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Leave Me PDF, ePub eBook A #1 September LibraryReads Selection A September Indie Next Pick An Amazon Best Book of the Month A People Pick Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and 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 A #1 September LibraryReads Selection A September Indie Next Pick An Amazon Best Book of the Month A People Pick Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and 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. 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 often the case, once we get 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 able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves. With bighearted characters--husbands, wives, friends, and lovers--who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing the fears we’re all running from. Gayle Forman is a dazzling observer of human nature. She has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head on and asks, what happens when a grown woman runs away from home?

30 review for Leave Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    She felt so caught out. She’d thought she’d done everything right. She’d spent her entire life making lists, following through, keeping everything in check, all to make sure this kind of thing would never happen. And look where it had gotten her. Just fucking look. Looking back over seven years of Forman's work, I'm starting to see that her downfall may be her romanticism; her penchant for happy ever afters. It seems she has a romantic streak that - with one exception - weakens her otherwise str She felt so caught out. She’d thought she’d done everything right. She’d spent her entire life making lists, following through, keeping everything in check, all to make sure this kind of thing would never happen. And look where it had gotten her. Just fucking look. Looking back over seven years of Forman's work, I'm starting to see that her downfall may be her romanticism; her penchant for happy ever afters. It seems she has a romantic streak that - with one exception - weakens her otherwise strong works. Her characters feel real, flawed and human. Even when we don't really like them, they demand our sympathy and we find ourselves needing to know what happens to them. Too often, though, I think these powerful stories are dampened by a sweetness that hasn't been earned. I Was Here takes an informative and sad story about suicide and turns it into a romance. Sisters in Sanity ends a book of girl power, female friendships and strong characterization with a forgiveness that was undeserved. Just One Day turns an emotional teen fling into a globetrotting obsession to reunite the starcrossed lovers. If I Stay and Where She Went follow the same pattern - an intense, sad, character-defining decision is made, but Forman couldn't leave it there - but they're the exception because, IMO, it actually works. In Leave Me, it doesn't work. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. In fact, I enjoyed all the things that seem to be the main criticisms of Forman's first adult novel. It sounds like a bland story - tired, overworked mommy has a heart attack and STILL can't get any help or sympathy from her husband, mother or kids. So she leaves. This wasn't a problem for me. Maribeth was a likable, complex character and she drew my sympathy instantly. Her life pulled me in, no matter how dull it may seem. And though it's obviously a selfish act to just up and leave your kids, it didn't bother me like it did some readers because I think the author portrayed the push to breaking point very well. I didn't like what Maribeth did, but I understood it. It's an understated feminist novel, showing how even in today's world where career and motherhood are not mutually exclusive, women are still drawing the short straw. There's still the assumption that it's Maribeth's duty to come home and manage the household and kids, despite both her and her husband working full time jobs. The pressure is all too much and she finally cracks. Striking out on her own, Maribeth meets lots of great new friends and embraces the pleasures and challenges of her newfound freedom. Obviously a character-driven novel, we observe the changes in Maribeth, as she figures her life out and faces her fears. The blurb calls Forman "a dazzling observer of human nature" and that couldn't be more true. But again, all this character development is weakened by the mending and retying of broken threads. Issues that are present early in the novel are conveniently forgotten. In short, Maribeth runs away from her problems and her husband, (view spoiler)[only to return to them both (hide spoiler)] . Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Update: Kindle special ebook today: is $1.13 (funny price) --- --but great deal!!! Audible Daily Deal today --$2.95 I read the physical book --and liked it. Lots to think about. I'd buy this in a second for $2.95 if I had not already read it --and own it! "Ma'am, are you in a crisis?" "She was 44 years old and had suffered a heart attack and undergone bypass surgery. She'd run away from home and neither her husband nor her best friend had tried to contact her. And she couldn't swim. Yes, she was Update: Kindle special ebook today: is $1.13 (funny price) --- --but great deal!!! Audible Daily Deal today --$2.95 I read the physical book --and liked it. Lots to think about. I'd buy this in a second for $2.95 if I had not already read it --and own it! "Ma'am, are you in a crisis?" "She was 44 years old and had suffered a heart attack and undergone bypass surgery. She'd run away from home and neither her husband nor her best friend had tried to contact her. And she couldn't swim. Yes, she was in motherfucking crisis!" In "Leave Me"...... deep down Maribeth was scared she was going to die. It wasn't death itself she feared - but the fear of what would happen to her twins - being too young- to not have a mother. Maribeth figured out "the ugly secret of a mother's love: you protect them, to protect yourself". WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??? Any thoughts? I thought about that sentence a few times!!!! Mother's do give and give and give --- zillions of hours of her time for her children - her husband - her extended family - her job- cooking - cleaning -laundry - driver - nurse - errand girl - yard maintenance -toolgirl - bath time - homework -community participation ( schools, church, sports, music,), dentist and doctor appt', food shopping, shoe shopping for those growing 'feet' on kids, etc. etc. So, Do we judge a mother for 'walking out'? Going off grid? Not leaving a note of where she is going? Can we forgive her? Do we justify her actions 'because' SHE SUFFERED A LIFE THREATENING HEART ATTACK! I THINK WHAT SHE DID WAS WRONG....[NOT FOR LEAVING]... but for going out of communication! Why can't a wife go to her husband and say.... "I'm desperate....I can't get well in this environment. I need a month - maybe two-- to be alone. I need alone time ...to practice living a healthy lifestyle......cooking....eating a healthy heart diet-- exercise -- removing chaotic stress. Why can't she ASK for a RUN-a-WAY emergency self-connection retreat?" Why not??? Why DON'T couples with small children consider designing well-being individual get-a-ways? Rather than wait for the breakdowns to design their life? I think this book is a terrific discussion book - especially for those people in the HOT SEAT of parenting little kids. This is a likable book. An engaging easy read. If you 'want' to look deeper... it's available. The topic of a young 44 year old having a heart attack - itself - is worthy of discussion. It happens!!! My dad died of a heart attack at age 34. - no notice -In 15 minutes he was dead. Other conversations: The children. How were they doing? What happens to Maribeth's new friends? Is she supposed to drop all contact with her new friends once she returns to her family? The cast of characters Maribeth meets when she dashes off to Pittsburgh are likable and interesting!!! --- The story is engrossing-- but we are still worried about the kids and her husband back home. The ending is predictable from the start... but I'm not so sure a damn thing gets resolved. This family still has a mountain to climb! 3.5- 3-7 ..... enjoyable - fast easy reading - not a perfect book -yet because it leaves the reader wanting to discuss and debate issues - I'd recommend it! Not a 'must' read.... but it's engaging. Definitely 'extra' valuable to young parents.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Immensely readable and entirely easy to relate. How many times when all my seven children were growing up, when I was ferrying them back and forth to school, outside activities, trying to keep up with housework, cooking, laundry, did I feel like getting in my car and running away? Way too many to count and I bet many other feel or have felt the same. In this book a 44 year old woman, suffers a heart attack, has bypass surgery and on release from the hospital finds her life with three year ol 3.5 Immensely readable and entirely easy to relate. How many times when all my seven children were growing up, when I was ferrying them back and forth to school, outside activities, trying to keep up with housework, cooking, laundry, did I feel like getting in my car and running away? Way too many to count and I bet many other feel or have felt the same. In this book a 44 year old woman, suffers a heart attack, has bypass surgery and on release from the hospital finds her life with three year old twins and a husband who is always working, simply exhausting. She does the unthinkable and leaves. This is her story, her time away, people she meets and her search for her biological mom. What she learns about herself and how she works her way forward. Was quite fascinated with the intrepid Marybeth, but was she? On the surface tough but oh so vulnerable, all the insecurities and fears of years, why I liked her despite the sorrow I felt for her little ones. If near the end it got a bit smaltzy, a little too, too, I could go with that. She had maybe earned it. One of those books that could easily be rated a 3 or 4, depending not on the writing which was fine but on how the reader relates to the message. Sometimes we just have to learn to take care of ourselves first, easier said then done I know, before we can fully take care of others. So for this message and the fact that I quite enjoyed this one, I have gone with the four. Can't help feeling this will appeal to many women and their stressed out lives. ARC from publisher.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars Okay I’m pissed at myself for being a big fat pile and refusing to log on to the computer in order to yack out a review before this thing expired from the library because I KNOW Maribeth provided some pretty quotable quotes that made me laugh. Oh well . . . . Let me start this half-assery by telling you that Maribeth is not for everyone. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz so I won’t judge you if you aren Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars Okay I’m pissed at myself for being a big fat pile and refusing to log on to the computer in order to yack out a review before this thing expired from the library because I KNOW Maribeth provided some pretty quotable quotes that made me laugh. Oh well . . . . Let me start this half-assery by telling you that Maribeth is not for everyone. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz so I won’t judge you if you aren’t able to enjoy her, but for me???? At this point I think she may be related to me . . . . Well, except she’s more put together. In case you need two hands and a map to find your own butt and haven’t figured it out yet, this is Maribeth’s story. Overworked, underappreciated, stressed out mom of (kind of awful) twins and a pretty incompetent husband, Maribeth not only brings home the bacon, but also fries it up in a pan and then cleans the entire house, runs kids to neverending extracurriculars, organizes horrible things like parents club (shudder) and strokes her hubby’s fragile ego to the point where she has a coronary. Literally. Thinking she might finally get some much needed R&R (at least for a few weeks), Maribeth is thrown for yet another loop when she gets home from the hospital and pretty much is expected to do everything except go to work after only a couple of days' rest. The solution????? Maribeth pulls a wad of moolah she received as an inheritance out of the bank and gets the eff outta Dodge. That’ll teach ‘em, right? Well, eventually. First, everyone has to learn that valuable lesson that . . . . Leave Me earns 3.5 Stars, but gets rounded down due to the fact that the first 1/3 of the story had a very Where’d You Go, Bernadette? type of OTT vibe/humor which kind of diminished a bit as the book progressed. There was also a (view spoiler)[bit of a “cheating” issue (only a kiss, more emotionally cheating than anything) (hide spoiler)] that I thought cheapened things. I wasn’t put off by it, it just made it harder to remain committed to Team Maribeth. All in all, though, this was a very relatable story and one that I’m sure many of us harried moms have dreamed about a time or twelve. Lucky for me, my family just ran away for a few days so I was able to stay in the comfort of my own home in order to reboot. If only everyone I work for would do the same . . . .

