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.
I’m obviously not the target audience for this novel, but I’ve read several of Forman’s YA novels, and I was curious to see how she tackled the adult audience. Also, as I’ve moved on from college and begun to establish my identity as an adult woman, I’ve become fascinated with studying the (real or fictional) stories of women in many stages of life. I think that doing so makes me more prepared for life transitions and helps me identify what I want out of my life.
And Leave Me addresses a common problem for women: feeling overworked and underappreciated. Most women don’t resort to literally running away from their homes, but they rebel in other ways. I’m scared of that feeling. I’m scared of feeling trapped by what should be a dream. I think maybe a lot of young women are.
So, how does Leave Me handle that nightmare
Pace of Life
I don’t read very many novels. When you come from the fast-paced world of fantasy, YA, and thrillers to straight contemporary fiction, the pace change can be jarring. It took me a few tries to settle into Leave Me, but when I did, I appreciate the thoughtful pace. Plot happens the way life often happens–in pieces that may not add up for chapters.
It ends that way too, with some loose ends. That’s the way life is. You don’t always get all the answers you want. Now, maybe, you’re not looking for real life in your fiction. In that case, you will probably have issues with this book. But for me, I appreciated the almost memoir-ish feel of the story.
I don’t think Leave Me is for everyone, but it is a thought-provoking read. Gentlemen, I recommend reading for insight into the way women in your life may be feeling. This could be a good conversation starter.