In 1959, newly-widowed and pregnant Ruby Washington and her thirteen-year-old half brother, Easton, board a bus in rural South Carolina, destined for Oakland, California. There, far from the violent events that forced her to flee her home, Ruby hopes to make a new life for her family.
Ruby gives birth to a daughter, Lida, and strives to raise the girl and Easton. But as their Oakland neighborhood changes during the turbulent 1960s, the three are driven apart by forces that Ruby cannot control. Easton becomes involved with civil rights activism and the Black Panthers; Lida, keeping a hurtful family secret to herself, spirals into a cycle of dependency and denial. Finally, Lida's sons Love LeRoy and Li'l Pit must fend for themselves in the inhospitable streets of America, leaving one city for another, searching for a home.
Centered around three generations of a family and set against the larger dispossession of African-Americans, Leaving is a blend of history and intimately-observed everyday life-a remarkable debut novel.
....the story of this memorable set of characters is soft and delicate and, ultimately, uplifting. Leaving has its tense moments, but you continue reading not because the narrative propels you forward but because you care about these people whom Dry has drawn with an abundance of heartfelt compassion. He writes from a place of sympathy, and as a result, his well-drawn characters are never less than human even at their most abhorrent or pathetic.