  5. 4 out of 5

    TJ✨

    THE REVIEW Why this book? I usually love Gayle Forman books What I thought You are supposed to want to root for the lead character but I just can't root for Maribeth. I can't root for somebody who abandons their family and cheats on their husband. That's all I got to say.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Friends: I have been here. I have tried to do this. Almost twelve years ago, I had my first baby. And two months later, in the throes of postpartum depression, I got my purse and my keys and started to get in my car to leave. My baby was upstairs in his bassinet. My husband was at work. And my plan was to go and not come back for a few years, because I couldn't handle it. Life. Motherhood. Personhood. Anything. I was checked by a phone call from my mom. I got on medication. I got better, though I Friends: I have been here. I have tried to do this. Almost twelve years ago, I had my first baby. And two months later, in the throes of postpartum depression, I got my purse and my keys and started to get in my car to leave. My baby was upstairs in his bassinet. My husband was at work. And my plan was to go and not come back for a few years, because I couldn't handle it. Life. Motherhood. Personhood. Anything. I was checked by a phone call from my mom. I got on medication. I got better, though I have had depression since I was a teenager and that will never completely go away. The leaving it all behind, starting over in a new place, sitting in a bare apartment and reading all day fantasy is one that I've had as long as I could remember. So this book was very, very personal to me. From the moment I started it, with only the vaguest sense of what it was about (I picked it up because I've loved all her other books), I could not stop. I had to know that Maribeth would be all right. I also had to know why she left, and how she left. (Not that I am currently planning anything. I was just curious.) And I was, of course, curious about how Forman would handle her first grown up book. The why and how, the ending, all perfectly plotted and handled with grace and humanity. And, as with her YA, Forman's dialogue rolls off the tongues of her very real characters. I loved them all, and I cared for them all. (Except for that one lady, who was useless. You'll know who she is.) And yes, I read the ending on the recumbent bike at the gym and bawled. I think my fellow morning workout peeps are used to that by now, though.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    I mean, I appreciated the sentiment and all that, there was just nothing particularly compelling or interesting about this for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    Maribeth Klein, forty-four years old, works as an editor for a magazine in New York City. She and her husband Jason are parents of twins who are four years old. They have a busy stressful life juggling two careers, marriage, meals, etc. which mostly falls upon Maribeth. Maribeth wakes up one morning not feeling well. Believing it to be indigestion from dinner from the night before, she continues with her daily routine. Luckily, she seeks medical care because she has had a heart attack that requir Maribeth Klein, forty-four years old, works as an editor for a magazine in New York City. She and her husband Jason are parents of twins who are four years old. They have a busy stressful life juggling two careers, marriage, meals, etc. which mostly falls upon Maribeth. Maribeth wakes up one morning not feeling well. Believing it to be indigestion from dinner from the night before, she continues with her daily routine. Luckily, she seeks medical care because she has had a heart attack that requires surgery. Her recuperation at home after being released from hospital is a disaster. Her needs are not being met as her family has not adjusted to her new limitations. Her family would like her to continue in her previous role as if she were never sick. Maribeth makes a drastic decision and decides to leave her family in hopes to heal physically and emotionally. The book is well paced and a quick read. It has relatable feelings for any woman who is trying to manage it all while raising young children. What woman hasn’t thought of escaping responsibility for the day? This novel intertwines themes of marriage, friendship, and responsibilities as we grow older. This is the author’s first novel into women’s fiction from young adult books. Giveaway on my blog until 11/2 http://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved

