Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 6th September 2016.
My rating: 3 stars.
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.
Unfortunately for me Forman’s latest books haven’t been able to leave that deep meaningful impression with me that her previous books have done in the past (If I Stay, Where She Went and Just One Day). I adore the gritty books that Forman writes and the heartache she causes along the way, you could say whilst her latest books have dealt with tough emotional issues, they haven’t overwhelmed me as much as I’d hoped.
Despite this however that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy her latest book Leave Me. Forman did really go out there with her take on things. I honestly didn’t expect Maribeth to just up and leave her family one day. But the more time I spent with Maribeth, the more I could perfectly understand her reasons for doing so. She’d just had a heart attack which led to further complications, she was meant to be recovering, but really with her mother and Jason her husband it seemed like she was being a burden for even asking for healthier meal options. And then when the lice incident happened I seriously wanted her to punch her mum in the face. So despite walking out on her kids, I think the space and the me time was exactly what Maribeth needed. Things could be quite scary, upping and leaving everything you’ve known and the long schedule you’ve followed. But this temporary reprieve although it was full of unknowns and so many unanswered questions, it was a journey Maribeth needed to experience to come to terms with herself as a person. I enjoyed the characters that she met on the way; they definitely contributed to the character that she became in the end. Janice was definitely one of my favourites. And with the revelations that were made along the way, you could say I was thinking that things would go a certain way for Maribeth, I was pleased with all that she had found out and how far she had come, but that ending was sort of unexpected to me.
Leave Me really left me with mixed sort of feelings, on the one hand I enjoyed following Maribeth on her journey in search of herself and her time in Pittsburgh, but there were some aspects which let me down, I guess you could say that emotional attachment to the story and characters was lacking for me and hence I wasn’t able to enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped.