Author: Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman is a well known author of Young Adult novels, and with Leave Me she has branched out and offers us her first adult novel. I thought I had a couple of her YA titles on my shelf but perhaps not.
Leave Me is a great introduction to her work and it is a completely relatable novel for anyone who has a partner and children, anyone trying to find a work/life balance.
Maribeth Klein is the mother of four year old twins, a wife and an editor at a women’s magazine working with her best friend. She is run off her feet at work and at home and with everything going on she manages to shrug off the symptoms of a heart attack, only discovering it when at a completely unrelated doctors appointment. This heart incident sets in motion a chain of events resulting in Maribeth running away from home.
I don’t have four year old twins and I haven’t had a heart attack but I can definitely relate to the desire to run away from home. There are certainly days where it all seems way too hard, days where it seems wife and mother are synonymous with cook and cleaner. If I feel like this perfectly healthy I can only imagine how strong that desire could get if you were recovering from major surgery and were still expected to do all of the household duties.
Maribeth withdraws a large amount of cash and walks away with a small suitcase, leaving behind her laptop, cell phone and a note. She heads to the station and gets on a train, all trying to ensure she doesn’t leave a trail.
I can’t imagine actually leaving my family, what a traumatic decision that must have been. It’s one thing to sometimes think how nice if would be to disappear from the responsibility but a totally different thing to actually plan and do it.
The story follows Maribeth, soon to be known as M.B. Goldman, as she starts fresh somewhere that she can start healing; her mind, her heart and her body. It seems living off the grid and under the radar is a little more difficult than Maribeth expected, in a world of paperwork and paper trails paying with cash is looked on with suspicion.
Maribeth has the time to sit back and take stock of her life, and face up to things she’s been hiding from herself.
Leave Me is a touching story of heartbreak and love that brings together an interesting range of different characters and relationship dynamics to explore the inner conflicts we all face and the different ways they can be approached to find the strength to move on.
There is a lot to be said for Leave Me and the way it addresses relationships of all types, and the way they evolve but also the maintenance they require so they don’t start being taken for granted.
We discover there is a lot more to Maribeth than we would have first thought, and issues even she wasn’t sure she had come to light throughout the story.
She has walked out on her husband and her children but throughout the story we realise that this book is as much about friendship as it is about her marriage and her health.
Maribeth was a character that I sympathised with at times, but also couldn’t understand some of her actions. She was certainly believable and relatable.
I think Leave Me will be a satisfying read for women of all ages.