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 repressed, unhappy 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 wry, raw look at growing up in the conservative, recession-plagued Dublin of the 1980s, when homosexuality was still taboo, and being different was not tolerated.
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.
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.
Print Length: 232 pages
Publication Date: Shaggy Dog Publications (July 7, 2011)
Published May 30th 2011 by Smashwords
4 out of 5 stars