“She felt almost tearfully grateful to be off the hook, and residually angry because she was always on the hook.”
Leave Me is a modern tale about the struggles of motherhood. Maribeth is a working mother with two young twins, who is desperately trying to juggle her family, her friends, and her worklife - all of which are a bit of a mess. In trying to keep everything together, she has a heart attack and doesn’t even notice until she winds up in emergency bypass surgery. With no post-op help from her family or friends, she decides to run away.
I’ve been a big fan of Gayle Forman novels for quite some time now. Prior to Leave Me, however, I’d only ever read Gayle Forman’s young adults novels. This was my first of her adult fiction work. Personally, after reading this, I find that I’m drawn more to the YA novels she’s written than this one. But I still find that the wit and charm of her writing translates nicely to page, even in the adult fiction genre.
I guess my main annoyance with this book really lies in the fact that the main conflict could be resolved if Maribeth and her husband had sat down and had a five minute conversation at the start of the novel. Or, better yet, if they’d gone to marriage counselling. If I can find an easy solution for a conflict right off the bat, then I find that I can’t really get truly invested in the novel.
At the start, I felt a lot of sympathy for Maribeth. Although times have certainly changed, women - especially working women - still have a pretty tough gig. And Maribeth is the perfect example of being the primary caregiver, which is a role women are often expected to take on in a marriage. She has a job, two young kids, and not much help is given from her support system. It makes sense that she runs away.
So she goes off on what is first seen as a journey of self-discovery where she’s finding her place in the world outside of the realm of motherhood. This journey is pretty much cut off at the head by the end of the book and gets tossed to the side as a subplot which is almost carelessly tied up (in my opinion) for the sake of ending the novel. In the end, she believes that her life has changed but I didn’t really see that it had. There wasn’t a lot of character development in this novel, whether with her or her husband. And that poor doctor in Pittsburgh. Why??
All in all, the novel was pretty entertaining. The ending left something to be desired but I don’t know if that should distract entirely from the rest of the plot - it should just be noted.
What did you think of Leave Me?
Goodreads Challenge: 10 out of 50