Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me is Gayle Forman’s first book “starring adult characters,” as she described it at BEA. She wanted to write a story about marriage and motherhood, with scenes of family life. I think Gayle has found her calling! I enjoyed her young adult fiction, but I loved this book!

Maribeth has the hectic life of a mother who is working full time. She’s juggling everything – her career, her household duties, and caring for her twin 4-year olds. She’s doing too much, and she doesn’t feel like her husband supports her at all. When she has a heart attack at 44-years old, she is truly terrified that it might happen again and that she might die. When she comes home from the hospital, her husband expects things to go back to normal. Yes, her mother is there “helping out,” and her best friend and boss doesn’t expect her to come back to work right away, but she’s still not really given the time and space she needs to heal, so she runs away.

The first 100 pages of this book were riveting. I couldn’t put it down. I keep thinking, “Every mother needs to read this book.” It was so spot on! Once Maribeth runs away, it becomes a story about finding herself. She was adopted, and she yearns to understand whether her health issues have root in her heritage. Gayle draws on the classic YA contemporary plot line and applies it to her adult character. It worked really well, although the middle of the book dragged just slightly for me.

I loved the characters in this book. Maribeth was me and all of my friends. She was so relatable, and I identified with her right away. Her husband, Jason, had a lot more depth than I had originally given him credit for, and I felt for him by the end of the book as well. Maribeth makes a few friends along the way, and they added to the story as well. They all had enough background and characterization to bring their own elements into the plot. I especially loved the surrogate children – the college kids living in Maribeth’s apartment complex. The scene with the frozen Thanksgiving turkey was a lot of fun.

Leave Me is a wonderful contemporary fiction story. I think anyone who’s been a mother or even felt overwhelmed by life will enjoy it. Go get your copy now! You won’t regret reading it.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher at BEA 2016 in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.

Leave Me
Gayle Forman
Algonquin Books
September 6, 2016

International bestselling author Gayle Forman's trademark humor and insight abound in this masterful adult debut, showing us that sometimes you have to leave home in order to find it again.

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.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

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