Leave Me, Gayle Forman: Book Review

leave me gayle forman book reviewAlgonquin Books
Leave Me Book Cover Leave Me
Gayle Forman
Adult Fiction

International bestselling author Gayle Forman's trademark humor and insight abound in this masterful adult debut, showing us that sometimes you have to leave home in order to find it again.

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.

This review contains quotes from the book

*Special thanks to Algonquin Books for allowing us to review Gayle Forman’s Leave Me.

Leave Me is unlike any of the books that Gayle Forman has written before, or at least to my knowledge. For one, this novel marks the genesis of Forman’s venture into adult fiction. In the past, she has written a work of nonfiction, but she’s probably most known for her young adult novels including her best-selling series If I Stay. With Leave Me, Forman has forged a story that does a wonderful job at expressing what it must really feel like to be a mother struggling with being overworked and underappreciated.

Maribeth Klein is 44-years old and has just suffered a heart attack. A mother to twins and residing in the bustling New York, among learning to balance her day-to-day responsibilities as a magazine editor with her domestic life, finding such stability proves more of a challenge than Maribeth can bear. And after having her heart attack at such a young age, she’s met with an epiphany: life is too short. So one day, she packs a bag and leaves her home, unannounced. Leaving everything behind, including her husband and children, Maribeth is off to explore the great unknown.

As expected, a lot of mothers are probably thinking how could someone leave the most important people in her life? How does someone leave their family behind? Of course, then there are those other mothers who are just as curious about the situation, or secretly envious of the fact that Maribeth Klein was the only woman who had the guts to walk away from everything.While reading this, you will see her struggle with the decision to leave. But you will also see that she needed to leave because if she didn’t, then her family

While reading this, we witness Maribeth through her internal struggles concerning her decision to leave. But we also see that she needed to leave because if she didn’t, then her family would have suffered right along with her. She is not selfish in that way; she does not do this unintentionally but of the interest of her family.

“As for leaving, leaving Jason, leaving her children, she kept hearing Luca’s words: You have to do that for yourself.

A task assigned to others, falling back to her. In some ways it was comforting.

So leaving them was not exactly easy. But it was something she already knew how to do.”

— excerpt from Gayle Forman’s Leave Me

However, we learn that Maribeth has to leave for many other reasons, particularly for herself, and that, too, takes a lot of strength. It takes a lot of strength, having to come to terms with the reality of needing a greater change in your life, even if that means risking everything. Maribeth Klein showed me that old age does not have to get in the way your dreams.

Overall, I loved this book. It pushed the boundaries on how overburdened mothers truly feel, and I am so glad Forman stepped out and wrote such a daring novel for adult readers. I recommend this to all the ladies out there in need of inspiration to follow their dreams, because to settle is to sell yourself short.

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Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a sophomore in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate.