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Leaving the Beach: A Novel of Obsession and Music
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Leaving the Beach: A Novel of Obsession and Music

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  74 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Written with heart and keen observation about the day-to-day struggles of a “functioning bulimic,” Leaving the Beach explores the power of fantasy, then shoves it up against harsh reality until something has to give in this women’s novel set on the sandy beaches of Winthrop, Massachusetts.

Meet Erin Reardon, a lonely bulimic woman who believes she’s fated to save grunge mus
Paperback, 270 pages
Published April 2nd 2014 by Booktrope Editions (first published March 27th 2014)
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Erin Reardon has never had it easy and living a life of secrets can be a lonely one. Never able to make deep connections to people in real life she has always found comfort in music and the men behind the songs. When Erin has a chance encounter with Lenny Weir, the troubled God of grunge rock, she knows it's fate calling and maybe, just maybe they are meant to save one another.

I went into this one expecting a fun groupie/music story and got so much more. Flipping from present to past with each c
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Leaving the Beach: A Novel of Obsession and Music by Mary Rowen is a 2014 Bookthrope publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"She lives her life through the songs she hears on the rock and roll radio, and when a young girl doesn't have many friends that's a really nice place to go."
Angie Baby by Helen Reddy

Erin Reardon has had an unconventional childhood to say the least. Her parents marriage was a sham and then her father dies in an accident when Erin wa
Stevie McCoy
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Discover how self-perception can turn your life around in this inspiring story!

Everyday there is another person who says to themselves, "Not many other people know what I'm going through. I know what I'm doing is harmful, but it's what gets me to tomorrow."

In this touching, dark, realistic story about Erin, a girl who's suffered through loss, self-esteem issues, and an eating disorder she takes on the world one step at a time and through her delusions decides not only to save herself, but also h
Jennifer S. Brown
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received an advance copy of "Leaving the Beach" from the author, whom I know. The book is a fast-paced read even though it covers heavy topics. Erin, the protagonist, has dealt with tremendous loss in her life and Rowen explores it honestly and sometimes brutally. Erin is a bulimic and it can be difficult to read the scenes in which she is grappling with this, yet perhaps because they were so difficult, they felt quite real.

Erin becomes enmeshed in music and in its lighter moments, "Leaving t
Karen Samuelson
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Once I started reading Leaving the Beach, given to me in advance by the publisher, I wanted to keep on reading: a sure sign of an intriguing and evolving story. Rowen doesn't shy away from Erin, her protagonist's gritty struggles and there are many: identity, acceptance, guilt, obsessions, sexuality, and the self-destructive nature of bulimia. Throughout it all, Erin's love for music and musicians is the tie that binds. Interesting for all ages, I can imagine this novel as a wonderful catalyst f ...more
Jen Gilbert
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book left an impact. I know very little about what life is like for a functioning gal with an eating disorder. And this book paints a stunning portrait of the heartache and challenge anyone facing this experiences. Mix it with my love of music and not only did I learn quite a bit and experience deep empathy and compassion for anyone who has struggled with their eating habits, but I also loved the descriptions of the music and the life and times of Erin. She is an unlikely character in ...more
Ann Mangano
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I started reading Leaving the Beach the minute the publisher, Booktrope, gave me an advanced copy and I could not put it down. The main character’s passage from high school to adulthood and all her hopes, dreams and struggles that accompany that journey is true to heart on so many levels. The twists and turns in the plot keep the reader wanting more!!! Erin felt like a high school friend by the time I reached the end!! Very engaging story line!
Hazel *Craves the Angst Reviews*
Find This and Other Reviews At Craves The Angst.

I was gifted a copy from Booktrope Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Inspiring, Healing Stars!
A Poignant, Painful Journey to Self-Discovery and Rebirth!

The Review:
This was a unique and powerful read for me. Along with being intense and emotional at times it was also genuine and fun! Sometimes good, sometimes heartbreaking, from the beginning, this book is an extraordinary journey as our heroine takes off on an adventure of self-
Terry Tyler
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read Mary Rowen's other novel, Living By Ear, about a year ago and liked it very much indeed, but hadn't got round to reading this as I knew it centred round a woman's struggle with bulimia, not a subject in which I have much interest. Then I decided to give it a go - and I'm so glad I did. It's nothing like the serious, emotional drama I expected. Yes, of course it centres around this eating disorder, but the story's about so much more; Erin Reardon's bulimia is only one element of her bizarr ...more
Dave O'Leary
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A touching first-person account of bulimia and the struggle to fit in, the struggles we face with addiction, the struggle to be loved. It's also about the power of music. The writing shifts well from the desperate loneliness of Erin Reardon as she forces herself to throw up, feeling used and dirty and with her face covered in vomit-laden splashes from the toilet, to the joys felt experiencing music for she is a music lover to the point of obsession, to the point where it fills up the missing spa ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was pulled into the story quickly. First by the title because I LOVE the beach and then by the story of obsession with music. I too love music but have never been a groupie like Erin would like to be, but deep down I think it would be cool. I have met several famous musicians and always find it exciting.

My husband is always digging into the lyrics of songs and wondering where the writer came up with the inspiration and the true meaning of each song. So I also find it interesting to find that h
Meg Hannon
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Leaving the Beach is a powerful and poignant book whose main character, Erin Reardon, is a teenage girl in a painful parental relationship. She has no self-worth, is lonely and isolated. This situation leads to a long struggle with bulimia.

