The Hope in Leaving by Barbara Williams
A Memoir

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Searingly honest, the book is a testimony to one woman’s resilience and ability to love in the face of unimaginable hardship. An unsentimentally candid memoir of hope and determination.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Handsome Jack is a logger, nomad, and born dreamer. His young wife, Simone, has too many kids and never enough money to support or protect them. The family keeps on the move, shedding a grand total of twenty-seven homes. Their first child, Randy, is sensitive and brilliant and bold, protector of his younger siblings, the fearless star of their childhood adventures and misadventures—until something snaps inside him. The second child who comes a year after him, our narrator Barbara, is the lucky one, who can dream of getting out. Every time the family relocates, she feels “the hope in leaving and doing better next time.”

Poverty, mental illness, sexual abuse, and injustice pursue them wherever they go. They live small-town life hard and suffer, most of all Randy. The great surprise of The Hope in Leaving isn’t that these characters descend increasingly into isolation and strife, but that despite this they remain a family, that there is always the spark of wit in their banter, and a kind of closeness no matter what happens, even a sense of normalcy. Gradually, the reader comes to understand why The Hope in Leaving is a book that had to be written. In it, Williams proves beyond doubt that there is one thing that can survive the worst of life and even death itself: love without judgment.
 

About Barbara Williams

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BARBARA WILLIAMS is a Canadian musician and renowned film, television, and stage actress. Early in her acting career, Williams starred in the blockbuster films Thief of Hearts and City of Hope. She won an Emmy Award for Best Actress for the 1996 telepic Mother Trucker. She was a member of the Resident Theatre Company at the Vancouver East Cultural Center, and among her more than thirty stage roles, she portrayed Amelia Earhart in the musical Amelia at Canada’s National Arts Center, Joan Baez at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles, and Lady Macbeth in La Jolla, California, under Tony Award winner Des McAnuff’s direction. As a musician she has performed in the United States and Canada, often in concerts devoted to peace, worker’s rights, and the environment. The Hope in Leaving is her first book. She lives and works in Los Angeles.


Author Residence: Los Angeles, California


Author Hometown: British Columbia, Canada
 
Published April 19, 2016 by Seven Stories Press. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Hope in Leaving
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Kirkus

Good
on Dec 20 2015

Searingly honest, the book is a testimony to one woman’s resilience and ability to love in the face of unimaginable hardship. An unsentimentally candid memoir of hope and determination.

Read Full Review of The Hope in Leaving: A Memoir | See more reviews from Kirkus

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Stacey May Fowles on Mar 11 2016

The Hope in Leaving is an incredibly powerful offering, delivered with rare grace and strength given its painful subject matter. With it, Williams has proven the most powerful storytelling is that which trusts readers to feel its impact without instruction, and find meaning without guidance.

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