to embarrass him in front of his classmates. A loner not expecting much from anyone and though only a fifth grader, Octavia is brilliant at hiding her feelings, but still wishes her mother would be more truthful about life and keep her junkie boyfriends away from both of them. The innocence of youth ends when classmates begin appearing on the nightly news as missing and probably dead. <P>LEAVING ATLANTA is an interesting spin on the black children murders of 1979-1980 that brought fear to the community. The story line focuses on the three children trying to gain different types of acceptance even as the unknown threat scares everyone they know. Readers will enjoy the insight of these three fifth graders, but be warned that this is not a happy ending, as twenty-nine kids died during the serial killings. <P>Harriet Klausner
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Posted August 18, 2003
Accurate Child's Perspective
This book is about more than just the Atlanta child murders, it's about how children learn to deal with all the scary things in life. The best thing about this book is Tayari Jones' magnificent ability to capture the inner-workings of a child's mind when dealing with everyday problems and when forced to deal with extremely 'grown-up' tragedies. Jones does a superb job of juxtaposing seemingly trivial childhood problems, such as who to sit with at lunch, with the very serious problem of kidnapping. The interesting thing is that Jones explores both ends of the spectrum without trivializing either set of problems. For example, many readers will recall feeling deathly afraid of being labled an outcast by the 'popular' kids in school, an issue faced in the book by Tasha, Rodney and Octavia. And when the kidnappings start, Jones provides just as much insight into the children's minds, as their lives are forced to change. As adults, we sometimes forget that every challenge can seem like a potential devastation in the mind of a child. So the novel almost seems to ask us questions such as, which is scarier: the fear of disappointing your father or being kidnapped by a stranger? These are the issues that are explored by this novel. The answers aren't simple or clearly defined. The book suceeds in reminding us that no matter what life throws at a child, they somehow manage. As we read about Tasha, Rodney and Octavia we remember that EVERYTHING about childhood was scary. Just because adults try to make children believe some situations are more serious than others, kids don't always see it that way. Tayari Jones does an excellent job of letting the reader into the minds of children of Atlanta during that time...and we learn that adding the fear of kidnapping into the mix was just one more scary thing they had to deal with.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2010
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