  9. 5 out of 5

    Noel Luis

    SPOILER FREE REVIEW Picture this: a man wakes up one day with a toothache. He ignores it for a while, but soon the pain becomes so unbearable that he decides to pack his bags and go on a spiritual quest to find the Dalai Llama. On the journey, he meets a kind Sherpa who guides him up the perilous slopes of Tibet. Things go well for a while until disaster strikes: they are beset by a vicious snowstorm and end up stranded. After days of starvation, the Sherpa sacrifices his body as sustenance for t SPOILER FREE REVIEW Picture this: a man wakes up one day with a toothache. He ignores it for a while, but soon the pain becomes so unbearable that he decides to pack his bags and go on a spiritual quest to find the Dalai Llama. On the journey, he meets a kind Sherpa who guides him up the perilous slopes of Tibet. Things go well for a while until disaster strikes: they are beset by a vicious snowstorm and end up stranded. After days of starvation, the Sherpa sacrifices his body as sustenance for the man so that he could make it to the end of his crossing. When he finally collapses outside the Dalai Llama's monastery, a group of monks find him and take him to meet His Holiness himself. Over the next few years, the man learns about the true nature of suffering. Once he has accepted that pain and happiness are two sides of the same coin, the tooth, now rotted to the core, falls off on its own, and the man knows that he has come full circle not only with his maxillary problems, but with life itself. What's wrong with the story? Nothing. Except that if it ever gets turned into a movie, the audience would be practically screaming "Just go to a [email protected]#king dentist, you moron!" The concept of Gayle Forman's novel Leave Me is just like the story above. It takes the protagonist on a completely unexpected and highly unnecessary journey to solve a problem that could have been settled at home. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let me state upfront the positives. This novel is about internal struggle, a topic that only the best writers should attempt. Unlike a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion, inner conflict is so difficult to pace that you need significant talent to pull it off. Thankfully, Gayle Forman has that talent. She already has quite a few published novels under her belt, and it shows. Gayle uses a writing style called free indirect discourse (quite popular among modern authors), which combines third person perspective with a character's own thoughts: “So it’s okay if I go back to the office?” No. It wasn’t okay. She hurt all over. She wasn’t ready to be left alone with her mother, with the kids. She was scared. “Of course it is,” she said. This style is highly effective for this particular tale because it lets us view the protagonist from a detached perspective, allowing us enough space so that we can reflect on our own lives. However, it can also zoom in as close as possible when it's necessary to create intimacy: Selfish! She was being selfish? All she did was take care of everyone else. For the first time in her life, she needed to be taken care of, and this was what she got? She felt tears of rage come to her eyes and then shame because damn him if she was going to cry. Selfish? Jason. Elizabeth. Her mother. They could all go to hell. The plot itself is commonplace: Maribeth Klein is an editor for a posh magazine. She has two kids and a working husband. The only problem is that, aside from being the main breadwinner of the family, she's also effectively the housekeeper. Being both a mother and a provider means working long hours, at home and in the office, and working long hours means health problems. One day, everything comes to a head as Maribeth suffers a massive heart attack. She recovers well, but her family is so used to being taken care of that they essentially blame her for the piling dishes, the unpaid bills, and the...uh...lack of midnight action: She was tired. The twins were getting angry at her for not healing fast enough, for not doing bedtime often enough, for not walking them to school. She could feel Jason’s impatience, too, in every which way. He’d been spooning her tight in the mornings, so she could feel his hard-on pressed right into the small of her back. It reminded her of after her C-section, when he’d been so full of pent-up desire it had felt like a threat. Maribeth snaps, packs up a suitcase, and leaves. The rest of the novel details her new life as a runaway mom in another city, meeting new friends, changing old habits, and maybe, maybe even finding out something about herself that she never knew before. Now for the bad part. Seriously, ALL of this is unnecessary. The main conflict in the story is Maribeth's inability to say "No" and the perceived ingratitude of her family. She could have just went to a therapist for help. She could have just had a heart-to-heart conversation with her husband who, even though irresponsible, loves her genuinely. She could have just laid out some strict rules for her bratty kids to follow. While these choices require some courage, they're the most sensible paths to take. But, no, a solitary, spiritual quest to Pittsburgh is obviously the natural course. I don't deny that frustrated moms walk out in real life. In fact, it recently happened to a high school friend of mine; his attractive wife fell for Mister Moneybags and decided to exchange her broke husband and three kids for some high-flying good time. In other words, a genuine bitch. But the protagonist of Leave Me is none of these things, which makes her decisions all the more confusing. No matter. Despite my misgivings with the plot, I would be lying if I said I hated the story. Gayle Forman paints the character in such a compassionate light that I didn't mind reading through the plodding drama just so I could find out if it all turned out well for Maribeth in the end. Speaking of the ending, it felt rushed and...well...you'll find out what I mean. I would recommend this book mainly for married men because of the insight it gives about appreciating the small sacrifices in life. I don't have a wife, but at the conclusion of the novel I wished I had one just so I could kiss her and tell her how much I love her. I must be going senile!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I wont say too much about this book but I just thought it was too slow The characters were okay, but it just plodded along this wasn't for me although I loved I Was Here in her YA category 3stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    Although the protagonist did many unlikable things, this story had me compelled to keep reading and it gave me a lot to think about. Maybe because I had so recently had an unexpected surgery, but I became so emotionally invested in Maribeth right away. When she was trying to recover from her heart attack, I wanted to scream at her family for not helping her. I was rooting for her to escape, although I had such mixed feelings about her doing so because this is a mother and wife leaving her family Although the protagonist did many unlikable things, this story had me compelled to keep reading and it gave me a lot to think about. Maybe because I had so recently had an unexpected surgery, but I became so emotionally invested in Maribeth right away. When she was trying to recover from her heart attack, I wanted to scream at her family for not helping her. I was rooting for her to escape, although I had such mixed feelings about her doing so because this is a mother and wife leaving her family. How do you process that? How does SHE process that? I was fascinated by it, even though many times I was mad at her. This book showed me how messy our lives can be, and how we are not the only one going through things. I've read all of Gayle's previous books, although I haven't always liked them. As a lukewarm fan, I really enjoyed this as her adult debut.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    This was my first Gayle Forman novel. I'd been seeing her name pop up frequently, so when this became available on the library overdrive, I picked it up, not knowing much about it. Hmm, talk about relating to a character - in this case, it almost felt like too much, especially since Maribeth, the protagonist of this short novel, and I are of a similar vintage. There were many things I liked about this novel, besides its relatability. I appreciated Forman daring to write about a mother - "the sain This was my first Gayle Forman novel. I'd been seeing her name pop up frequently, so when this became available on the library overdrive, I picked it up, not knowing much about it. Hmm, talk about relating to a character - in this case, it almost felt like too much, especially since Maribeth, the protagonist of this short novel, and I are of a similar vintage. There were many things I liked about this novel, besides its relatability. I appreciated Forman daring to write about a mother - "the saintest (not a word) of saints" - who just packs her bags and leaves - husband, kids(!) and job. I hear the outcry - who could she? After all, she was middle class, living in New York, with twins, after several IVF rounds, good job, a decent husband whom she still loved but also hated for always taking "the easy way out" - she had it so much better than many. Well, that makes me appreciate Forman's guts much more than if she wrote about a battered woman. Oh, I forgot the mention it: the woman, mother, wife had a heart attack at 44 and a double bypass. So much fun! The middle and the later part got better, more characters are added, new friends are made, a nice doctor appears on the scene. I quite liked that part, although, now and then, the cynic in me would pop its head but only for a few moments now and then. The ending made Ms Cynic raise her metaphorical eyebrow, while Ms Mooshy-Feely found it satisfactory.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Leave Me by Gayle Foreman This is a story about a woman named Maribeth Klein who is a mother of twins who are four years old. She is married to her husband Jason who earns less money than Maribeth earns at her highstress job working with her best friend Elizabeth, who is an executive Editor at a magazine in New York City. Maribeth is forty four years old when she has two heart attacks. After double bypass surgery, Maribeth returns home after only a week of recuperating in the hospital and it is if Leave Me by Gayle Foreman This is a story about a woman named Maribeth Klein who is a mother of twins who are four years old. She is married to her husband Jason who earns less money than Maribeth earns at her highstress job working with her best friend Elizabeth, who is an executive Editor at a magazine in New York City. Maribeth is forty four years old when she has two heart attacks. After double bypass surgery, Maribeth returns home after only a week of recuperating in the hospital and it is if she is expected to step back into her busy life, taking the two kids to all of their activities. And they are involved in a lot of extracurricular places to go. Maribeth is adopted and her mother is there to help. Maribeth finds an extension to their tax return in the bottom of a heap of mail that has piled up on a table neglected. She faces loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes. Maribeth is overwhelmed with responsibilities. She packs a bag with about three days worth of clothes, draws out a huge sum of money and hops on a train at Penn Station and leaves her life behind. No cell phone. No computer. No cardiologist. No insurance card. Maribeth is living completely off the grid. The reading goes by fast because the book is written in short little chapters. The character development is done well. I devoured this book in one reading. The sentences flow. This is a story for anybody who ever thought what their life might be like to start over some place different. I was thoroughly engaged in this story. Everything I have written is already on the dust jacket. There are no spoilers here. Five stars! Very entertaining read

