nina's Reviews > What You Have Left

What You Have Left by Will Allison
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's review
Oct 22, 2007

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in November, 2007

I love the double entendre of the title which can be interpreted as 1) what you left behind and 2) what remains. The book canvases both definitions, exploring the lives of a woman whose father abandoned her as a child after the death of her mother, her husband, and the father.

The author creates several striking contrasts in the book to demonstrate how people react, internalize and express differently. Cal, the grandfather, and Wylie, the father, both suffer from neurological diseases but take very different treatment routes. Wylie, who left his daughter, is employed to serve papers to parents fighting to keep their children in custody battles.

It's a great read, but the well-written chapters (told by three perspectives, in part to show that this experience does not just affect those directly involved) make you long for more, especially when the book ends quite quickly.

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