Book Review | Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Title: Leave The World Behind

Author: Rumaan Alam

Publisher: Bloomsbury 

Release Date: 6th October 2020

Source: NetGalley 

Buy: Amazon UK

Amanda and Clay head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they've rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple – it's their house, and they've arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area – with the TV and internet now down, and no phone service – it's hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple – and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

I think this will be a book to divide readers.  Why? I’ll get to that in to that shortly but the premise of the book is good, a family go to a swanky Air BnB in a remote part of Long Island to leave NYC behind and spend some quality relaxation time.  Their peaceful stay is interrupted when the owners of the property turn up late one night and reveal to them that all is not ok back in the city.

So that description definitely got my attention.  Our family of four is Amanda, her husband Clay and teens Rose and Archie, they are white and I would say upper middle class.  The adults have good jobs and the teens are typically addicted to the internet.  The vacation is quality time, the house is something else, immaculate with a pool and a hot tub with no one around for miles.  They spend their days eating, drinking, reading and swimming, its bliss until their peace is shattered.

They find an older couple on their doorstep asking to come in, the couple are black and not very well dressed, Amanda and Clay needless to say are not happy about letting them in but the couple reveal they are the owners and after some convincing are invited in.  Ruth and G.W are a lovely older couple but they still have a time of it convincing the others that they aren’t going to be murdered in their beds.  They have left NYC in a hurry, the city has suffered a major power outage and they wanted to come to Long Island where they hoped they would be safe.  Needing proof of this event Amanda tries to go online to find out and discovers the internet is down, as is the telephone and TV, what is going on out there, if anything at all?  Should they be worried?

I really wanted to love this story however there was definitely some things that just weren’t for me. It could be really over descriptive, think using fifty words instead of five, now I don’t mind that in small doses but it was all the way through.  Amanda went shopping near the start of the book and a couple of pages were devoted to her many many items.  Bodily functions are also very well described.

The book feels a little incomplete, the ending I felt left me with a lot of questions.  Whilst I was reading I did think that it would be better as film or series instead of a book and I see that Netflix has picked it up with Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts starring in it and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it on screen.  Amanda was not a very likeable character and It’ll be interesting to see Julia’s take on that.

I did love the setting, an exquisite house standing within a forest, no one around, the best kind of setting for something going down.  An interesting read but didn’t quite hit the mark for me but I know others love it and you may too.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.



  1. It sure sounds like a cool story idea, sorry it didn't quite work for you. I'm curious about the Netflix film😁

    1. I think the Netflix film will be good, it’ll work well on the screen.

  2. This really piqued my curiosity, even if you didn't love it! Now I need to know how things turn out!

  3. I won't tell you about our first, extremely creepy AirBNB experience. The premise here sounds rich with possibility. Too bad the execution did not please you. I do believe it is possible for the internet to go down, at least for us regular people. It would be a terrible shock.

    1. I think I need to know about your experience!! It was just too much descriptive wise, I am looking forward to seeing what Netflix comes up with.

  4. Thanks for your review on this one. I think I'll pass then

    1. It won’t be for everyone plus you’ll be able to watch it on Netflix!

  5. That premise is so so good, isn't it? It's probably the main reason a lot are reading or planning to read this book. I certainly struggle with wordy books so I'm sure that will bother me as well.


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