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Leave Me: A Novel Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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—O, The Oprah Magazine
“This surprising, compassionate story brings to life the secret, guilty fantasy of many overworked moms.”
“Gayle Forman is known for her dreamy but hard-hitting young adult novels, including the best-selling If I Stay. With her first foray into grown-up fiction, Leave Me, she doesn’t shy away from the tough questions in this deep-diving and highly entertaining read. It’s hard not to relate to—and root for—Maribeth even as she does the unthinkable: abandons her children.”
“entertaining… Forman's novel is a gritty fairy tale. But as in every fairy tale, she taps into people's fears and dreams, and she imparts a little wisdom along the way.”
“Popular teen author Forman’s adult debut examines just what it means to be a working mother—beholden to everyone, seemingly obligated to forget who you really are. Maribeth’s search for her birth mother and the way she settles into her new—albeit temporary—life away from home will strike a chord with readers, especially those who enjoy Jennifer Weiner and Meg Wolitzer.”
—Booklist, starred review
“You may already know Gayle Forman from her incredible YA novels, such as the classic If I Stay. [Leave Me] is her first adult novel, and it's (unsurprisingly) fantastic.”
“Absorbing…LEAVE ME deftly explores the domestic struggles of 21st-century bourgeois life. This is an insightful ode to – and cautionary tale for – the overburdened working mother.”
“Forman, known for bestselling YA drama If I Stay, shines in this exploration of some very grownup angst in her adult fiction debut. A nuanced take on the idea of wanting to “have it all”—and knowing when to give it all up.”
“Poignant, thoughtful and often hilarious, Leave Me is a fast-paced and heartwarming read about a woman needing to give up everything in order to have it all. In this thoughtful and funny novel, after suffering a heart attack, a harried young mother leaves home to regain health and balance while seeking out her birth mother.”
—Shelf Awareness for Readers
“Leave Me is popular YA author Gayle Forman’s first novel aimed at adult readers, and here’s hoping it won’t be her last.”
“As a first foray into adult novel writing, Gayle Foreman’s Leave Me is successful.... It will be interesting to see what she does next.”
—NY Journal of Books
“YA author Forman’s successful foray into adult fiction…With humor and pathos, Forman depicts Maribeth’s complicated situation and her thoroughly satisfying arc, leaving readers feeling as though they’ve really accompanied Maribeth on her journey.”
“Award-winning teen author Forman's (I Was Here, 2015, etc.) adult debut nails the frustrations of working motherhood…. An appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated.”
“Subplots involving a hint of romance and a search for her biological mother, as well as a group of entertaining supporting characters, keep the plot moving…. All in all, Leave Me will leave readers introspective about their own lives and the compromises they make with themselves to stay with those they love.”
“At times funny, at times heartbreaking, Leave Me is a promising entrance into adult genres for the already-bestselling author.”
“How do we reinvent ourselves when we can’t even recognize the body we are in? Can you know where you’re headed if you don’t know where you came from? These are the questions faced by the prickly Maribeth, the complex and fascinating character at the center of Leave Me. In her first novel for adults, Forman reminds the reader that the answer to both questions involves getting to the heart of the matter.”
—Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time
“Told with humor and heart, Leave Me reveals that sometimes you have to leave everything you treasure in order to find your way back home. A moving testament to the persistence of love and the healing power of forgiveness.”
—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow
“Here’s to complicated women and the authors who write them! Whatever the age of her characters, Gayle Forman is a compassionate, gifted observer of women’s lives.”
—Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
“Forman’s stinging portrayal of Maribeth’s recovery process had me cringing with sympathy for her: her husband lets the housework pile up, refusing to take responsibility while she is sick, instead calling in Maribeth’s own mother as reinforcement. Leave Me’s real strength is in the development of its characters, and the web Forman weaves is complex and riveting, as each relationship thread is pulled taut.”
"Forman is a gifted storyteller whose characters are flawed and engaging."
—Charleston Post & Courier
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The protagonist is overwhelmed to say the least. She works a full-time job, while managing her twins’ schedules, her husband also works but seems to have no clue about what she is dealing with, as he isn’t paying much attention to the day-to-day. She literally has a heart attack and doesn’t know it and plows through it until at a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, mind you, after she has taken her kids to school, walked blocks to both school and the appointment, among other things, and her doctor sends her straight to the ER. After a routine procedure, something goes wrong and another major surgery takes place. She has yet to reach her husband because he never answers his phone. Needless to say, she is freaking out and has had, oh yes, a heart attack and she is only in her early 40s.
The worst part begins after she gets home. Her mother comes to ‘take care’ of the kids, while she recuperates, which means that she is essentially not able to rest because nobody in her family can take care of anything without her help, or so she feels. She becomes so frazzled, so you get what happens next. She decides to pick up and leave one day. With no warning of where she is going or what she is doing. Because she doesn’t even know.
When she arrives at her destination, she begins a new life. With no contact whatsoever with her family. Reading it you definitely find it odd. If you are a parent, mother or father, you will feel a weird sensation – how can she possibly do this to her spouse, her children, her friends. The betrayal. Read on. I am still not sure that I can imagine this happening in real life. But people are driven to do things if they are pushed hard enough. LEAVE ME offers an insightful look at modern life, marriage, friendships, motherhood, careers and how it all comes together, or perhaps needing to leave in order to make it all come back together, for everyone.
While to some extent i felt "how could she leave her kids", on the other hand I could understand the desire to escape and just worry about myself for awhile. Maybe I felt a blend of jealousy that she could do that and guilt that I'd want to do it too!
I don't fully get how she could be gone so long, especially over the holidays.
I would have liked to see more introspection on her part, perhaps a bit more thought about how to improve her career and her relationship with Elizabeth by separating work from friendship.
Not a book I'm likely to think back on years from now, but it was a fun read.
It would be easy to not have a lot of sympathy for MB. a runway mother who left her children and husband behind after escaping a life that left little time for MB to heal after her heart attack. However, medical trauma is a real thing and it effects different people in different ways and it is entirely plausible that a person might react that way.
One thing I that would have made this novel better would have been a little more information about MB and her family dynamics prior to her heart attack. It would have made the reader more of an ally and less of a critic.
And I found Maribeth's behavior unbelievable. Leaving the twins?
And the convenient cast that quickly assembled to make her exile less unbearable?
With large rocks and pebbles, others remained gaping holes for me. I found MB relatable and likable but perhaps that is because I have been in the edge like her, I just run to Starbucks not another state. This was actually a great summer read.