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    Gayle Forman writes such emotional books. And for the fist two thirds of this novel I really liked it. It follows the story of Maribeth Klein and how she suddenly leaves her life one day. What I like is that Maribeth feels like such a real character. I completely understand her reasons for leaving her family. I found myself supporting them all as the story developed. This book really shines the spotlight on women who are somehow expected to do it all. She has the family, the career.. All these c Gayle Forman writes such emotional books. And for the fist two thirds of this novel I really liked it. It follows the story of Maribeth Klein and how she suddenly leaves her life one day. What I like is that Maribeth feels like such a real character. I completely understand her reasons for leaving her family. I found myself supporting them all as the story developed. This book really shines the spotlight on women who are somehow expected to do it all. She has the family, the career.. All these commitments. A husband, Jason Brinkley, who takes her for granted. A best friend Elizabeth who has slipped away, two young children whom she loves but who are ultimately her responsibility alone... She is expected to take care of everyone else without having someone to take care of her and with all this crazy rushing and constant pressure she certainly doesn't have time for a heart attack and doesn't even realise she has had one as she puts it down to tiredness, stress, being overworked, overwrought, overwhelmed.... It paints a sad and lonely picture and one that no woman would want to live in day in and day out. Maribeth's journey of self discovery is delicately crafted and draws the reader in. And I very much enjoyed it. She was trying to remember who she was, who she wanted to be. She was adopted and had all these issues surrounding that and began the journey to learn more about the why her birth mother chose to give her up for adoption. Was she too a "leaver"? There were wonderful questions raised and beautiful moments of self reflection that I found very emotional and thought provoking. some minor thematic spoilers ahead But what I didn't like was that final third. When just suddenly the story all clicked together. (view spoiler)[Her husband Jason reached out, recognised his flaws, he told no one she was gone, her best friend covered for her.... (hide spoiler)] It was too easy. Too neat. What was interesting to note is that Maribeth's worked in a magazine and made reference to a particular real life column that they ran. All about real women triumphing over some negative even and in the end coming out for the better. "it wasn't that the stories were made up - they were true, or, at least, truthy - but their rictus need to skim coat a happy ending onto every shitty situation ... she couldn't stand that. It was the magazine's version of Jason's 'everything will be fine.'" So ultimately when this novel tied things up with a shiny bow at the end I could not but think back on this passage about the need to have a happy ending. It felt disingenuous to real life to me. Life is messier. Maribeth's life certainly was. I think a more conflicted ending would have been more suited to this book. For the most part I very much enjoyed this read but it could have been so much more three stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've written this review for Really Into This Check out all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com Happy Reading, friends! Some books hit you at the exact time they could make the most impact & that’s exactly how I feel about Leave Me. My life is incredibly overwhelming, especially this past year. I know there are many people who feel the same way. In my most frustrating times, I’ve contemplated running away, so reading about a 42-year-old mother who realizes she’s not getting what she ne I've written this review for Really Into This Check out all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com Happy Reading, friends! Some books hit you at the exact time they could make the most impact & that’s exactly how I feel about Leave Me. My life is incredibly overwhelming, especially this past year. I know there are many people who feel the same way. In my most frustrating times, I’ve contemplated running away, so reading about a 42-year-old mother who realizes she’s not getting what she needs to get healthy & leaves her family really struck a nerve with me. I finished this book on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s a quick read that I easily devoured & would feel comfortable lending to any other reader who has dealt with immense stress. So, that means everyone, right? I would imagine fans of A Window Opens could easily relate to Leave Me. I became very interested in this novel after reading this article by the author, Gayle Forman. I thought I was alone in my fantasy of running away, but I was pleased & saddened to hear there were LOTS of other moms, just like me. This is a REAL problem in America. I’ve spent the majority of my time as mother trying to devise the perfect formula that makes me feel ‘just right’ & that feeling continues to elude me. Earlier this year, I read Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte. It’s the non-fiction version that tackles similar subject matter & poses questions that delve deeper into the societal infrastructure that supports & doesn’t support women. Unfortunately, there is not a simple solution to this complex & emotional issue. I really connected to this story; therefore, I loved it. I will be talking about this book for a while & will likely read it again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    When my boss left for BEA this year, he asked if there was anything he should bring back for me (as I'd been badgering him about it for a couple of weeks, TBH). I gave him a list of four or five books, but this was the only one he was able to snag. He brought it back just on time for me to go on vacation -- lovely timing, as this is tailor-made vacation reading. (And now my obligatory plea: stop calling things "chick lit" or "women's fiction" because they are light or feature female protagonists When my boss left for BEA this year, he asked if there was anything he should bring back for me (as I'd been badgering him about it for a couple of weeks, TBH). I gave him a list of four or five books, but this was the only one he was able to snag. He brought it back just on time for me to go on vacation -- lovely timing, as this is tailor-made vacation reading. (And now my obligatory plea: stop calling things "chick lit" or "women's fiction" because they are light or feature female protagonists. Women are not a niche audience #petpeeve) There were several points along the way when I expected that I was going to hate this book. I was looking forward to reading it, but I was also a tad skeptical because I'd been just so-so on the two YA novels I'd read by Forman (great prose, side-eye plot). There were a couple of things about this one that frustrated me, but the more I thought about it the more I started to appreciate those things. Sort of. This is about Maribeth Klein, a stretched-thin working mother who has a heart attack at the age of 44. When her recovery period turns out to be more of an inconvenience to her family than anything else, Maribeth packs a bag and takes off for Pittsburgh for some healing time. She leaves her twins behind with her husband, a somewhat flaky techie, and her mother, who might as well be another child to take care of. She leaves behind the magazine job where she works with the best friend from whom she's grown distant. And she leaves behind the cardiologist with the cold bedside manner who does little to reassure her. In Pittsburgh, she befriends her twentysomething neighbors and her new cardiologist, a man with his own vaguely mysterious pain, and she sets out on a journey to find the birth mother she never knew. So here's the thing: there's a lot about Maribeth that irked me. I imagine she might be more relatable to other stretched-thin working mothers, but a lot of her behavior came across to me as incredibly selfish. Not just that she up and left her family, but also just the little things like sending passive aggressive emails with the laptop that she “borrowed” from her neighbors and kept all night long. She seems to be part of a growing trend of flawed-to-the-brink-of-unlikable protagonists, but I appreciated the fact that Forman seemed to realize that Maribeth could be a bit of a jerk. She becomes a fully-fleshed character over the course of the story, even if she’s not someone you’d necessarily want to hang out with. The ending was a bit rushed, but I ultimately enjoyed this book. Not enough to leave me jumping up and down, but enough to get through it in less than two days. 3.5 stars, going up.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Maribeth Klein is a wife and mother of twins who also has a demanding career and struggles with finding that perfect balance. When she begins having chest pains it's more of an inconvenience to her schedule that she doesn't give much thought to until given the advice to go get checked at the E.R. Maribeth finds that she has suffered a heart attack and ends up needing bypass surgery but when she returns home she finds that the stress is still all around her. Taking her health into her own hands M Maribeth Klein is a wife and mother of twins who also has a demanding career and struggles with finding that perfect balance. When she begins having chest pains it's more of an inconvenience to her schedule that she doesn't give much thought to until given the advice to go get checked at the E.R. Maribeth finds that she has suffered a heart attack and ends up needing bypass surgery but when she returns home she finds that the stress is still all around her. Taking her health into her own hands Maribeth packs a bag and finds herself leaving her family to get the time she needs to take care of herself for a change. Leave Me is my first time trying out a Gayle Forman novel and I ended up really enjoying this story so I will definitely have to be on a look out for more. The book is full of emotion as the main character struggles with the stress of everyday life and the fear that her own life may come to an end if she doesn't find her balance and take care of herself. I think Maribeth is a character that all working mothers could relate to I don't necessarily see everyone going to her extremes. But the fears and struggles she has could be real to everyone so it was interesting to watch her journey and felt for her throughout the book. Overall, a fast paced novel full of emotion that I enjoyed all the way through. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    If you are mother, could you ever imagine leaving your kids? No matter what the reason? What if you had a heart attack and when trying to recuperate, it was clear that you were a burden on your family, so you went back to the same old habits? And at some point, it became the straw that broke the camel’s back? Maribeth Klein, (the main character in Leave Me by Gayle Forman) is one of those women. After her heart attack, she can’t take the stress of having to take over all of the old parenting and If you are mother, could you ever imagine leaving your kids? No matter what the reason? What if you had a heart attack and when trying to recuperate, it was clear that you were a burden on your family, so you went back to the same old habits? And at some point, it became the straw that broke the camel’s back? Maribeth Klein, (the main character in Leave Me by Gayle Forman) is one of those women. After her heart attack, she can’t take the stress of having to take over all of the old parenting and household duties, so she writes a note to her husband, Jason and then she just leaves. Takes money out of their joint account and gets on a train. Leaving them. Her family, to fend for themselves. And for the first month, she doesn’t even attempt to contact her family. Some days, her kids barely register a thought, while on others, she is consumed with guilt for abandoning them and at having left her husband to care of them all by himself. I must admit that I could not understand Maribeth’s actions, but then I am not a mother. For a good portion the book I found myself furious with her, for her actions, her thoughts and her complete disregard for a family that she claims to love. Her husband Jason, at first seemed cold and uninterested in their lives and in her. Somewhere along the lines, Gayle Forman was expertly able to change my view on both Maribeth and Jason. While I never ended up loving Maribeth, I began to feel sympathetic towards her. With Jason, you saw him trying to work through his problems, pick up the slack in his family and be a real dad, and most of all, be there for his wife. Ms. Forman’s ability to portray the characters and have you feel one in emotion towards them for most of the book and then make them more compassionate and somewhat likeable was truly impressive. While I enjoyed this book, I just didn’t love it and that was mainly due to my dislike of Maribeth. That said, I have to give kudos to Ms. Forman for fantastic character development. In my opinion, the ending of the novel was tied up a little too nicely. Considering Maribeth’s despicable actions, I felt that to be implausible, which only added to my disappointment of this book. Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 9/18/16.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Three and a half stars Maribeth Klein, mother of four year old twins and holding down a full time position at Frap, a celebrity lifestyle magazine, has a heart attack. She is hospitalised, operated on and nearly dies. You would expect when she comes home her husband and family would be completely supportive and caring. Instead, Maribeth feels too much is left to her to do and no-one is supporting her. She packs a bag, withdraws a sum of money and leaves her husband, Jason, mother and twins Liv an Three and a half stars Maribeth Klein, mother of four year old twins and holding down a full time position at Frap, a celebrity lifestyle magazine, has a heart attack. She is hospitalised, operated on and nearly dies. You would expect when she comes home her husband and family would be completely supportive and caring. Instead, Maribeth feels too much is left to her to do and no-one is supporting her. She packs a bag, withdraws a sum of money and leaves her husband, Jason, mother and twins Liv and Oscar to cope as best they can. I struggled with this. To me it was almost inconceivable for a mother to do this. But then, I have never had a heart attack, had to deal with twins or a family that are so unsupportive, so I kept reading, interested to see how it would play out. As the story moves on, the reader is given some insights into how Maribeth is feeling. While I found her actions hard to comprehend, I could at least empathise. That’s not to say I still didn’t have issues with the way she deals with her perceived lack of care and attention from loved ones. With the help of new friends Maribeth begins to pick up her life. Adopted as a baby, her health issues ultimately send her searching for answers about her biological parents. She discovers quite a bit about herself and her family she did not know. I quite enjoyed this book, and could feel for Maribeth. I nearly always find email conversations annoying to read in a book and I wasn’t a hundred percent convinced about the ending. It seemed a bit rushed. But still it was an easy read and my first book by this author. I’d be inclined to read another. For whatever reason, I am nearly always a sucker for stories of children who are adopted.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide/Novelly Yours)

