Masterfully written and fast-paced, this is highly recommended
~ Library Journal
Goldman’s second resonant novel dissects one seemingly perfect family: father, Peter, a successful attorney; mother and narrator, Kathryne, a movie reviewer; and their son, Early, valedictorian of his prestigious private school, who is arrested for murder the morning after graduation… Goldman’s brutally honest dramatization of a dysfunctional family makes for a provocative read.
Haunting questions of parenthood ripple through the pages of this thoughtful second novel.
~ Seattle Post-Intelligencer
As in her first novel, The Slow Way Back, Goldman displays a keen eye here for the character-defining detail.
~ Washington Post
An elegant exploration of the inner workings of an average, middle-class family.
A highly polished novel that is both sad and uplifting, remarkably introspective, personal yet universal… This exceptional novel is Goldman’s strongest, most ambitious work… She continues to exhibit a poetic gift for metaphor and simile with each new work… A riveting read.
~ Creative Loafing, Charlotte, NC
Don’t miss’ A book to keep your eyes on this month: Early Leaving by Judy Goldman.
~ More Magazine
Another book I read on the road has nothing to do with travel, but I loved it so much, I’m going to recommend it anyway: Early Leaving by Judy Goldman. It revolves around the question: Is it possible for a mother to love her child too much? In this case, the child is Early Smallwood, who, according to a short newspaper article on the second page, will be sentenced the following day for a murder he committed hours after giving a graduation speech at his prep school. His mother tells his story as she sees it.
~ Times-Picayune Travel Section, New Orleans, LA
That Goldman is a poet is evident throughout this page-turning second novel… a story of class distinctions, race relations, family ties and the burdens that come with them… Goldman has increased her fan base with this one.
~ The Charlotte Observer
The North Carolina writer expertly takes us through Kathryne’s memories of her marriage, Early’s birth, and how her family arrived at this horrific point.
~ Southern Living
Every mother should read North Carolina writer Judy Goldman’s new novel, Early Leaving… That’s the genius of Goldman’s novel — she makes Kathryne’s attachment to her son seem as natural and normal as anyone’s… Goldman’s prose is rich and so descriptive… Not only does Goldman use language nicely, she slices open the heart of family relationships with the skill of a surgeon. Each character is fully developed, and the anguish the family suffers is palpable. This is one book worth reading.
~ Winston-Salem Journal, Winston Salem, NC
It’s Early Leaving‘s themes, rather than simply its plot, that make it a page-turning read.
~ Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, KY
Early Leaving is a delicate portrait of self-deception. How do we really appear to others, and how does that match what we see in our minds’ own mirrors?
~ Sunday Star-News, Wilmington, NC
Goldman hits a raw nerve.
~ Salisbury Post, Salisbury, NC
Goldman is a talented Southern storyteller who can be whimsical, funny, and serious almost at the same time.
~ Charlotte Magazine
Judy Goldman’s splendid new novel, Early Leaving, is even better than her accomplished first novel, The Slow Way Back. There is a great luminous beauty to her writing that delights me. Few writers in America have ever written with such passion and insight about the joys and great peril of family life.
~ Pat Conroy
Early Leaving is one of those novels you know you’ll remember forever — the wisdom, the compassion, the absolutely brilliant portrait of motherhood. Judy Goldman has painted every parent’s worst nightmare, illuminating denial and everyday mistakes in a way that makes the reader shudder with recognition. Moving, heartbreaking and ultimately a testament to hope and survival, Early Leaving is an extraordinary novel.
~ Jill McCorkle
Judy Goldman’s extraordinary new book, Early Leaving, is the story of a mother who does everything almost right, with utterly dire consequences. Goldman’s Kathryne Smallwood is at once disarmingly honest and deeply self-deceptive. I felt she could be someone I know, if not someone I am; I read with increasing horror as her life unraveled, and with relief as she ultimately remade it. A totally absorbing novel from page one onward.
~ Josephine Humphreys
Early Leaving will scare you and break your heart, even as it thrills and inspires. This novel grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go. Judy Goldman shows that she has become one of our finest novelists in this drama of marriage and motherhood. She takes a close look at our culture, at ourselves, and what she reveals is both moving and true.
~ Robert Morgan
We’ve all wondered just how well we know our children — or if we paint them in our minds with broad strokes to see them as the people we want them to be. Early Leaving is a sensitive, beautifully crafted story of one mother’s abrupt awakening to the truth that relationships are never what they seem to be — not even the ones in which we take part.
~ Jodi Picoult