What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee | Book Review

What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee was an easy book to convince me to read. It’s pitched as emotional and part love letter to Bowie. So, you know, I am completely HERE FOR THIS BOOK. Friends, I read this in a single sitting. It was so compelling and just packs so much in a sparse book. I love that What I Leave Behind shows a book doesn’t need to be too wordy to have impact. Also, there’s a music motif and I love that.

Alison McGhee’s What I Leave Behind is about a sixteen year old boy named Will. He works at the Dollar Only store and lives with his mother. Will’s father committed suicide when he was thirteen years old. Will is still dealing with this. That’s natural, the impacts of trauma are far reaching. Meanwhile, one of Will’s childhood friends, Playa, was raped at a party. So, he’s also struggling with trying to be a good friend. Eventually, Will attempts to perform small, secret acts of kindness.

Will is such a good kid with a crappy lot in life. I mean, it isn’t his fault that his dad ended his life. However, Will feels a sense of blame for what happened. So much so, that it has become a big deal for him to try and recreate his father’s cornbread recipe. Will can’t quite succeed in this, however. The other thing to note about Will is that he is a walker. He does not drive anywhere. Yet, he walks all over. This is how he deals with his emotions. As I read this book, I really ended up empathizing with Will.

So, the writing style of What I Leave Behind has the potential to be kind of a gimmick. There are 100 pages of the book with 100 words on them. Thankfully, it is a style that really works for this book. I felt like not a single word was superfluous. You get such a strong sense of Will as a person too. But we also get a good sense of his dad and the side characters, Major Tom and Playa. I think that this a great book if you’ve got some kind of reluctant reader in your life, if you’re a busy person but still want to feel good about reading a book quickly. I overall loved this book.

Other reviews of What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee:

  • I haven’t seen any posted as of 3/17/2018 when I wrote this review, however if you’ve reviewed, leave me your link and I will post it here.

Click here to support Books & Wine with your purchase of What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee:

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Latest posts by April (Books&Wine) (see all)

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

%d bloggers like this: