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Leaving Before the Rains Come

Leaving Before the Rains Come - Alexandra Fuller I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Unlike most readers of this book, I suspect, I have not read Fuller's previous books, so this was my first exposure to her voice. I loved it. She is open, honest, not overly critical but also questioning. She is near a divorce and looking back on her adult life and examining how she got there. What was she looking for in marriage? As an adult, what did she expect from herself? How is her family and upbringing tangled up in all that?

I don't agree with all the choices that she made, but I don't think I need to in order to love the book. I love the writing and the characters she paints around herself. These are, of course, real people, but in a good memoir they also need to be painted as characters. Her voice is clear and strong, and her examination of her own life is inspiring.

The central question of the memoir deals with how to live with risk. Her childhood was fraught with risk, danger. She was looking to escape that when she got married, but none of really can escape it. The finanacial risk was made obvious to her when the recession of 2008 hit, but it was clear before that, as well. The discussion she has with herself in this memoir reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother years ago, when my employment was uncertain and I didn't know where I would be in a year. My mother looked confused at my complaint about the stress of uncertainty. "No one knows where they're going to be in a year,", she said. "They just think they do. You're simply better informed." So we all make choices about how ordered our lives will seem, what rules we choose to enforce. Fuller grew up without rules, and married a man who liked rules. But that seems to be a conflict she needs to resolve now in her adulthood.

In the end, I liked the writing, I liked the ideas, and I liked the author. Great read.