    Initial Impressions 8/29/16, edited for full review 8/31/16: I’m a HUGE Gayle Forman fan so any book of hers, no matter the age range or genre, will be on my radar. When I heard that LEAVE ME was adult contemporary, I had to admit that I wasn’t super excited about it since I haven’t been reading as much “serious” contemporary lately and I don’t really read it on the adult level — I’m more of a YA gal. Either way, it was Gayle Forman and I knew no matter what, I was in good hands so I was excited Initial Impressions 8/29/16, edited for full review 8/31/16: I’m a HUGE Gayle Forman fan so any book of hers, no matter the age range or genre, will be on my radar. When I heard that LEAVE ME was adult contemporary, I had to admit that I wasn’t super excited about it since I haven’t been reading as much “serious” contemporary lately and I don’t really read it on the adult level — I’m more of a YA gal. Either way, it was Gayle Forman and I knew no matter what, I was in good hands so I was excited to receive a copy of LEAVE ME at BEA this year! Upon finishing, I don’t really know how to feel about this book. If we’re being perfectly honest, if it wasn’t Gayle Forman’s book, I wouldn’t have read it. The entire premise of the book is that overworked, overtired Maribeth Klein whisks herself away for time to recover both mentally and physically after a heart-attack in her early 40s. She leaves her husband and two four-year-old twins with only a note, no way to contact her, and actively avoids ways that she can be traced so she can just take some time for herself. This really isn’t a topic I’m drawn to but Gayle Forman is the master so I was along for the ride! This book (and entire concept) is so confusing to me as I try to sort out my feelings towards it. I know how I personally feel about Maribeth’s actions but there are just so many ways to look at it. The beginning of the book before Maribeth leaves was actually kind of hard for me to read with so many situations hitting a little too close to home. Having been in a similar situation with a medical emergency turning your life completely upside down, I just had a very hard time with the decisions that Maribeth made. I was not the person who was directly medically affected but I was a big part of that whole situation and yes, it’s always hard but my thoughts were constantly directed towards, “How can I help?” and “How can I understand?” On the flip side, no matter how close you are to a person, you’re not that person going through the medical issues and there are things and feelings you won’t understand. You have fear of your own but may not understand the level of anxiety that person is feeling, in which case, I did identify with Maribeth. Her heart attack was such a complete disruption of her life in so many ways and her only way that she was finally able to handle everything was to leave all responsibilities behind, including her family. Leaving I had a hard time with. Leaving and cheating are two situations that I really struggle to forgive or forget and even if things did end up working out in the end of this book (I won’t give anything away), I knew I wouldn’t be able to forgive Maribeth for up and leaving. But then there’s the question of what strength is in this situation. Is strength staying and pushing through, working through all of the things with your family? Or is it leaving, taking some time off and gathering yourself up first? Honestly, I think either one could be the right answer but I had such a hard time with the fact that she literally abandoned her family. I know that she was not in the right mental state to really assess things, and that falls on her husband too since he didn’t really try to help around the house or with anything after Maribeth’s surgery, but it was hard for me to support Maribeth when her solution was to run. I guess we wouldn’t have much of a story if she spoke with her husband and took some sort of retreat instead of simply running… But that would have been a workable situation for me where I wouldn’t have hard feeling towards Maribeth. We’ve gone through some very hard things and our family is still in tact… but I’m also not a parent and don’t have that added responsibility and role in my family so I can’t speak on how that might affect a situation either. Life is messy and each situation is unique and complicated. I’m not in Maribeth’s family so maybe I would have handled things differently if I was in her shoes but from a reader’s perspective, it was really hard for me to fully understand. My feelings for Maribeth aside, I thought this was a very good story and as always, Gayle Forman does an amazing job of bringing so many things to light. Maribeth’s situation was definitely more complicated than just the heart attack too and these things really added to why she ended up running in the first place. I won’t say hard things justify abandonment but it does help you understand where she’s coming from a little bit more. Gayle Forman also just has a way of making these characters come to life. I felt like I really got to know Maribeth, all of her new friends, and I could easily picture Maribeth’s life with her husband and children in so many ways. I started and finished the book in one day. It was really easy to read and like so many of Gayle’s books, just so easy to get lost in. She does an amazing job of making you really feel a setting, getting you invested in a character’s story, and bringing raw, real emotions to the table. Her stories are about the more challenging sides of life and I’m actually glad she wrote this book because I wouldn’t have read this story by another author. It’s outside of my normal comfort zone — both being adult contemporary and also the “leaving factor” — and it was refreshing to think about things in a different way as I read. It’s also a bit scary, to be honest. I’ve only been married for two years and we’ve already been through a lot. I have amazing confidence in my marriage and I’m not really worried for us in the future but it does make me wonder what our life will be like in five or ten years which isn’t something I normally do. Life has taught me that there are too many thing you can’t plan for so I don’t map everything out but all I can do is hope that we grow together and build a solid foundation for our home and books like LEAVE ME really leave readers to reflect on their relationships/marriages/friendships. Even if you have an amazing relationship, there’s always a little bit more you can take into account and it’s interesting to have that reminder of what even the closest person to you might be going through without you even realizing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rash

