‘Hough’s conversational prose reads like the voice of a blues singer, taking breaks between songs to narrate her heartbreak in verse, cajoling her audience to laugh to keep from crying’ – The New York Times
‘Hough’s writing will break your heart’ – Roxane Gay, author of Difficult Women
‘Each one told with the wit of David Sedaris, and the insight of Joan Didion’ – Telegraph
‘This moving account of resilience and hard-earned agency brims with a fresh originality’ – Publishers Weekly
Searing and extremely personal essays from the heart of working-class America, shot through with the darkest elements the country can manifest – cults, homelessness, and hunger – while discovering light and humor in unexpected corners.
As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe but it wasn’t until she finally left for good that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond “The Family.”
Along the way, she’s loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. Here, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America–relying on friends, family, and strangers alike–she begins to excavate a new identity even as her past continues to trail her and color her world, relationships, and perceptions of self.
At once razor-sharp, profoundly brave, and often very, very funny, the essays in Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future.
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