Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A Novel

Richard Dry

St. Martin's Press



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.


Praise for Leaving

“The African-American story from slavery... to the present, both in its panoramic scope and in its immediate and human detail.” —Madison Smartt Bell, author of Master of the Crossroads

“Written in a poetic prose that exposes the strength, frailty, and tenacity of human nature, and inserted into a challenging structure that stimulates the mind and soul, Leaving is a modern day classic.” —African American Literature Book Club

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Richard Dry

Richard Dry is an English instructor at Las Positas College and a former Senior Mental Health Assistant who worked with emotionally disturbed youth. Leaving won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation and Intersection for the Arts and was nominated for The Pushcart Editor's Prize. Dry lives with his wife in El Cerrito, California.

Richard Dry

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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