Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

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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.

Publication Date: 6th September 2016

Goodreads

I spent a really long time pondering whether or not I thought Maribeth was absolutely despicable or just someone who was a terrifyingly honest portrayal of the modern woman.

At the end of the book, with tears streaming down my face, I finally decided on the latter.

Plot

Leave Me follows Maribeth, a working mother of young twins who is constantly trying to balance being a mother and maintaining a career as an editor. Every day she comes home harried and stressed. She juggles ten million things and yet still seems to be doing pretty alright. That is, until she has a heart attack and her family immediately falls apart as the main cog in the whole machine splutters to a stop.

With her family clamouring at her and Maribeth being fresh out of a major surgery, she understandably starts to feel extremely cloistered and then:

She leaves.

She packs up with only a note left behind and moves. She gets a new house, new friends, a new (albeit damaged) doctor and she disappears.

Characters 

Maribeth 

For a long time in the book, I was furious at Maribeth. How could she just leave her two young kids like that? How could someone who claimed to love her children so much that she felt actual terror at how much she loved them just pack up and leave them. Without so much as a single arrangement made, she packs up, disappears and doesn’t make any contact for over a month. It was beyond me.

Until I realised that every single one of us is a Maribeth. We may not be parents. We may not have any of the stresses Maribeth had. We may not even have a single health problem.

But we are all Maribeths because at one point or the other, we have all flirted with the idea of just packing our bags and disappearing.

It just so happened that Maribeth acted on it.

Now of course this opened up a whole new discussion within myself about who the heck gave Maribeth the permission to do what we regular people can only fantasise about.

And then, something interesting happened in my life. I fell sick last week (that’s one of the reasons why it was radio silence from me for a while) Anyway, because of the nature of my job, I could not take any leave and so I had to struggle to work and interviews and movies previews last week all while fighting a horrid flu.

Now I’ve always felt been the kind of person that people come to when they need help because I generally love to help people and I gladly do it. But I guess it was a combination of feeling sick and stressed that caused me to mentally breakdown for two days last week.

About the middle of the week, I had so much going on and on top of that, it seemed like everyone wanted a piece of me all at once. With the people I loved clamouring for my attention while I was so sick, I just snapped a bit.

And it was after that mental breakdown that I finally saw why she had to leave.

She had no choice. She had to leave to heal. She had to stop the mental breakdown. Because some people can handle it but some people just can’t. Some people really just need their bubble.

So at the end, I surprised myself by actually not hating Maribeth. Sure she made some questionable decisions while she was away that even I can’t rationalise away but she wasn’t a horrible person and really, neither were her husband or best friend.

Sunita, Todd, Stephen & Janice

I loved all the supporting characters that entered Maribeth’s new life and helped her as she tried to recreate herself in order to heal. I just thought that they made wonderful additions to the book. I love how big-heart everyone was and how willing they were to help her. Bitchy characters are overrated. These people just made the book perfect.

Overall

When I reached the end of this book, I was in tears because of how honest and raw it was. This book will really make you think very deeply about your deepest desires. It will make you question your morals. It’s a silent killer. It has reasoning that will really sneak up behind you and kick your feet out from under you.

But honestly, that is why I think this is the best book Gayle Forman has written in a long time. And that’s saying something.

My-Rating-5-Stars

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13 thoughts on “Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

  1. Read Voraciously says:

    “I spent a really long time pondering whether or not I thought Maribeth was absolutely despicable or just someone who was a terrifyingly honest portrayal of the modern woman.

    At the end of the book, with tears streaming down my face, I finally decided on the latter.”

    Literally my exact thoughts and reaction to this book!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Read Voraciously says:

        I am a working mother of one young child- though my husband is much better at handling things than Maribeth’s was but it really struck a cord with moments I have reminisced about life before kids. Emotional to say the least.

        Like

      • camilliadass says:

        I have to admit that I was very curious as to how a mother might respond to this book. As so
        meone who is neither married nor has a kid, I was worried that I might sound like one of those child-less people that try to tell a parent how they should be disciplining their child

        Like

      • Read Voraciously says:

        Absolutely not. You hit the nail on the head with your review. So much of my feelings towards Maribeth were the same- a deep hatred for her ability to abandon her family but also the utmost respect for her ability to recognize her desperate need for appreciation and recuperation.

        Like

      • camilliadass says:

        That’s certainly a relief to hear! And you’re right when you say that she was able to recognise her need for appreciation and recuperation. That’s exactly what it was. She realised it and she went out to get it which is what a lot of us don’t do

        Liked by 1 person

  2. patriciaeimer says:

    I didn’t realize Gail Forman had written an adult book. I love her YA and this sounds really good. Can’t wait to give it a read.

    Like

  3. Nicole says:

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    Like

  4. Inked Epiphanies says:

    What a great review! I’ve read some controversial thoughts about the plot and characters, but it seems like you really enjoyed the read and it has a meaningful message after all! Thanks for raising back my interest!!

    Liked by 1 person

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