Exit by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

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Lawrence-Lightfoot brilliantly creates intricate narratives of departures accomplished by 10 subjects—from, for example, Iran, the closet, bullying at school.
-Publishers Weekly


From a renowned sociologist, the wisdom of saying goodbye

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is enthralled by exits: long farewells, quick goodbyes, sudden endings, the ordinary and the extraordinary. There's a relationship, she attests, between small goodbyes and our ability "to master and mark the larger farewells."

In Exit, her tenth book, she explores the ways we leave one thing and move on to the next; how we anticipate, define, and reflect on our departures; our epiphanies that something is over and done with.
Lawrence-Lightfoot, a sociologist and a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has interviewed more than a dozen women and men in states of major change, and she paints their portraits with sympathy and insight: a gay man who finds home and wholeness after coming out; a sixteen-year-old boy forced to leave Iran in the midst of the violent civil war; a Catholic priest who leaves the church he has always been devoted to, he life he has loved, and the work that has been deeply fulfilling; an anthropologist who carefully stages her departure from he "field" after four years of research; and many more.

Too often, Lawrence-Lightfoot believes, we exalt new beginnings t the expense of learning from our goodbyes. Exit finds isdom and perspective in the possibility of moving on and marks the start of a new conversation, to help us discover how we might make our exits with purpose and dignity.


About Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

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Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a MacArthur prize-winning sociologist, is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education at Harvard University, where, since 1972, she has studied the culture of families, communities, and schools, and the relationships between human development and social change. She is the author of ten books, including The Third Chapter, Respect, The Essential Conversation, and Balm in Gilead, which won the 1988 Christopher Award for "literary merit and humanitarian achievement." In 1993, she was awarded Harvard's George Ledlie Prize for research that makes "the most valuable contribution to science" and is to "the benefit of mankind." She is the recipient of twenty-eight honorary degrees and is the first African-American woman in Harvard's history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.
Published May 22, 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books. 273 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Publishers Weekly

Mar 19 2012

Lawrence-Lightfoot brilliantly creates intricate narratives of departures accomplished by 10 subjects—from, for example, Iran, the closet, bullying at school.

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Reviewed by Gina Angelotti on Jun 11 2012

These abstract ideas, which seem more in line with a self-help manual than a sociological survey, become solidified in each of the storyteller's shared experiences.

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