Leave Me was a very interesting book for me. On one end, I am 28 years old and have no children so my life is a lot more relaxed than that of most around me. On the other end, I am the youngest of 7 children and the daughter of a stay-at-home mom who carried the majority of that weight alone. Although I’ve never been the one tiny mouths depended on, I can recall looking around more than once and wondering how the heck she did it. So even though I couldn’t relate to our main character Maribeth firsthand, I felt for her because I knew she was the unofficial spokeswoman for many women across the world!
“The logistics of their weekends generally made her feel like an air traffic controller, but right now, she just couldn’t keep the planes in the air.”
Gayle Forman poured herself into this novel and you can feel Maribeth’s frustration jump out at you. The first half of the book was spent with me having the overwhelming desire to shake those around her. It hurt to see a woman who selflessly put herself last get taken for granted by those she put first. I couldn’t necessarily agree with the way Maribeth chose to play things out, but I could understand the thought process behind her decisions.
“I believe you have a healthy heart. The doctors have done their part. But if you want to get better, really better, well you’re going to have to do that for yourself.”
I really enjoyed the first 3 quarters of this book and the range of characters we met in the process. It was the ending that felt a bit abrupt. I sort of felt like story lines were opened up that this book could have done without (in particular her 2nd doctor) and I would have liked either an extended ending or an epilogue. Either way, I do think that this book was made for the many women who feel taken for granted, unappreciated, and have fantasized about taking a couple of weeks off. I don’t think up and leaving the way Maribeth did is for everyone, but I do believe that Leave Me can serve as a daydream of“what if”.
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.