Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Leave Me by Gayle Forman


Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryFor every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.


Review:

Now, I'm not a mom, so maybe reading this seems weird to you. I get it. The whole idea of the book is a married, mother of twins, woman named Maribeth who decides to leave her family behind one day. She's recently had a heart attack and she never even knew it was happening. She figured it was gas and if she hadn't already had a doctor's appointment, where she mentioned her symptoms, she might have continued on not knowing. It's a scary thought, but it's something that's apparently common with women. They don't experience heart attacks the way men do, and they can often go unnoticed.

Anyway, Maribeth is fine. She has surgery, she stays in the hospital for a bit, and then she goes home. Everything should be fine, right? Not so, because all of these resentments start to build up within Maribeth and she doesn't think she can properly heal if she stays in her apartment. Her mom is there to help, but she still leaves things for Maribeth to worry and fret over. Her twins are too young to really know what happened to Maribeth, so their wish for her attention is understandably selfish. As for Maribeth's husband, he spends a lot of his time at work and he doesn't help run the household the way Maribeth did, even with her having her own job as a magazine editor. Everythings piles up until Maribeth leaves her home, with only a note to her husband. She doesn't tell him where she's going, because she doesn't know yet.

I don't want to go into too many details about where Maribeth goes and what she does when she gets there, because it's important that you experience this for yourself. Maribeth might sound harsh to you, but it's easy to understand her and her circumstances. No, I'm not married. I'm not a mom. But I can see how the pressures of these things, as well as unspoken hurts and worries from the past, can build up inside a person. With something so horrible and sudden happening, like a heart attack, it makes sense that someone might want to reevaluate their life. I don't think most of us would run off without telling those we love where we're going, or leave our kids and husband behind, but I'm sure that a lot of people have thought of it.

I appreciated that Forman wasn't afraid to touch on this topic. Moms and wives are human too. They don't always think of coming home to their hectic household a positive thing. Sometimes they just want to head off somewhere and be by themselves. It was interesting to see all that Maribeth experienced and learned about herself when she was away from home. While her taking off might not be something most people do, I do think that getting back to yourself and finding new enjoyments is important in every life. Don't get lost in a role.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, with great characters! I loved that we got to know enough about the secondary characters that they felt three-dimensional and real. It made the whole story come together!

16 comments:

A Canadian Girl said...

Normally I wouldn't condone something like a mom running off without telling anybody where she's going but the circumstances here sounds like it was written well enough to be understandable. I loved Forman's If I Stay/Where She Went but wasn't a fan of Just One Day. I'm curious to see how I'll feel about this one.

Kindlemom said...

I loved her If I Stay as well so I would definitely be willing to give this a try, especially since it looks like it was done well.

Tracy Terry said...

Sounds like an interesting read with some great characters. I suppose a life changing event such as a heart attack could have you re-thinking your life.

Emily Alfano said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I read a book by Forman (I was Here) but I didn't get on with it that much! Maybe this one will be a hit for me though!
Emily @ www.rabbitholereviews.com

Nicole Hewitt said...

I've been curious to see what Forman's adult fare would be like. I think I might have a REALLY hard time with this one, though, because the idea of a mother just leaving her kids with nothing more than a note is really tough for me to swallow. Trust me, I get that parenting is truly overwhelming sometimes and that sometimes we all might want nothing more than to walk away for a while, but doing it seems so selfish to me. Having said all that, it would be interesting to see if Forman could make me empathize with a character I disagreed with.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I honestly don't know how I'd feel about her actions, but I suspect that's sort of the point. As a mom, I don't think I could ever abandon my kid, but I look forward to seeing how things unfolded for her.

Eva @ All Books Considered said...

Great review! I'm not sure this one is for me given the topic but I do think it's an interesting premise and probably a much needed topic. Glad you thought it was well done!

Grace @ RebelMommyBookBlog said...

I agree with all of this! I was so happy she went there with the topic and didn't shy away. I loved all teh secondary characters so much. Great review!

Medeia Sharif said...

I didn't know she wrote adult fiction. I am curious to read this.

Christy LoveOfBooks said...

I think every mom has had that fantasy of running away. I enjoyed her other books, so I'd like to see how she handles this subject.

Tanya Atkinson said...

So glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren! I've been hearing really good things about it. I'm pretty hit or miss with Forman so I'd have to be truly excited about a synopsis to pick up one by her again. I'm not sure this one is it, though.

Karen Alderman said...

Life is complicated and I'm sure Forman is just the person to write this kind of story well even if the reader doesn't agree with her actions.

Karen @For What It's Worth

Naomi Hop said...

This sounds like quite the journey for Maribeth... I'm a Mother, and I know what she's feeling! I want a holiday from my family at times!

Keertana said...

I've seen a lot of reviews that express similar sentiments so while I'm definitely going to read this, I'll alter my expectations going in. Great review!

Writing Pearls said...

Great review. I felt like I got a good sense of the book. This isn't one I'm interested in, but your review helped me decide that. It was good. I understand a mom needing a break especially if she's not getting the help she needs at home.

Lexxie Lin said...

Great review, Lauren!
I don't think you have to be a mom or a wife to 'get' Maribeth! I am both, and while I don't see myself actually running away from home - leaving my husband and the kids behind - I could still understand her reasoning. She really wasn't getting better, and her husband seemed quite clueless.
Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews