- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 26, 2016
For fans of The Language of Flowers, a sparkling, big-hearted, page-turning debut set in the
1970s about a young black boy’s quest to reunite with his beloved white half-brother after they are separated in foster care.
Leon loves chocolate bars, Saturday morning cartoons, and his beautiful, golden-haired baby brother. When Jake is born, Leon pokes his head in the crib and says, “I’m your brother. Big brother. My. Name. Is. Leon. I am eight and three quarters. I am a boy.” Jake will play with no one but Leon, and Leon is determined to save him from any pain and earn that sparkling baby laugh every chance he can.
But Leon isn’t in control of this world where adults say one thing and mean another, and try as he might he can’t protect his little family from everything. When their mother falls victim to her inner demons, strangers suddenly take Jake away; after all, a white baby is easy to adopt, while a half-black nine-year-old faces a less certain fate. Vowing to get Jake back by any means necessary, Leon’s own journey—on his brand-new BMX bike—will carry him through the lives of a doting but ailing foster mother, Maureen; Maureen’s cranky and hilarious sister, Sylvia; a social worker Leon knows only as “The Zebra”; and a colorful community of local gardeners and West Indian political activists.
Told through the perspective of nine-year-old Leon, too innocent to entirely understand what has happened to him and baby Jake, but determined to do what he can to make things right, he stubbornly, endearingly struggles his way through a system much larger than he can tackle on his own. My Name Is Leon is a vivid, gorgeous, and uplifting story about the power of love, the unbreakable bond between brothers, and the truth about what, in the end, ultimately makes a family.
This book was well written and beautifully done. Sometimes a book comes along and takes your breath away.
Leon is a 9 year boy who doesn’t have a a great family life. He lives with his mom, who is a drug addict and baby brother Jack. Leon loves Jack and it’s evident throughout the book. A sweet love that is broken when Leon and Jack are torn apart when they are fostered.
It’s so heart wrenching because no one wants to adopt a mixed race child, so Leon is left behind while his brother is adopted. Left alone Leon finds he just wants his family back. He’s left with questions of why he was left behind? Why is his brother gone? Through his journey of discovery Leon meets some great people that give him hope and friendship.
I love that the setting was in the early 80s and Waal does a wonderful job at describing the era. And Leon was so well written that the reader connects with him and roots for him all the way. Every heartache of his you feel. Every joy you feel. You want Leon to succeed and find his happy place.
Should you read it? Yes! This book was beautifully written and leaves you with all the emotions. You fall in love with Leon immediately.
Thank you Simon and Schuster for this book in exchange for an honest review!
About the Author:
Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader’s Choice Prize 2014. My Name is Leon is her first novel. She has two children.Send