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‘Hough’s writing will break your heart’ – Roxane Gay, author of Difficult Women

‘An edgy and unapologetic memoir in essays’ – Kirkus Reviews

‘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.

Reviews

Lauren Hough's extraordinary essay collection Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing is as powerful as it is poignant. So many moments in this exceptionally crafted essays brought me to tears and before long I would find myself laughing as Hough wielded her razor sharp wit. This is one of those rare books that will instantly become part of the literary canon and the world of letters will be better for it.
Roxane Gay, author of Difficult Women
Lauren Hough's Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing is so brilliant, so humane and pissed off and hysterically funny and thought-provoking, and so beautifully written it's hard to describe except to say that it's a book that is going to mean a lot to a lot of people, and it might cause some fights, and you better read it so you can have the pleasure of reading it and the pleasure of talking about it with everyone.
Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway
Lauren Hough is the best new voice I've read in years: fiercely honest, funny, brazen, and unrepentant.
Heather Havrilesky, Ask Polly columnist and author of What If This Were Enough?
Hough's direct, no bullshit manner will have you laughing and nodding your head in agreement. If you are a fan of memoir and books about moving through life overcoming any obstacle in your way or, if, like me, you love reading about strong queer people - then this book is for you!
Christina Pascucci-Ciampa, Boston Magazine
[Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing] is a killer debut, as riveting for its content as it is for its captivating style.
BookPage, '2021 preview: Most anticipated nonfiction'
These essays mine [Hough's] eclectic, fascinating life and her efforts to create her own identity. Plus, she's a fabulous writer.
Deborah Dundas, The Toronto Star
An edgy and unapologetic memoir in essays.
Kirkus Reviews
This moving account of resilience and hard-earned agency brims with a fresh originality.
Publishers Weekly