The story evolves over the years as Erin struggles but is willing to reach out to others. How she deals with her passion for rock music and rock icons, meets new friends, a boss that hits on her and finds a lover with his own struggles and weaknesses is very i
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this as an Advanced Reader Copy, and feel lucky I did. This is the line that made me fall in love with this book: "I loved the way Colin’s gentle Bono‑esque brogue turned me—plain old Erin Reardon—into Aerin, a Celtic princess, a fairy from the moors." I love that line, and it kind of captures for me the humility, the gratefulness, and the capacity to dream that mark the heroine of this book. The music is like a rich character in and of itself, from the Cobain-like Lenny Weir to my belove ...more
Lauren Jordahl
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
So much more than sex, drugs and rock & roll!

I am fortunate to know this awesome author and had received an advance copy of this book. What really caught my attention with this book was the brutal honesty of the main character, Erin. She takes a journey and Rowen brings us as the reader along for the ride. This book deals with some very heavy subjects but in a thoughtful, caring way. We get a real insight into what makes Erin "tick" and how she evolves as a woman and as a friend. The book g
Ina Zajac
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read an advanced reader copy, and am so happy I did. Other reviewers have already praised Leaving the Beach for its moving and inspirational depiction of Erin's world. I wholeheartedly agree. Author Mary Rowen really gets us into Erin's head. I found her journey to be compelling and relatable. I got caught up in Rowen's honest, emotional writing style.

I am a music lover, so I found Rowen's music references to be delicious. She knows her stuff. Leaving the Beach was a terrific read.
Arleen Williams
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Leaving the Beach is the story of Erin Reardon, an over-weight, self-destructive, bulimic whose passion for music leads her to fantasize about finding love and acceptance in the arms of a rock star. Definitely a book for music lovers of the grunge scene, author Mary Rowen artfully laces music trivia into a heart-wrenching story of obsession. (4.5)
Joanne Horgan
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quick, super interesting read! I loved reading this unique story, and enjoyed it more and more as the plot and main character developed. As someone who has never struggled with bulimia, I made some assumptions about what this character "should be like". Those were pretty quickly squashed and I thoroughly enjoyed this characters journey through early adulthood. I could not put it down!
Kate Anslinger
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The author does a great job at describing Winthrop and I easily became caught up in Erin Reardon's life. I felt sympathy for her right from the start.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read! I am so happy I was given an advance copy, great story, couldn't put it down, my kids have suffered. Looking forward to more books from this author.
E.C. Moore
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying, Leaving the Beach was not the book I expected. The cover and title caught my eye, so I made a hasty purchase. And that’s why I’m glad I didn’t take the time to read the blurb. I didn’t know what to expect, and right from the get-go I was propelled into Erin’s self-deceptive life. A perpetual outsider who tends to loath herself and elevate others to lofty heights they don’t deserve—I soon discovered Erin to be an unreliable, although likable protagonist, and began to quest ...more
Connie Mayo
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I met this author at a literary event, and although four out of five novels I read are historical fiction, Leaving the Beach piqued my interest. Set in Massachusetts in various towns I've all been to, with a protagonist coming of age in the 80s, obsessed with music and unable to put the brakes on her bulimia. But this had the feel of a book that was a bit more quirky than my regular fare. I turned to the first page with caution.

My fear was unwarranted. There is something just so engaging about E
Stephanie Ortez
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Definitely on my top list. Mary Rowen is a brilliant writer, I fell in love with her style of writing and her vast knowledge of music which makes "Leaving the Beach" an incredibly memorable book. It is very close to my heart, I quickly connected with Erin, her struggles with an eating disorder, connecting music to important events in her life, even her mistakes and few bumps on the road are what made this character so endearing. After a rough storm, peace arrives like a summer breeze. I highly r ...more
Nicole Lyons
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Right from the first page of Leaving The Beach I was hooked. Mary Rowen writes with such a deep care for Erin that while you read this book you feel as though you are right there with Erin, experiencing everything she does. Her pain is your pain, and her discomfort is yours. It takes a very special writer to be able to transport the reader into the story like Mary does so well in this book.

I highly recommend leaving The beach to everyone whether they are music lovers, battling addiction, eating
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arc
Somewhat sad story of Erin, a girl struggling with an eating disorder (among other thing including identity, sexuality, etc) and how she copes and deals and moves through life. Her sturggle to fit in is something most of us have dealt with a tsome point in our life. Erin loves music (almost to the point of obsession) and s somewhat a groupie. You find yourself caught up in Erin Reardon's life and feel as if you "know" her. Great job by the author of portraying Erin and what she thinks and feels! ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
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Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Teens
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Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mary Rowen's description of Erin's miserable high-school years was so realistic I couldn't stop reading. Erin could have been me, with her rock star fantasies, dismal social life, and her eating disorder. The writing is vivid and wonderful. Erin stumbles through adulthood the way many of us do, but gradually finds her way. I loved it.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Although I was sympathetic to Erin's problems, she was not a very likeable character. Leaving the Beach had a surprising ending but I am torn as to whether I would recommend it.
Eleanor Sapia
rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2015
Heidi Schultz
rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2014
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Mary Rowen is a Boston area mom with a wonderful family that allows her time to write almost every day.
She grew up in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley and graduated from Providence College. She has worked as a writer, teacher, salesperson, and political canvasser.
More about Mary Rowen