In this wise and provocative book, MacArthur prize–winning sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot illuminates the myriad exits we make in our lives. For two years she traveled around the country listening to people tell their stories of leaving, witnessing rituals of goodbye—a gay man who finds home and wholeness after coming out of the closet, for example, as well as a 16-year-old-boy forced to leave Iran during a violent civil war, a Catholic priest who leaves the church, and an anthropologist who stages her departure from the field after years of research. Lawrence-Lightfoot finds the universal patterns that reframe our exit narratives, and the wisdom in the possibility of moving on with dignity and grace.
"The resonant testimonials Lawrence-Lightfoot spotlights nicely dovetail into a conclusion befitting her research into the inevitability of departures and our individual choice to accept or bemoan them. A finely researched examination that sheds a new light on the catharsis of goodbye."—Kirkus Reviews