Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

leavemePublished by: Simon & Schuster (Australia)
ISBN 13: 9781471156809 (ebook)
ISBN 13: 9781471156786 (paperback)
Published: September 2016
Pages: 352
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

This book is exactly what I needed at the time. Overworked and underappreciated, Maribeth is the working mother of four-year-old twins who doesn’t even realise she’s had a heart-attack (she’s too young to have one!) until she raises a mild concern to her doctor (and its just lucky she was already going there finally for another appointment she’d been putting off for a while). At first amidst all the tests she’s annoyed that she’s falling behind in work and that she can’t reach her somewhat unreliable husband to pass along pick-up duties for the kids… but then suddenly things are a whole lot more serious when she has to have emergency bypass surgery, and stay in hospital for a week.

From here it turns out her mother has been called in to help look after the twins, which only means a third person for Maribeth to look after so soon after an operation. The woman is seriously useless – when something is needed from the shops urgently she (Maribeth’s mother) refuses to go out in the rain because rain, so Maribeth goes. Her husband is suddenly spending longer and longer at work, and the twins are over-emotional and upset that their mother isn’t getting back to normal instantly and doing mum-things.

It’s at this stage that Maribeth reacts a little childishly. Possibly thinking that she’s done so well and so much for so long that they could cut her a little slack and help out, and baby her for a change, but her family are used to her being Wonder Woman, so when she suddenly isn’t able to be anymore they’re less than understanding. So Maribeth packs a bag, gets on a train, and leaves.

She loves her family deeply, and writes letters she’ll never send to the twins almost every day, but this is what it takes for them all to clear their heads a little and look at things objectively, and Maribeth comes to realise a lot of things about herself, her family, and life in general. She makes some new friends who aren’t ‘forced’ friends as I call them (other parents of children your own kids are near – not necessarily people you want to be around) and gets some space from what she thought was her dream job with her best friend, but may not necessarily still be the case.

This was a book I devoured in mere hours. Not a whole lot happens, but the characters are relatable, it’s not one-sided, and I’m glad to have read it. This is a solid read that’s believable, and the ending was satisfying in a way I wasn’t sure would be possible until Forman made it work.

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