Early Leaving: A Novel

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 18, 2005 - Fiction - 320 pages
1 Review

A mother wakes one morning to find the police at her door to arrest her only child–a star athlete and honor student–for murder.

The Smallwoods are one of those families who project a rosy image, exactly what we all hoped and imagined our lives would be. Peter Smallwood is a patent attorney with the oldest firm in town. Kathryne is president of parents' council at the private high school their son, Early, attends. She is an over–involved mother; Peter is under–involved. She's excessive when she should hold back; he's stingy when fullness is needed. Kathryne is so protective of their son, so overbearing, that the only way out for him is to disappoint her in a profound way. The novel opens the night before his sentencing. It covers the next thirteen months and flashes back to family memories Kathryne has told again and again through the years, trotting them out like scrubbed children–as well as the memories she would just as soon forget.

EARLY LEAVING is Kathryne's story. She probes the pieces of the past to see if she should have seen the end coming. Was there any point where she might have come between her son and what lay in wait for him? Or was it just the randomness of fate and its consequences? Was she the cause? All she ever wanted was to keep him safe and happy. Isn't that what every mother wants?

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pdebolt - LibraryThing

I thought, given the premise of this book, that it would reveal more about the character of Early. The reader knows all there is to know about his mother, her background, her marriage and parenting ... Read full review

Early leaving

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Second-wave feminism seems to have bypassed Kathryne Smallwood. Despite working as a film critic, her life revolves around her son, Early, and her husband, Peter. To outsiders looking in, the ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2005)

Judy Goldman's first novel, The Slow Way Back, won the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award and the Mary Ruffin Poole First Work of Fiction Award, and was a finalist for the Southeast Booksellers Association's Best Novel of the Year. She is also the author of two books of poetry. Her work has been published widely in literary journals, and her commentaries have aired on public radio. She and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have two married children and twin granddaughters.

Bibliographic information