Book Club: Leave Me

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Author: Gayle Forman
ISBN: 9781471156786
RRP: $29.99

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.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 25 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Leave Me so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I look forward to hearing what they think.

Leave Me is available now through Simon & Schuster, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Gayle Forman can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

27 thoughts on “Book Club: Leave Me

  1. As a wife & Mum of two young children, I’d be lying if I said I’d never fantasised about taking time away on my own to refresh & regroup. But that’s all it’s ever been – a fantasy.

    Maribeth Klein takes it to the next level by running away & starting a new life without the stresses of her family around her.

    The book begins with busy New Yorker Maribeth having an kunxpected heart attack. She soon learns what an enormous inconvenience this is to everyone around her. Maribeth’s IT geek husband, 4 year old twins, her annoying mother & her high flying magazine editor boss/best friend all seem sympathetic at first but the novelty quickly wears off and their patience wears thin.

    Maribeth’s solution is to escape the mad house & take off with a wad of cash & start a new “off the grid” life in Pittsburgh.

    My immediate impression of Maribeth is that she can be her own worst enemy – she overthinks everything & wears herself out trying to please everyone.

    As a Mum, I don’t think I could ever willingly run away on my children (as tempting as it sounds some days!). In escaping she slows down the pace of life but there are new challenges – living in the caah society is not as easy as it seems.

    I’ve not read any of Gayle Forman’s work before but I found this book easy reading, with well developed relatable (& sometimes frustrating!) characters.

    Even though I’d never actually go through with abandoning my own family, living the fantasy through Maribeth was like a holiday in itself! Great book, highly recommended.

  2. Leave Me was a light read that I got through quite quickly without needing a lot of concentration – so a great one to read at night after a long day. The story is narrated solely from the main character Maribeth in a series of chapters many of which are only a couple of pages long but there are some longer ones too. There are a handful of other characters who play a prominent part in the story, and then some others who make smaller appearances too.

    In essence the story is about Maribeth who thinks about escaping her everyday life and responsibilities as many of us probably do, but unlike most of us she makes the leap and does it – on a whim. We follow her journey in her ‘new’ life but for the most part it is fairly uneventful and she goes on living her everyday life as normal as it can be given the circumstances. It is revealed that Maribeth has a hidden agenda for her move to this particular town and I was expecting this to play a larger role later in the book but it doesn’t really go anywhere.

    Overall this was a nice light read that I enjoyed, but for me it wasn’t a very powerful story. I didn’t find myself really hooked in, or constantly thinking about the story after it finished. I think for me, I was left disappointed that we never really find out how her decision affects the bigger picture and the effect it has on her ‘old’ life. The story didn’t really go as far as I expected and there was so much left open at the end – there were so many questions that were never answered and I didn’t feel they were left in the mysterious way for you to imagine what may happen. I hope that there may be a sequel so we can learn more; in particular about her decision plays out on her ‘old life’ and about the hidden agenda she chose to move to this location for.

  3. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Simon & Shuster for allowing me to read such an enjoyable novel.

    Leave Me by Gayle Forman is a story about understanding oneself, forgiveness, family and friendship, health and seeing the bigger picture.

    Maribeth is in her forties and unfortunately has what we might call a mid-life crisis. After suffering a heart attack, fear kicks in and she feels she has to leave everything, including her family, to work on herself and understand who she really is.

    Throughout the novel, she finds new friends, a new man and slowly gets her health and life back on track. However, despite her new life, she feels guilty about leaving her family and eventually tries to reach out to them.

    The ending is sweet, if not a little predictable, but it ended the way I wanted it to.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and although I do not have children yet, I still feel like I could empathise with Maribeth and follow her journey of self-realisation.

    A fantastic read by Gayle. I’m looking forward to reading more novels from her.

  4. Thank you very much for the opportunity to read Leave Me by Gayle Forman.

    This was a very enjoyable and easy book to read. Maribeth’s journey kept me fascinated throughout the novel and I was very keen to find out what would become of her.

    Congratulations to the author for writing such an interesting novel which I gladly recommend to others. A wonderful read.

  5. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read Leave Me by Gayle Forman.

    This was an interesting and easy novel to read. I enjoyed Maribeth’s journey and was very keen to to find out what would happen to her.

    Congratulations to the author for writing such a fantastic novel which I I gladly recommend to others.

  6. My neighbour has just returned this book as I had already read and reviewed
    Like myself she found the book a enjoyable read the book flowed from chapter to chapter
    She would have liked a different ending as we don’t know the outcome ( will not say what outcome as don’t want to spoil for other readers )
    Maybe there will be follow up book hope so cause we both agree this was a very well written book

  7. Leave Me by Gayle Forman provided a realistic portrayal of a woman named Maribeth who was so consumed in the hustle and bustle of life. That she somehow lost herself amongst work, kids and her everyday tasks.

    The book explores Maribeth’s experience of having a heart attack and not even realising it due to all the other competing demands and deadlines. Through this experience the author explores what a mothers life would be like if she just picked up and left all her responsibilities.

    The book touches on other elements of the characters life such as being adopted and long time friendships. Maribeth truly goes on her own journey to find herself and determine what is important for her. There are a few interesting characters in her new life, including a slightly odd cardiologist with his own baggage and a couple of younger friends that create a supportive base for her to get back to where she is needed most.

    Gayle Forman has a way of blending the past and present experiences and linking the characters.

    I found the book was very easy to read and that I was able to relate to the characters. I Don’t want to give away too much, would recommend giving it a read to know more!

    Thanks again to Beauty & Lace for providing me with this opportunity.

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