My Name Is Leon

My Name Is Leon

4.01 (6,568 ratings by Goodreads)
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It's 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV. Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is nine-year-old Leon. He and his little brother Jake have gone to live with Maureen. They've lost one home, but have they found another?

Maureen feeds and looks after them. She has wild red hair and mutters swearwords under her breath when she thinks they can't hear. She claims everything will be okay. But will they ever see their mother again? Who are the couple who secretly visit Jake? Between the street violence and the street parties, Leon must find a way to reunite his family...

'Startlingly funny. Balances the gritty with the feel good' Observer

'Vivid and endearing - a very powerful book' Emma Healey, bestselling author of Elizabeth is Missing

'Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest, this novel makes room in your heart' Chris Cleave, bestselling author of The Other Hand
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 133 x 198 x 18mm | 190g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241973384
  • 9780241973387
  • 27,863

Review Text

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one Publisher's description
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Review quote

Many are describing it as the debut of the year, in an already crowded market * Evening Standard * A piercing story: fierce, touching and with the absolute ring of truth-to-experience -- Sam Leith Simply told and never over-written * Emerald Street Top 10 Books of the Year * I think My Name is Leon is a really stand out novel -- Alex Clark It's a wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. It is extremely affecting -- Toby Lichtig Conjures the plight of children in care - and the Britain of the 1980s - with heartbreaking intensity * Harpers Bazaar * Beguiling, tender, funny, compassionate ... entirely heartbreaking without being bleak * Sunday Express * Searing * T2 * The voice of Leon is distinctive, beguiling and ultimately compelling, resonant of the young narrators in Room or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time * RTE Guide * Deeply moving, compulsively readable and, despite the heart-rending subject matter, often funny * Irish Times * Full of small exquisite details, de Waal's novel is ultimately affirmative. But be warned - it's a bit of a weepie * Metro * Heart-breaking yet told with wit and compassion - I loved it * Woman and Home * Powerful and gorgeously written...may make you cry, but it's also uplifting and full of hope * Good Housekeeping * A touching, thought-provoking debut * Guardian * Everything in My Name Is Leon rings true. It's an everyday story and this actually makes it more powerful: these are the lows and joys of real life. Someone will be living them as you read * Emerald Street * Searing * The Times * A funny, sad and endearing debut * Psychologies * My debut of the year so far...heartbreaking and warm at the same time * Stylist * The unforgettable story of a boy struggling to belong, and the author captures both his mindset and the period impeccably. Heartbreaking and uplifting - just read it * Daily Mail * Hotly anticipated and heartbreaking... a great's no mean feat for a debut to so perfectly capture the world through the eyes of a child...his illuminating child's eye view of adult affairs harks back to the likes of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer and more recently Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime -- Mariella Frostrup, BBC Radio 4 A compelling story... Kit de Waal is to be congratulated -- Jane Shemilt, bestselling author of 'Daughter' Beautiful and heartbreaking - I cried buckets of tears for Leon and his family -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of 'The Last Act of Love' Leon is pure goodwill in a wicked world, and he won't leave you when you put this unique book down. Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest, this novel does what only the best do: it quietly makes room in your heart. At the end of the story I couldn't bear to close the book on Leon. I felt I was abandoning him. I wanted to talk about it straight away with someone else who'd read it, and I know a great many readers will feel the same. -- Chris Cleave, bestselling author of 'The Other Hand' Vivid and endearing - a very powerful book -- Emma Healey, bestselling author of 'Elizabeth is Missing' A beautiful story told with compassion, urgency and wit -- Stephen Kelman, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'Pigeon English' Tender and heart-breaking -- Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one * Publisher's description *
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About Kit de Waal

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60's and 70's. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women's Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah is shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. She also crowdfunded and edited an anthology of working class memoir, Common People, which was published in 2018. Kit was named the FutureBook Person of the Year in 2019.
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Rating details

6,568 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 31% (2,036)
4 45% (2,940)
3 20% (1,329)
2 3% (212)
1 1% (51)
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