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How to Walk Away

A Novel
Written by: Katherine Center
Narrated by: Therese Plummer
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable audiobook about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.  

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity and who sees her like no one has seen her before. 

Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.  

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best - a masterpiece of an audiobook that is both hopeful and hilarious, truthful and wise, tender and brave.

©2018 Katherine Center (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

"If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away." (Nina George, New York Times best-selling author of The Little Paris Bookshop)

"Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed." (Emily Giffin, New York Times best-selling author of First Comes Love)

"I can't think of a blurb good enough for this novel...poignant, funny, heartbreaking." (Jenny Lawson, best-selling author of Furiously Happy)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!!!

Narrator really sets the mood. After listening makes me wonder what if it happened to you?

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • VS
  • 2019-03-11

Cute little fairy tale

This is a fairy tale for adults. It's a cute story, it's very positive, easy reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a story that just keeps getting better

I wasn't too sure at the beginning of the story but it ended up getting better and better. Highly recommended.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tropicalart77
  • 2018-05-17

An Uplifting Story

I’m not sure the book or the performance portrays the deep despair, trauma, pain, etc. that happens in this kind of life altering event. The plot is basically about changing your own perspectives and expectations and that will give you a reason to live.


It felt like the author sacrificed some reality to make the trauma palatable. If you are facing immense hardship the morality could feel over simplified. I agree that there will be opportunities to rebuild a life but it isn’t simple and it certainly takes time.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maria
  • 2018-06-18

Such a terrific book... I loved it!

I bought this audiobook primarily because I'm a fan of the narrator Therese Plummer, who definitely did not disappoint. She's such a pleasure to listen to, and so very engaging. She even rocked the Scottish male accent, which is a feat! The book itself was wonderful. From the start, I was hooked and listened nearly all the way through. It's a story of tragedy, of triumph, of frustration, and of overcoming obstacles to get to the point where you just cherish life and all the ups and downs that come with it. It's an inspiring, uplifting story that had all the elements of a hit without the cheesy, saccharin scenes that authors typically weave into novels like this. Margaret was such a likeable character, and I rooted for her the entire time. It was realistic, genuine, and an overall fantastic book. The ending was perfect, and I'll definitely be looking for more from Katherine Center. Five stars across the board on this one!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • bookbruin
  • 2019-08-04

There Are All Kinds of Happy Endings

Overall 4.5 stars
Performance 5 stars
Story 4.5 stars

I actually did things a little backwards with this book and read the short bridge story The Girl In the Plane first, thinking it would get me ready for my arc of Things You Save in a Fire. The novella is meant to connect How to Walk Away with Center's upcoming novel Things You Save in a Fire, but I instantly wanted to learn more about Maggie, so I decided to read/listen to How to Walk Away first. I do not regret that decision at all.

From the moment the story started, I was hooked and invested. I loved Maggie's voice and the author's writing style was engaging and entertaining. Therese Plummer's narration was absolutely phenomenal and she gave one of the most emotional performances I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. She embodied Maggie and her timing and delivery really brought this story to life. I did not want to stop listening once I started. I took my dog for longer and longer walks so that I could get back to this story. It was heartbreaking and tragic, but also so uplifting and hopeful. I absolutely loved the message of how helping others helps yourself and that there are all kinds of happy endings.

Some parts of the story played out predictably, but it was Maggie's emotional journey that had me riveted. Yes, there is romance, but I didn't feel it overshadowed the greater message. It was as much about the relationships and love between parent and child and sisters as it was about romantic love. Ian and Maggie complemented each other so well. The gradual build up and tenderness that developed between them felt natural and organic. Maggie's sister, Kit, really stole the show any time she was on the page. She added some wonderful comic relief and helped bring some much needed levity to the story. This was a beautifully written novel that truly touched my heart. I cannot wait to dive into Center's next book, Things You Save in a Fire.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • watermehlen
  • 2019-04-14

cheesey and predictable

I spent a credit on this after reading so many rave reviews. However, this wasn't my cup of tea. You may enjoy this if you are a big fan of chick flicks and chick lit. A little too bubble-gummy for me. The narrator didn't do the book any favors.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Christina
  • 2018-05-19

Really wanted to like this

This book was entertaining but predictable to a fault. It bordered on 'romance' at times. A bit too fluffy for me but if you're looking for something light this is it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Angie
  • 2018-05-22

Interesting story and Great Narrator

Maggie & Kit are great characters!. Funny and interesting. I thought the subject would be sad, but the story line and writing keeps you positive and involved.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Glitterific
  • 2018-05-21

Resilience Conquers All

The arc of the novel was completely formulaic, but it happens to be a formula that works so well, I still loved listening to this work!

Girl has all, girl loses most, girl gets more... the transformative power of love of family, self, and an accented stranger... who could ask for more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cheryl Cook
  • 2018-05-17

beautiful story

This story was eye opening, made you think about life and how quickly it can change.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • NICOLE LOPICCOLO (Nicole's Book Blog and Review)
  • 2018-05-23

Best book this year!

Ian and Maggie are hands down the best! I couldn’t stop with this book. I laughed, grinned like a fool, cried convulsively with hot tears rolling down my face. I didn’t want this to end.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carolyn S Chance
  • 2018-06-01

Wonderful, just wonderful

I just love everything about this book, AND the narrator! Can't wait to find more by this author!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful