Ambushed. That’s what I was yesterday. I picked up LEAVE ME, by Gayle Forman, from the library. Read it in one day. That is unusual for me. But I found myself so absorbed in this first adult novel that I simply could not and would not put it down.
“For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for anyone who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention, here is Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins she doesn’t even realize that she’s had a heart attack.”
Why was this novel so compelling for me, you might ask? Well, it reminded me of how under-appreciated many working moms truly are. After all, it’s the moms who are expected to do it “all.” And I do mean all. All is not what it even was when I was a young mother raising three children. We didn’t have the events that kids have now. And we certainly did not have play dates. For heaven’s sake. Kids went out to play; period:) The pressure just was not the same. So when I saw what was going on with Maribeth right from the get-go, something snapped inside me. I was in for the count.
My daughter is a working mother of two incredible kids. She works full-time outside the home, then comes home and works more full-time on her blog, and she cooks dinner, packs lunches, grocery shops, and cleans her house. Plus, she has a husband who also works. And he’s pretty good about helping out. Still, it’s amazing what she accomplishes. But it’s not without it’s downfalls. I know she could use more me-time.
So Maribeth is a working mom of twins aged four. Boy and girl. Sweet little things. But very needy and demanding. Jason, Maribeth’s busy husband, works full-time at a job with the music industry in NYC. That’s where they live. Expensive place to live. But they love living in the city. The story sets us up pretty well. Lots of stress right off the bat trying to get everything done. And Maribeth is feeling less than stellar. No one seems to care. Everyone is living in their own small world. Well, she’s having a heart attack at the age of 44.
I will not give stuff away about this novel. It would be so easy to do this. But, let’s just say Maribeth does not get the back up and the care she truly needs here. So she makes a decision to do something rash to say the least.
I can’t help but wonder how many women have ever contemplated this move when things got so tough. I will say that it crossed my mind, but that is all it did. Fantasy is not a bad thing. What Maribeth does is shocking, but I see why she did it.
The grass is sometimes greener on the other side of the fence, but maybe not for long. I can’t relate to Maribeth’s decision, however, most of us have had times in our lives where we were at crossroads. That is what this is. She totally felt as if she would die if she did not do this thing.
The story is so compelling. It’s a quick and easy read. Forman was a teen author before tip-toeing into the adult genre. You can tell that. But it’s okay by me. Her characters are all far from perfect. Her adopted mother is a piece of work. Oh, did I not tell you she is adopted. That comes into play bigtime.
Kirkus says, ” An appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated .” But, like I said, it’s just a fantasy for most women…
For those of you with working daughters with young families, and those daughters themselves, this is your book. This is a story you can fit in because you will devour it like a piece of cake. I immediately emailed my daughter and told her to put it on her TBR list RIGHT NOW.
LEAVE ME by Gayle Forman was published by Algonquin Books earlier this month. It’s unputdownable!