    I think just about every Mom has thought of running away from home if nothing more than to make a statement of how much we do on a day to day basis that makes the world go round. I liked the resolution that Maribeth got with all her family dimensions but some of it was far fetched. Not very Mom has $25k to withdraw & run away to Pittsburgh. An enjoyable read but needed a lil more grit for my taste.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Inspired by a real-life health scare and the authors adopted daughter, Gayle Foreman's first adult novel is a complex, character-driven read. Maribeth is a career woman, working long hours writing for a popular magazine called Frap. She spends little time with her family and when she does she is expected to be the most involved parent despite her husband also working full-time. Things come to a head when working back one night she starts to feel chest pain. Thinking it is just indigestion from a Inspired by a real-life health scare and the authors adopted daughter, Gayle Foreman's first adult novel is a complex, character-driven read. Maribeth is a career woman, working long hours writing for a popular magazine called Frap. She spends little time with her family and when she does she is expected to be the most involved parent despite her husband also working full-time. Things come to a head when working back one night she starts to feel chest pain. Thinking it is just indigestion from a Chinese takeaway meal she soldiers on. A day later, to be on the safe side she admits herself to the hospital, as it turns out just in time to save her life after suffering a heart attack. On her return home, even with her mother present, she receives little support from. With her frustration, that does not help her recovery growing, Maribeth takes the hard decision to withdraw $25,000 in cash, get on a train and leave her husband and two young children. Well away from her family in New York, Maribeth will make new friends, flirt with the idea of finding new love, frees herself from her former life and finally looks at something she has never really considered till now, that she was adopted. With the shadow of her family always not far away, She will have to think of what is right, her new life or her family and biological mother. One theme that is consistent with Foreman's books is the fleetingness of life and with Maribeth coming close to death is once again front and center here. What's different though is the other themes of marriage, motherhood, feminism and adoption, and the impact they have on the narrative. Sadly despite nothing being inherently bad with it, I at least got the impression that with everything going on, it created a disjointed story that reminded me of the movie Boys On The Side. By no means, a bad read, Leave Me is a slow-paced novel that could have been better with a clearly defined plot.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    I know I'm supposed to look past Maribeth abandoning her family, but I can't. This has made me so angry. Forman usually writes books that twist your emotions and wreck you for days. This is everything else but that. Maribeth has an almost perfect life. A steady job for a popular magazine, a loving husband and two wonderful kids. But stress can ruin everyones perfect life. Feeling sluggish and sick, she believes its the food she ate. Until she is sent to the ER. A life altering moment and shes in e I know I'm supposed to look past Maribeth abandoning her family, but I can't. This has made me so angry. Forman usually writes books that twist your emotions and wreck you for days. This is everything else but that. Maribeth has an almost perfect life. A steady job for a popular magazine, a loving husband and two wonderful kids. But stress can ruin everyones perfect life. Feeling sluggish and sick, she believes its the food she ate. Until she is sent to the ER. A life altering moment and shes in emergency surgery and it goes wrong. Waking up, she learns that she had bypass surgery and it devastates her. She can't play with her kids and do everyday things until shes all healed. Fearing the worst might come to her kids, she thinks about finding her biological parents. Jason (Maribeths husband) leaves to go to work, even though she can't do much alone. This causes Maribeth to do the unthinkable and leave her family. Who in their right mind would up and leave their family who they adore? I don't care what you deal with. You decided to bring them into the world and you made a commitment to do everything in your power to protect then. This is why I hated this book. No normal person thinks this way and no one sure as hell doesnt cover up for your runaway lies. And what husband would be okay with all of this? Seriously!? Not very realistic and no sentiment here. I wouldn't suggest this to anyone. She should stick to YA and leave the adult stuff to someone who knows how the real world works. It saddens me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria Espadinha

    The Overwhelming Snow Ball I must confess that after reading the first part of this book, I was completely exhausted! By the time I reached the last item in the daily tasks list of this working mother, I was already panting like my dog after chasing all seagulls at the beach! Poor Mom!... No wonder she had a heart attack! Run, mother, run... Save yourself from that slave life, before it leads you to the grave! It seems to me that slavery didn't die after all! It just sneaks around, carefully disguised, The Overwhelming Snow Ball I must confess that after reading the first part of this book, I was completely exhausted! By the time I reached the last item in the daily tasks list of this working mother, I was already panting like my dog after chasing all seagulls at the beach! Poor Mom!... No wonder she had a heart attack! Run, mother, run... Save yourself from that slave life, before it leads you to the grave! It seems to me that slavery didn't die after all! It just sneaks around, carefully disguised, waiting for some easy preys like working moms to come near!... Beware, Moms! Don't let your routine tasks turn into some dangerously overwhelming snow ball!...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors, so I was really excited to see her publish Leave Me. Then, I read the description of the story, and it completely spoke to me! I jumped right in with high hopes of connecting with the main character and possibly experiencing some self-discovery of my own. I mean, what over-worked mother doesn't fantasize about a little get-a-away to focus on just yourself? Everything about Maribeth jumped right out at me… works full-time (check), two young and very, ve Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors, so I was really excited to see her publish Leave Me. Then, I read the description of the story, and it completely spoke to me! I jumped right in with high hopes of connecting with the main character and possibly experiencing some self-discovery of my own. I mean, what over-worked mother doesn't fantasize about a little get-a-away to focus on just yourself? Everything about Maribeth jumped right out at me… works full-time (check), two young and very, very busy children (check), completely over-stretched with commitments to family and friends (check), struggling with medical ailments (recent check)… yes it all hit home. So when Maribeth's medical recovery from a heart attack becomes an imposition on her family, she decides to pack up and leave for some time to heal both physically and emotionally. The first half of the story really grabbed me because of the similarities I share with the character (minus the heart attack). However, the story suddenly transpired into a mom looking for her birth mother to understand her medical history and why she was put up for adoption. As Maribeth continues her quest, she also grapples with the pain of her breakup in her early twenties to the man she was now married to. Overall, the story had a little bit of everything, and in the end I sort of lost my connection to the events and emotions of the main character. I was hoping for something different, and unfortunately this didn't quite connect with me like I hoped. Still looking forward to seeing what Forman publishes next.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookworms

