Early LeavingFrom the Book Jacket

Is it possible for a mother to love her child too much?

This is the question that haunts Kathryne Smallwood the night before her son, Early, faces sentencing for killing another teenager.

Kathryne has devoted her life to her only child. She has made herself present in his every activity, every decision, every move, in hopes of protecting him. But it may just be this powerful force that sends her son spiraling in the opposite direction.

Critically-acclaimed author, Judy Goldman, tells a riveting, deeply-moving story of a well-to-do southern family whose smooth, easy lives are suddenly disrupted irreversibly. As Kathryne Smallwood waits for morning and her son’s fate, she searches her memory for details of his life and her own to discover where she went wrong, how she could have stopped the unspeakable act her eighteen-year-old son has committed. All she ever wanted was to keep him safe and happy. Isn’t that what every mother wants? Kathryne realizes, too late, that the hardest part of parenting might be knowing when to hold back.
Now she must come to terms with Early’s leaving and what to do when her one reason for living is gone.

Goldman presents a wise, sharp-eyed invitation to explore the nature of family, and in particular, the nature of marriage and parenting — how we think we’re doing the right thing, when what we’re really doing is following our own hungers.