How to Leave (Hardcover)

Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality

By Erin Clune

Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781632868541, 272pp.

Publication Date: October 9, 2018

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


An uproarious memoir/tongue-in-cheek guide to leaving the cool city in which you "found" yourself and moving somewhere far more ordinary.

So you escaped whatever humdrum little town you grew up in and moved to The Big City. Maybe it was New York. Maybe it was Seattle or Kansas City. Wherever it was, there was amazing stuff everywhere you turned: Ethiopian food! A movie theater that played documentaries! A hairstylist who knew what to do with frizz! You overlooked the proximity of your kitchen to your bed, and the fact that you had to take public transportation to see nature.

But then you got a job offer you couldn't refuse. Or you developed asthma. Or you got pregnant. Or you got pregnant for the second time and you couldn't use your closet as a bedroom for two babies. And you decided you had to leave.

When Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys said that if you could make it in New York, you could make it anywhere, they probably weren't talking about whatever suburb you used to make fun of. Because it's hard to "make it" without world-class museums and gourmet food trucks. Erin Clune regales readers with priceless stories of her own experiences leaving New York for her hometown in Wisconsin, and provides a jocular but useful guide--for anyone leaving, or thinking about leaving, their own personal mecca--to finding contentment while staying true to yourself in a place far, far away from The City.

About the Author

Erin Clune is a journalist and comedic writer whose work is regularly featured on NPR's All Things Considered, PRI's To the Best of Our Knowledge, and in Medium, The Rumpus, and many other media outlets where information meets funny. She is also the co-author (along with Today show producers Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner) of Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons. Clune lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with two kids, two cats, one husband, one dog, one guinea pig, and zero doormen.

Praise For How to Leave: Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality

“Clever and amusing . . . Clune's helpful narrative is peppered with entertaining anecdotes and humorous asides . . . This is a hilarious and comforting book for the recently relocated.” —Publishers Weekly

“From the passive-aggressive code of the Midwestern 'I'm sorry' to the challenges of learning the local food culture, Clune walks through the four stages of relocation shock (and the many setbacks along the way) with the humor, empathy, and helpfulness of a good friend.” —Booklist

“A wry debut by a humorist and journalist that combines memoir with tongue-in-check self-help . . . Even readers with no intention of uprooting their lives will likely be amused by Clune's low-key and relatable adventures.” —Kirkus Reviews

"This hilarious memoir will resonate with anyone who's ever left the hustle and bustle of city life for a more quiet existence." - Real Simple, “Best Books of 2018”

"Clune's real strength is her nuanced understanding of the mixed emotions that go along with fumbled attempts to reestablish oneself in a new place. She has solid advice for making new friends and gives space to grieve friendships lost in the process . . . Relocating is difficult, but Erin Clune's humorous advice can make that transition a little easier." - Shelf Awareness

"How to Leave is destined to be turned into a network TV sitcom. Or at least it should be. I hope that Amy Poehler reads the book and realizes that she’d make a perfect Erin Clune." - Inside Higher Ed

"Sardonic and self-deprecating . . . it offers relatable observations and practical coping mechanisms for a very first-world prognosis." - The Sunday Times’ Style magazine (UK)