This is How We Leave

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We all run from something, but do we have to leave?

Against a background of family runaways, award-winning memoirist Joanne Nelson explores what it takes to stay when the going begins to dazzle and the staying seems way too ordinary. With a great grandfather who disappears, a grandfather who strays, and a father who walks away, she’s lived a life liable to give way at any time. In unflinching prose that is by turns intimate and humorous, she dives deep into her own role (and even culpability) in a childhood marked by disruption, emotional abuse, and parental alcoholism.

Nelson’s working-class roots and catholic schoolgirl upbringing, experimentation with all things negative, and hopeful creation of a new family life all serve a passionate story that examines the many ways we leave our communities, our families, and even ourselves. It will surprise no one that she became a psychotherapist—working with families, children, and in schools to help others on a similar journey. Her innovative observations and careful attention to detail create an engaging narrative of just how quickly our pasts become the now—and just what we’re going to do about it!