    This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookviews Leave Me left me feeling a bit raw, with my emotions and my heartbeat just underneath the surface of my skin. In many ways, I was totally prepared to hate Maribeth, the main character in Leave Me. A 44-year-old mom of twins, a career woman, a wife, a friend, a daughter... One day, she was feeling out of sorts and it took until later the next day for her to figure out that she was having a heart attack. Which ended with her having op This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookviews Leave Me left me feeling a bit raw, with my emotions and my heartbeat just underneath the surface of my skin. In many ways, I was totally prepared to hate Maribeth, the main character in Leave Me. A 44-year-old mom of twins, a career woman, a wife, a friend, a daughter... One day, she was feeling out of sorts and it took until later the next day for her to figure out that she was having a heart attack. Which ended with her having open heart surgery and being out of it for a while, and recuperating in the hospital for a full week. Once back home, and really needing her husband to take care of her for a change, she once more finds herself to be the one who has to deal with everything! Taking care of the twins after school, making food, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry... You name it - Maribeth was the one who ended up doing it, even with her mom having come to New York from Florida to help out. It was impossible for me not to feel a kinship of sorts with Maribeth, as I'm 45, I have four kids, am finishing my Master's degree, and am working... And it sometimes does feel like the world (at least our family's world) rests almost completely on my shoulders. My husband is a great guy, but there are a lot of the small things he would never think to do! And so, while I don't see myself ever actually walking out on my kids and my husband - that's what Maribeth thought she had to do to survive the aftermath of her heart surgery - I could definitely understand her reasons for doing so! Leave Me really shows that while a lot of things have been done for gender equality, we still have a very long way to go in order for women to truly be able to 'do it all'! Leave Me is as much about Maribeth and her need to recuperate, to get some rest, and also find herself once more as it is about how hard it can be to be a woman who wants to have and do it all. All the choices we make have consequences, and one of the things Maribeth had always held at bay was the fact that she was adopted. She knew this, but never had the inclination to find her birth mother. After her heart attack, however, she realized that it might be important for her to know about genetic illnesses in her family. Having all of this to deal with, and with a husband who seemed to spend more and more time away from home, it was no problem for me not to be mad at Maribeth. Especially because I never saw her leaving as permanent. As the story unfolded, Maribeth learned a lot about herself, and as a reader, I was able to reassess some things right next to her. Figuring out what she truly wanted to do with the rest of her life, and how she wanted to go about it was an important part of her healing process, just as meeting new people and having to take care of only herself for a while. Written in third person point of view, past tense, and from Maribeth's perspective, Leave Me exceeded my expectations, and kept me invested in the story and the characters' outcome from start to finish! "You sure you didn't get inseminated with the wrong egg," more than one person had quipped. The joke was stinging. Because Maribeth didn't know where Liv got that princess hair from, or those apple eyes, let alone their intense gaze. Looking at the little genetic puzzle that was her daughter had opened up if not quite sadness in Maribeth, then a sonar ping of sorrow. "I believe you have a healthy heart," she said. "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." Her lists, her plans - they were her parachute, the thing to keep her from total free fall. She was in free fall now. And it wasn't killing her. In fact, she was beginning to wonder if she might've had it backwards. All that fixating on the fall... maybe she should've been paying more attention to the free.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Owens

    I was provided with an electronic ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This wasn't necessarily a bad book, but I had high expectations because it's my favorite author and I'm honestly disappointed. I honestly feel like this book was forced out of Gayle. Like her publishers really strongly wanted her to write an adult novel and come out with something new, anything at all, and "Leave Me" was the product of that. It is very well-written, with a depth of emotion and a gra I was provided with an electronic ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This wasn't necessarily a bad book, but I had high expectations because it's my favorite author and I'm honestly disappointed. I honestly feel like this book was forced out of Gayle. Like her publishers really strongly wanted her to write an adult novel and come out with something new, anything at all, and "Leave Me" was the product of that. It is very well-written, with a depth of emotion and a grasp on the human condition that I think Gayle does better than pretty much anyone else. But I still found it lacking. WARNING: Slight spoilers ahead What I liked: -Jason. Yes he was frustrating at times, and he did things that made me understand why Maribeth was so fed up with him. But he was a very emotional and young-at-heart character. And the last conversations that he and Maribeth share in this book really just made me understand his actions and like him more. He had some legitimate fears. And he was honestly trying to work with Maribeth in the end. He was 100% honest and open with her, and owned up to his faults. -The writing. GORGEOUS as always. While the story and characters didn't have as much depth as I would have liked (I will go into a bit more detail later), the writing itself was exquisite. It was intricate and got into bits about human nature that were a treat to read. Especially any time Gayle wrote about the changes Maribeth was implementing in her life - reading more, cooking full meals, shopping at thrift stores, writing to her kids, etc. -The idea of the story. This story itself seems like it is right up Gayle's alley. It had so much potential explore this issue of the overworked mother/wife, and really show how cathartic of Maribeth's vacation from life was. What I didn't like: -Maribeth. She ended up being wayyyy whinier than she should have been. She was a smart, level-headed female who knew learned how to take agency over her life. Why was she such a pushover and whiner? I didn't want to hear her contemplate the same 4 issues/struggles over and over. Not that I had issue with the struggles themselves - like I said, I liked the idea of a story written about a woman leaving her family to find herself and take a break. But I had issue with the way Maribeth was considering them. She would have the same conversation in her head over and over again. And I think it's because she never really did anything in the story. She had a really boring day-by-day life for most of the story. When Maribeth did have a new though, it was well-written though. -Stephen (her cardiologist in Philly, I think that was his name?). Ughhhh. This love story (if you can even call it that, it was so PG) was so forced and weird and unnecessary. Why couldn't Maribeth just have a platonic relationship with him, in which Stephen brings up points about her marriage and health without having to flirt? Just... no. -The pacing. Because it made for not enough detail about the things that mattered, and too much detail about things that could have been glossed over. -Lack of character development. Especially on the part of Maribeth... which is so frustrating because she's our main character! I just didn't feel like I knew her very well. The times we did spend exploring her brain and feelings intricately were well done, but there was not enough of those parts. But other characters do not have enough time as well. Elizabeth, Maribeth's former BFF. We know mostly the Elizabeth of the past because of Maribeth's multiple scenes reminiscing about the of them. But we don't know much about her personality, her current life, or why she distanced herself from Maribeth. I did like the minute where she was on the phone with Maribeth and said, "I'm here now, whatever you need. You can count on me. I know you couldn't before, and that was really awful of me, but I'm here now I promise." That was a great moment. I wanted to see more of the 2 of them as friends. We also didn't get to know Jason very well. We got some very good glimpses of him in his chats with Maribeth near the end, where he really opened up. And Maribeth opened up a lot there too. But that was it. And those were the best & most real parts of the book. It really wasn't a bad book at all, just not quite Gayle Forman par. It was definitely enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone looikng for easy Adult Contemporary reads.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jo - *✽*•.★Reading Is My Bliss★.•*✽*

