Leaving home for the first time is a rite of passage. Fifteen of the most respected authors of our time contribute their perspectives to this masterfully crafted anthology. From fear to desire, joy and hope, the mixed emotions that accompany each journeyphysical and metaphysicalare conveyed in a manner that both stimulates the mind and satisfies the heart.
Everyone eventually goes on a journey.
"I remember packing a suitcase and carrying it out to the kitchen, standing very still for a few minutes, looking carefully at the familiar objects all around me. The old chrome toaster, the telephone, the pink and white Formica on the kitchen counters. The room was full of bright sunshine. Everything sparkled. My house, I thought. My life. I'm not sure how long I stood there, but later I scribbled out a short note to my parents." What I said, exactly, I don't recall now. Something vague. Taking off, will call, love Tim." from On the Rainy River by Tim O'Brien
You leave home and undergo trails and rites.
"The minute I walked in and the Big Bozo introduced us, I got sick to my stomach. It was one thing to be taken out of your own bed early in the morningit was something else to be stuck in a strange place with a girl form a whole other race." from "Recitatif" by Toni Morrison
You come back form the journey transformed.
"I felt growing light, I rose up into the air and flew out the window. Higher and higher, above the alley, over the tops of tiles roofs, where I was gathered up by the wind and pushed up toward the night sky until everything below me disappeared and I was alone." from Rules of the Game by Amy Tan
We leave home to find home.Here is an unusual collection of short stories, from a variety of distinguished writers from different cultures and different viewpoints, that explores the turning point in every adolescent’s life when he or she is forced to take that first step away from home, family, and the known. From personal tales of unwed mothers, arranged marriages, and divorcing parents, to stories about refugees and war resistance, Leaving Home paints a canvas of universal experience for teen-age readers, and includes stories by Tim Wynne-Jones, Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, and many others.
About the Author
Hazel Rochman is an assistant editor at ALA Booklist, where she reviews books for children and young adults. Her previous book for HarperCollins, Somehow Tenderness Survives: Stories of Southern Africa, was listed as a 1988 Best Book for Young Adults (ALA) and as a 1989 Book for the Teen Age (NY Public Library). Darlene Z. Campbell is an English teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Both Ms. Campbell and Ms. Rochman live in Chicago.
Read an Excerpt
I was hoping to be happy by seventeen.
School was a sharp check mark in the roll book,
An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team .'
Was going to win at night. The teachers were
Too close to dying to understand. The hallways,
Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus,
A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday,
Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves
By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground
And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard
On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,
Hitchhike under the last migrating birds
And be with people who knew more than three chords
On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke,
But our hair was shoulder length, wild when
The wind picked up and the shadows of
This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car,
By the sway of train over a long bridge,
We wanted to get out. The years froze
As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water,
White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Draft #2 English November 2000 ¿On The Rainy River¿ What does patriotic duty mean to you? You¿ve just been accepted to Harvard, one of the country¿s premier academic institutions, when your draft notice arrives, calling you to prepare to defend you country, and the democracy that has been so good to you. What do you do? Tim O¿Brien answers these question and many more with wonderful detail and a great voice in his personal journey ¿on The Rainy River¿. O¿Brien¿s ¿On The Rainy River¿ is an awe inspiring true-life story that¿ll have you very involved with the great detail and voice. Tim O¿Brien incorporates great word choices. Like ¿ferocious silence¿, ¿blood shower¿, and ¿Physical rupture-a-cracking-leaking-popping¿. Details like ¿Elroy Berdahl: eighty-one years old, skinny, and shrunken, and mostly bald.¿ and ¿Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure.¿ these statements kept me wanting more. I wondered, what in Elroy Berdahl¿s life could make him so quiet but yet heard! He seemed so stern in his way, so sure of himself. What could have shaped a man this way? I also believe O¿Brien to have a great voice in this story. It was so outstanding I myself could feel what he was recounting. Statements such as ¿The emotions went from outrage to terror to bewilderment to guilt to sorrow and then back again to outrage.¿ ¿I felt a strange sharpness, almost painful, a cutting sensation, as if his gaze were somehow slicing me open.¿, and ¿And so I sat in the bow of the boat and cried.¿ That made me feel and understand the main character. The statement, ¿I felt a strange sharpness, almost painful, a cutting sensation, as if his gaze were somehow slicing me open.¿ is similar to the way I feel when sitting across from one single person in a situation such as a job interview. I am sure that if you were to read ¿On The Rainy River¿, you too would appreciate what a magnificent and thought provoking story it is. I would urge anyone to read it. I believe that all can relate O¿Brien¿s story about his true-life decision. In this story, O¿Brien has a magnificent voice that is easily read and understood. He uses very descriptive words and fantastic detail. I would encourage anybody who likes to read to pick up this story and read it. Once started you would not put it down.