Book Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me…

Book Description:

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

For every woman who has ever fantasised 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.




My Thoughts:

     I was thrilled to discover this novel by Gayle Forman, her first foray into fiction for adults. I’ve enjoyed her YA offerings, particularly Just One Day and Just One Year, so I knew I was unlikely to be disappointed, but even so, I was still impressed by how brilliant Leave Me was.
     This is a quietly powerful story about a woman’s inner search after going through a serious medical situation. I highly doubt there would be many women who wouldn’t be able to relate to Maribeth’s life on some level.
     I’ve been reading over various reviews and comments about this novel, and I want to stress that the point of this novel is so much deeper than what many are giving it credit for. This isn’t a story about a woman running away or cracking under the pressure of her daily life. It’s a story about reaching a crossroads. Realising that your life, the way you are living it in this very moment, is not working and seeking to do something about that.
     Maribeth chose to remove herself in order to find herself. I loved the bravery that was involved in this decision and enjoyed Maribeth’s introspection throughout. I felt this was a very human story, focused on emotion and relationships, and it worked so well. The ending was fitting and perfect, as though everything had come full circle.
     While I enjoy Gayle’s YA and NA novels, I sincerely hope this is just the first of many novels she plans to write for adults. She has a wonderful style of story telling that cuts right to the heart of a person and what they’re going through in any given situation. Her work is raw and honest, and extremely relatable. In terms of US authors, Gayle Forman is right up there with the best of them in my opinion.


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

  1. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this before now. It does sound like an intriguing story, but as a wife and mother, I couldn’t imagine leaving my family behind. Of course, I haven’t read the story, but there would need to be some serious introspection and reality checks in the aftermath of abandoning your family. I read If I Stay many years ago and enjoyed the way the story was told and how it bloomed over the course of the novel. I’ll add this one to my list to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure what sort of release buzz was generated in the US, but here it kind of just appeared on the shelves. I bought it from Kmart, but they only got in a few copies.
      What you mention, about being a wife and mother and not being able to imagine leaving your family behind is the very reason this is such a great novel. Neither could I, but Maribeth’s situation was eye opening and the evaluation of her actions after leaving is handled skillfully. I think you will enjoy it if you liked If I Stay.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this review Theresa, and particularly your addressing what you see as limitations in other people’s assessments of this book.

    Have you ever read Anne Tyler’s Ladder of years. It’s also about a woman who ups and leaves – and is a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll have to look that one up, I like Anne Tyler.
    I’m too bossy to let unjust assessments go. It’s inappropriate for the author to address them, but I have no reason not to! But I admire an author who shapes a story around a contentious issue or situation and if it’s been handled well, it deserves to have that pointed out. You may not like what the character did, or why they did it, but if it made sense, then that deserves acknowledgement. My biggest irritant comes from readers who prefer commercial genre fiction having a crack at a more literary novel, not ‘getting’ it and then slamming it to pieces because it’s really just not the book for them. It’s not even the style for them. There’s nothing constructive there. I saw a lot of that when scrolling through reviews for Leave Me. All focused on her actual act of leaving and coming up with a subsequent character assination. They missed the point entirely and I enjoyed the novel enough to want to try and counter that a little.


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