“He said it so casually. While your heart was stopped. And suddenly she was yanked from the fog…she wasn’t sure why, but this felt like a threshold she had crossed, leaving everyone and everything she had ever known on the other side.”
– Gayle Forman, Leaving Me
From the bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here comes a stunning new novel for Forman’s adult readers, an unflinching portrait of a woman confronting the joys and sorrows of marriage, motherhood, and friendship. Meet Maribeth Klein, a harried working mother who is so busy taking care of her husband and twins that she doesn’t even realise, working late one evening, that she has 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. Far from the demands of family and career, and with the help of new friendships, she is finally able to own up to the secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.
Leave Me is the first adult novel from award-winning young adult author Gayle Forman. In a move away from teen stories, Forman explores the adult relationship between a working mother and her family, past and present. I have previously read one of Forman’s YA stories – If I Stay – and was curious to see what her adult story would be like…
Maribeth is a 40-something working mother, struggling to find balance in her hectic life. She begins to feel unwell, attributing the feelings to being run down, however, a chance appointment with her gynecologist ends with her in the emergency room at the hospital – she is actually having a life-threatening heart attack! After bypass surgery, Maribeth goes home to find her fantasies about being waited on were just that, a fantasy. Her family is still totally dependent on her doing everything for them and so she takes drastic action. She walks away from them all and finds herself heading to Pittsburgh, the city she was adopted from. It is there she meets a cardiologist with secrets of his own and Janice Pickering, founder of a website helping adopted children find their birth family. Maribeth gives herself the time and space she needs to recover and to find out where she came from – and hopefully where she’s going.
Leave Me was an interesting book. I think it represents the frustrations and difficulties faced by working mothers – the longing of having it all and the realities of juggling it – really well. Although I’m not a mother yet, I can relate it back to the mothers in my life and seeing the struggles they face. Despite being quite a complicated topic, I feel like Forman didn’t quite tackle it with the same gusto I expected her to. I felt that it lacked a level of maturity and depth I expected from an adult book (as opposed to a YA treatment of the same topic). Some of Maribeth’s actions are left without consequence and everything was tied up a little too well… however, I still enjoyed the book. I read it in a day and felt that it was paced well enough that I wanted to keep reading. Forman’s writing is easy to read and her characters are open and believable. Leave Me is the perfect holiday read!
AUTHOR: Gayle Forman
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
PUB DATE: September 2016
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!