Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: For 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.
|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!