“If you appreciate Mary Karr and Jeannette Walls, you’ll want to read Williams’s eloquent memoir of growing up in and out of the harsh lumber camps of British Columbia.”—Jane Fonda
On the day she is leaving town to escape her troubled family and to start over at twenty-four—she finds a note on her mother’s door. Her brother has shot himself. In stories that face reality so squarely they express what usually goes unsaid—from exhilaration to despair--Barbara Williams remembers her childhood leading up to this moment. Her father is a logger, nomad, and born dreamer. Her mother has too many kids and never enough money to support or protect them. The family keeps on the move, shedding a grand total of twenty-seven homes.
Williams remembers having one hope as a child, “the hope in leaving and doing better next time.” But poverty, mental illness, substances abuse, and injustice pursued them wherever they went. They lived smalltown life hard and suffered, most of all her brother—the fearless star of their childhood adventures and misadventures. Williams writes, “We grew up like wild animals with the wrong set of instincts for our environment.” It might be said it’s a miracle she survived to bring us these stories in The Hope in Leaving. In doing so, Williams proves there is one thing that can survive the worst of life and even death: love without judgment.