Left: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Therese Wolley is a mother who has made a promise. She works as a secretary, shops for groceries on Saturdays, and takes care of her two girls. She doesn’t dwell on the fact that her girls are fatherless, mostly because her own father abandoned her before she was born and she has done just fine without him.
Even though her older daughter regularly wakes with nightmares and her younger one whispers letters under her breath, she doesn't shift from her resolve that everything will be fine. She promises... and they believe.
Until the morning an obituary in the newspaper changes everything. Therese immediately knows what she has to do. She cannot delay what she has planned, and she cannot find the words to explain her heartbreaking decision to her daughters. She considers her responsibilities, her girls, and her promise. Then she does the only thing that any real mother would do. She goes on the run with one daughter... and abandons the other.
Left is told from the perspectives of Franny, the autistic sister who is left behind; Matilda, the troubled older sister who vows to go back and save her; and Therese, a mother on the run.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 1 minute|
|Narrator||Cassandra Morris, Kim McKean, Rachel Fulginiti|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 01, 2013|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #226,516 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,180 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#4,102 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#4,177 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The characters of the two young girls are fairly convincingly drawn, but the two adult women, not so much. For the life of me, I couldn't understand the motivations of either of the adult women (especially in their choice of men) 90% of the time, and I didn't believe their friendship. The males, young and old, are "mysterious" cardboard characters, which a discussion question in the back suggests was done on purpose, to give room for the female characters. Didn't work for me. The main male villain, who has only cameo appearances, is a cross between an oily Don Juan and a laughable Snidely Whiplash, complete with a triumphant snarling pronouncement in the scene of the final big reveal. Oi.
There were a handful of scenes that I'm guessing the author meant to be high drama where I found myself laughing out loud, groaning "C'mon!," and snorting my tea out my nose, including a scene that climaxes with the house where the drama's being enacted hit by lightning. The first big plot twist is something you see coming from a long way off; the second one is the stuff of soap operas: Gasp! No!
This book is from a well-respected up-and-coming publisher (after finishing the book, I checked to see if it was self-published), and I guess there's something here that kept me reading, but I can't in good conscience recommend it. By the last third, I was reading out of gritty determination, just wanting to learn the end, but not pleased that I felt compelled to keep reading only to satisfy my curiosity. I felt like I was being held hostage. If it hadn't been a Kindle book, I'd have hurled it across the room when I finished.
Why does Therese keep Franny's truth a secret?
Why is Franny's father so angry and violent?
Why does Therese move to Emerald if she could easily have returned to her mother's home after leaving Franny with Leah?
The townhouse beside Sara was conveniently vacant when Therese and Matilda. And the sudden storm conveniently caused a tree to fall? That just seemed an easy way to write off a character.
The portrayal of of how violence within intimate relationships reverberates is incredibly nuanced. Ossowski doesn't revert to hackneyed stereotypes or graphic scenes. Rather, in acknowledgement that no author can truly render those scenes, she writes glimpses of the results of that violence, which are all the more haunting and vivid because she doesn't oversimplify or try to present the violence in its entirety.
Even more striking is the sensitive rendering of the main characters. Franny, who is on the spectrum, is not written the way people with special needs too often are, with disjointed and fractured language. Instead, the author really writes this child's voice the way the child experiences it. As a result, she is interesting far beyond being a "special needs" child. She's interesting because of ALL of her. It's refreshing to read a character on the spectrum who is not reduced to what other people think of her.
I'm grateful for this book, which--like *Room*--will likely keep resurfacing in my mind.