STARRED REVIEW
July 2021

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

By Lauren Hough, narrated by Cate Blanchett
Review by
Author Lauren Hough and actor-producer Cate Blanchett create a heartbreaking and intimate experience for listeners.
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In her collection of intensely personal essays, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing (9 hours), Lauren Hough explores her identities—lesbian, Air Force airman, blue-collar worker and cult survivor—and uses them to critique systemic issues in contemporary American culture.

The audiobook’s narration is shared by Hough and actor-producer Cate Blanchett, who reads the two essays that bookend the collection. Blanchett’s clear, sharp tone allows the wit of Hough’s writing to shine, while Hough’s narration is deadpan, her steady voice capturing each essay’s unabashed honesty. Together, Hough and Blanchett create a heartbreaking and intimate experience for listeners, inviting them to reflect on the possibility and value of genuine human connection.

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing is for audiences who are unafraid to face suffering, loss and vulnerability. Despite its challenging content, it offers a safe place for listeners to discover that they are not alone.

Read our review of the print version of Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing.

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Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

By Lauren Hough, narrated by Cate Blanchett
Random House Audio
ISBN 9780593394229

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