    3.5 stars I have mixed emotions about this story. Mary Beth and Jase are parents to twins and both have busy careers. A lot of the juggling at home seems to be done by Mary Beth but Jase is also very hands on too. Jase is in the middle of a big project at work which means he is pulling huge hours and not as available as he normally would be. It has created a bit of anger and resentment in Mary Beth. Mary Beth is a perfectionist in all things in her life. Like a lot of women who work outside of the 3.5 stars I have mixed emotions about this story. Mary Beth and Jase are parents to twins and both have busy careers. A lot of the juggling at home seems to be done by Mary Beth but Jase is also very hands on too. Jase is in the middle of a big project at work which means he is pulling huge hours and not as available as he normally would be. It has created a bit of anger and resentment in Mary Beth. Mary Beth is a perfectionist in all things in her life. Like a lot of women who work outside of the home, she strives to do everything she can for her children, husband and her employer. She doesn't want her kids to miss out on the usual out of school activities so she has a really busy schedule to follow each week. The thing with juggling is that when you drop one of the balls everything gets out of synch. When Mary Beth begins to feel unwell and has a check up the doctor she is surprised to discover that she has had a heart attack. This leads to her having surgery, which ends up with complications and a long recovery ahead of her. Mary Beth's husband Jase promises her that during her recovery at home she will be in a bubble, he will do everything he can to support her and look after the kids while she recuperates. Unfortunately that doesn't quite pan out like she thought it would and instead of recovering she is more stressed than she was before the heart attack. So Mary Beth decides to leave. To be fair, she has just gone through a few stressful days with her kids and feels very let down by Jase when she makes this decision. However........ I just didn't agree with her decision. I get why she did it but I just think it was too extreme. I won't go into the details as that would be a spoiler but I just felt that things could have been handled differently. To be honest, I never really warmed to Mary Beth's character and I know she had a heart attack and on top of that had things from her past that she needed to explore but I found her really selfish. So a really different sort of book for me but one that definitely got under my skin.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    It was the premise that first drew me in. An overworked, underappreciated mother with a full-time job has a heart attack. And sure, her family’s concerned. At least initially. But then, the narrator gets the sense that her family resents the time she’s taking to recuperate. Overwhelmed and pissed off, she decides to run away. Whaaaaat? Me? Identify with this narrator? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway. I don’t usually spend money on hardcovers but, as soon as I read the opening page It was the premise that first drew me in. An overworked, underappreciated mother with a full-time job has a heart attack. And sure, her family’s concerned. At least initially. But then, the narrator gets the sense that her family resents the time she’s taking to recuperate. Overwhelmed and pissed off, she decides to run away. Whaaaaat? Me? Identify with this narrator? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway. I don’t usually spend money on hardcovers but, as soon as I read the opening pages, I knew I had to own this book. It didn’t disappoint. — Steph Auteri from The Best Books We Read In October 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/10/31/riot-r...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tiff at Mostly YA Lit

    Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit: Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman Leave Me by Gayle Forman. Whoa. So I feel like I should preface this review by saying that Gayle Forman is my favorite author. Just One Day is my all-time favorite YA book, and it changed my life. To say I had high expectations for Leave Me, her first adult book, is an understatement. That said, going in, I already had some reservations about the main character, Maribeth, who decides to leave her family after a heart attac Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit: Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman Leave Me by Gayle Forman. Whoa. So I feel like I should preface this review by saying that Gayle Forman is my favorite author. Just One Day is my all-time favorite YA book, and it changed my life. To say I had high expectations for Leave Me, her first adult book, is an understatement. That said, going in, I already had some reservations about the main character, Maribeth, who decides to leave her family after a heart attack. I just couldn’t imagine myself being able to relate to that or feeling that desperate in my life that I would need to do that. Is it any surprise that I was wrong? One of the things Gayle Forman does so well is crystallize how the little, mundane moments in our lives make a difference. And in her YA books, I feel like she illuminates just how precious each moment is. But in Leave Me, she pushes us further, bringing to light not just the good moments, but also those long, dark, frustrating days when you're juggling a lot, when your kids have lice and they're screaming and nothing you do seems to be working or right. I related to these moments, even without kids. I felt them. I've lived those days. So have you. And all of that on top of a healing process that's not really working? I got it. I understood why Maribeth felt like she needed to leave. Like Maribeth, I’m a perfectionist. This is a woman obsessed with being good at things: being a good mom, a good editor, a good friend. She's done everything right in life. And it’s led to her having a heart attack and feeling more underappreciated and frustrated than before. That said, I don't think everyone is going to feel like Maribeth should have left, deserved to leave, or was in the right to leave. And the great thing about this book is that you don’t have to. There’s more to the book than this. Leave Me was a surprising read because once Maribeth left, I think I expected her to take a road trip, to wander aimlessly for a bit. Instead, Maribeth ends up in another town, but with a real purpose that becomes more and more the driver of the story. While I don't feel like this thread was as strongly woven as it could have been - there are moments when the narrative seems to wander pretty far from its intended purpose - for me, Maribeth's soul-searching and self- discovery were so honest and delightful that I didn't care. The little moments, the people she meets - I loved how much they became part of her, even if they didn't move the plot a lot. Along with the theme feeling a little stifled, I also felt like the ending wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking. (view spoiler)[I would have liked to see what happened after Maribeth got back, whether she kept in touch with her Pittsburgh friends, whether she and Elizabeth grow close again - heck even whether she goes back to work. But Forman has always been a fan of open- ended conclusions, so I suppose I'll have to draw my own conclusions. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I think this was a wonderful first adult novel for Forman; I liked both the concept and most of the execution. And if there's one thing Forman is great at, it's making you remember and feel just how precious and wonderful each moment is. Like all Gayle Forman books, this one made me feel more, love harder, and want to leap farther than ever before. Bonuses: Found Families: Part of the reason I think Forman speaks to me so much as a writer is her ability to create characters who are lost and come together from all paths of life. Maribeth’s journey brings her to a place where she meets good-hearted people who are younger and older, who have suffered and lost, and who, like her, are just trying to make it through the day sometimes. And it’s only by coming together as a family that they can learn and grow. Realistic Romance: There is a romance here, though it may not seem like it. It’s one borne of deep love and commitment and recognition of getting older and the mundane things getting in the way. It’s not the romance that you dream of, but it’s one that still had my heart full at the end. YA Easter Eggs: For readers of Gayle's YA fiction, there are some cute call-out for us. And they’re delightful when you find them! Quote-tastic Moments: As always, Gayle Forman brings it in terms of quoteable moments that make you think: "And Liv, you said, "At school, we learned the blue whale has a heart so big you can walk through it." And Oscar, you said, "I want to walk through someone's heart." And I squeezed your hands and said, "You already walk through mine." "A year ago, so much uncertainty would've killed her. Her lists, her plans--they were her parachute, the thing to keep her from total free fall. She was in free fall now. And it wasn't killing her. In fact, she was beginning to wonder if she might've had it backwards. All that fixating on the fall...maybe she should've been paying more attention to the free." Book Theme Song: Sleep on the Floor by The Lumineers The lyrics don’t totally scan, but I feel like this song and its mood really get to the heart of Leave Me. Pack yourself a toothbrush dear Pack yourself a favorite blouse Take a withdrawal slip, take all of your savings out 'Cause if we don't leave this town We might never make it out I was not born to drown, baby come on If the sun don't shine on me today And if the subways flood and bridges break Will you lay yourself down and dig your grave Or will you rail against your dying day The Final Word: Leave Me by Gayle Forman is an excellent first adult novel: one that explores and mines the heart, both internally and externally. While I had initial qualms about my ability to connect with protagonist Maribeth’s conflict, I shouldn’t have doubted. Forman pulled me through - nay, delighted, examined and guided me through the difficult parts of this book. Leave Me shines with Forman’s signature spare prose, observant eye, and belief in love and humankind, while adding both the darkness and wisdom that only comes with years of learning and living. Recommended for: people who love emotional reads, mothers, daughters, people who want a realistic relationship story, people who believe in all kinds of love and their healing power. ----- LEAVE ME comes out on Tuesday, September 6. Will you be reading it and grabbing a copy immediately? How do you feel about the premise? Have you read any of Gayle's other work (if not, what are you waiting for?)? Let me know in the comments!

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