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Customer Reviews for

Leaving the World

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    This one gets a pass...

    This is an author who is acclaimed and has written several books, but we believe he got several things wrong. More about that later.
    One of the central themes in this novel revolves around psychological damage. We discussed this at length, and came to the conclusion that while no one can completely avoid it, for most of us, our damaged parts don't run our lives. Another theme that was repeated was 'Words matter. Words count. Words have lasting import.'
    Jane's parents had a terrible marriage, and truth be told, were awful parents. Her mother was never satisfied with anything Jane did, and her father was never home. Her father left for good when Jane pointed out that she would never marry or have children because no one is happy. And of course, Jane's mother blamed her for her father leaving.
    Jane goes through a series of events in her life that stretch the boundaries of fiction. First she wins a full scholarship to Harvard, proving to her father that she is worth something, after all. She goes on to have an affair with her doctoral advisor. The one time she is open about her feelings, telling her lover that the book he's just had published isn't to her taste, the lover gets killed in a bike/truck accident. (Here there was disagreement: was it accident or suicide?)
    Then she decides to forget about her career as a college professor to enter the world of finance. After a few short weeks Jane alerts her employers to a deal that makes the company $142 million. Then she comes under the scrutiny of the FBI, and is fired. She came away with a $300,000 termination agreement. Then she runs away to Canada and turns her doctoral thesis into a book.
    She got a job as a professor in a third-tier college and got involved with another damaged character: Theo Morgan. She has a baby; Theo leaves her, the child dies in an auto accident, and Jane runs away again.
    A failed suicide attempt in Montana lands her in a psych ward. After finishing her treatment, she runs away again, to Canada. Here it starts to get really weird. She got a job as a librarian, and then turned into Nancy Drew: exposing a child murderer and rescuing his latest victim. THEN she ran away to Europe. She came back later. The end.
    There were parts of this book that we enjoyed. It spurred a great deal of discussion about family dynamics and good choices in life. But there were some very large flaws in the book, too. For instance, even though we loved the use of language, nearly every character spoke in the same college-educated voice. There were a number of Britishisms used: 'car park', 'ring me up'; this is a book about an American, and we simply don't talk like that. And my biggest laugh occurred during the January she spent in Nova Scotia: getting up before dawn, going out at 6, walking on the beach for 80 minutes, and returning at 8:15. Hah. The earliest sunrise in Nova Scotia in January is 11:38 am. Another huge flaw was the beloved daughter Emily. There was not a single description of her, other than she was perfect. The entire second half of the book revolved around Jane's guilt and misery at the death of her daughter, yet we don't know if she had blonde hair or dark, straight or curly; we don't know the color of her eyes; Emily is a mystery to us.
    This book is so flawed. Waste of time.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

    Don't waste the time or the money

    all I can say about this book is that it is TERRIBLE. If the primary character didn't have bad luck she would have no luck. I could not even finish it. I put it in archive after about 110 pages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A profound tale

    Jane Howard celebrates her thirteenth birthday with her family when she makes a cryptic comment that no one is happy. The next morning her dad quoting her profound statement on happiness leaves.

    Jane internalizes what happened, blaming herself. She locks away her feelings and turns to the academic world for sustenance. At Harvard she has an affair with her married thesis adviser, who dies in an accident; which affirms her belief people leave. Jane makes a fortune in the finance world, but turns to teaching at a minor Boston university. She falls in love with film archivist Theo and they have a child, but he steals her money while running off with his new partner. Once again Jane learns men leave. However, she finds a new interest a child-murder investigation in Calgary.

    A lot happened to Jane but she courageously is accepting that sh*t happens as That's Life (Sinatra), but what makes her an admirable heroine is that "Each time I find myself flat on my face I pick myself up and get back in the race"; she never quits. Readers will root for Jane who tells her entertaining tale in which "Some people get their kicks stompin' on a dream But I don't let it, let it get me down." That's Life.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ok read

    This book reads well and keeps you entertained. Its easy to follow his characters. Maybe its just me but I hated the negative spin towards the end of the book which had to do with the pastor of a church. Kinda ruined it for me.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    I have a hard time reviewing books like this because after reading it, I'm speechless. The author stirred up my emotions in a way that makes me feel a bit more mature. Everything about this book was amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    WOW! WHAT A READ!!!!

    I have never read any of Douglas Kennedy's books before this. I was not only drawn into the storyline but by the author's style of narrating and presenting his story. This is a 'woman's story line' written by a man. What insight! I haven't read another story of this fashion since "The Geisha".
    Can't wait to read Kennedy's other books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted March 19, 2011

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted August 2, 2010

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    Posted May 9, 2011

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    Posted April 7, 2012

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    Posted September 25, 2012

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    Posted March 5, 2011

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    Posted July 6, 2010

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    Posted September 30, 2010

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    Posted July 17, 2010

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