Leave Me

Leave Me

4.2 5
by Gayle Forman

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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


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?


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
YA author Forman’s successful foray into adult fiction features a New York City magazine editor, Maribeth Klein, an über-organized mom who is juggling her stressful job, a self-involved husband, and a set of preschool twins that are a handful. She’s so busy helping everyone else she ignores her heart attack symptoms, ending up with emergency bypass surgery. Following this massive disruption in her life, Maribeth decides the only way to recover from the emotional and physical trauma of what she’s been through is to suddenly leave her family, fleeing to Pittsburgh, not only to escape but also, spurred by her health problems, to find out more about her own background as an adoptee. The author nimbly explores what drove Maribeth from her family as well as what compels her to look for her birth mother at the age of 44. She goes off the grid—using cash from her savings, a burner phone, old-fashioned yellow pages, and the local library—to get her bearings and put a semblance of a life together. With humor and pathos, Forman depicts Maribeth’s complicated situation and her thoroughly satisfying arc, leaving readers feeling as though they’ve really accompanied Maribeth on her journey. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“Gayle Forman is known for her dreamy but hard-hitting young adult novels, including the best-selling If I Stay.  With her first foray into grown-up fiction, Leave Me, she doesn’t shy away from the tough questions in this deep-diving and highly entertaining read. It’s hard not to relate to—and root for—Maribeth even as she does the unthinkable: abandons her children.” —Family Circle
“Popular teen author Forman’s adult debut examines just what it means to be a working mother—beholden to everyone, seemingly obligated to forget who you really are. Maribeth’s search for her birth mother and the way she settles into her new—albeit temporary—life away from home will strike a chord with readers, especially those who enjoy Jennifer Weiner and Meg Wolitzer.” —Booklist, starred review
“Absorbing…LEAVE ME deftly explores the domestic struggles of 21st-century bourgeois life. This is an insightful ode to – and cautionary tale for – the overburdened working mother.” —BookPage
“YA author Forman’s successful foray into adult fiction…With humor and pathos, Forman depicts Maribeth’s complicated situation and her thoroughly satisfying arc, leaving readers feeling as though they’ve really accompanied Maribeth on her journey.” Publishers Weekly
Award-winning teen author Forman's (I Was Here, 2015, etc.) adult debut nails the frustrations of working motherhood…. An appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated. —Kirkus Reviews

“At times funny, at times heartbreaking, Leave Me is a promising entrance into adult genres for the already-bestselling author.” —Foreword Reviews

“How do we reinvent ourselves when we can’t even recognize the body we are in? Can you know where you’re headed if you don’t know where you came from? These are the questions faced by the prickly Maribeth, the complex and fascinating character at the center of Leave Me. In her first novel for adults, Forman reminds the reader that the answer to both questions involves getting to the heart of the matter.” —Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time

“Told with humor and heart, Leave Me reveals that sometimes you have to leave everything you treasure in order to find your way back home. A moving testament to the persistence of love and the healing power of forgiveness.” —Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow
“Here’s to complicated women and the authors who write them! Whatever the age of her characters, Gayle Forman is a compassionate, gifted observer of women’s lives.” —Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Library Journal
Forman is no stranger to complex and emotional stories, having written the best-selling YA novel If I Stay, which was turned into a movie of the same name in 2014, along with writing its sequel Where She Went and the "Just One Day" series. In her first adult book, Forman breathes life into the story of 44-year-old magazine editor Maribeth Klein, too overworked and overwhelmed to realize that her chest pains were, in fact, a heart attack. While contemplating her future, Maribeth comes to terms with her past, fleeing her husband, Jason, and children Liv and Oscar to uncover the secrets of her adoption in Pittsburgh. Forman shines in letting readers decide if Maribeth is a villain for abandoning her family or a victim of her circumstances, following her long recovery through mysterious appointments with Dr. Grant, swimming lessons with adoption researcher Janice, and excursions with neighbors Todd and Sunita. In learning that everyone, including members of her birth and adoptive families, has secrets, Maribeth realizes the power of family in friends. VERDICT While it may leave fans of Forman's previous books wanting more, this novel is sure to be in demand and will especially interest adoptees and their families. [See Prepub Alert, 3/28/16.]—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
What if an overworked mother simply walked away? Could she find herself yet keep her abandoned family?Maribeth works full time, keeps house , and even manages to be a hands-on mother to her 4-year-old twins so her husband, Jason, can work longer hours —after all, it's not easy to make it in the music business. So when she starts feeling a bit queasy, tired, and achy one day, she simply carries on. Luckily a previously scheduled appointment with her gynecologist soon sends her to the hospital. But a heart attack and emergency bypass surgery don't buy her any recovery time. Within days of being sent home, her mother, who was supposed to help her recuperate, doesn't, even refusing to go to the store in the rain; the twins require emergency lice patrol; and Jason calls her selfish. At her wits' end, Maribeth walks away. Circumspect but careful about her health, she looks for a cardiologist who will accept her on a no-insurance, cash-only basis. She lands in the office of Stephen Grant, a man who clearly has secrets of his own: his name is spoken in hushed tones, he doesn't appear to have any other patients, and, unlike the cursory doctors of her past, he takes the time to really understand Maribeth. Maribeth's thoughts turn to finding her biological mother, leading her to Janice Pickering, founder of BurghBirthParents.org, who takes a personal interest in her. Award-winning teen author Forman's (I Was Here, 2015, etc.) adult debut nails the frustrations of working motherhood, though the love complications conveniently disappear and the frayed ends of Maribeth's life are retied too easily. An appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated.

Product Details

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
HL720L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Gayle Forman is a bestselling, award-winning author of young adult novels. Leave Me is her first novel for adults. Her novel If I Stay won the 2009 NAIBA Book of the Year Award and was a 2010 Indie Choice Honor Award winner. The film adaptation of If I Stay was released in 2014. Forman is also a journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle. She has visited more than forty countries and wrote a nonfiction book about her travels titled You Can’t Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World. Forman lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two daughters.

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Leave Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 7 days ago
A very sweet & relatable story with endearing characters. Not the author's usual YA novel
Deb-Krenzer 8 days ago
I could really relate to this character a LOT! I remember when I had my first child and my husband stayed home from work to "help". He spent his time in the garage. This was 1980, I had to get up out of bed, pass the nursery, the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, go into the backyard to the garage and ask for his help. It was easier to do it myself. Which I did. I really felt for this woman. She had a heart attack. Then she had a stent put in. Then she had to have open heart surgery. Then she was allowed to go home. She had her husband, who was no help. Her husband called her mother to come over and help. She helped some. However, when Maribeth did get out of bed, all she saw was dirty dishes and laundry everywhere. The kids (kindergarden age) would come running in and jump on her and no one would help the poor woman. How is that resting? They would want books read at bedtime and no one would step up and say "mom's resting, let me do that". Nope it was all up to mom. I was really disappointed with the grandmother. It's no wonder Maribeth did what she did. Oh to be Maribeth for a day, a week, or even a month. It's every mother's dream. This was a great fantasy book, because none of us would ever do it. How would it look? We are women, we are mothers, we are strong. BS. I loved this story and I would gladly parade up and down the street holding a sign saying "Yay for Maribeth!". Don't know what I'm talking about? Then you definitely need to get this book and live the fantasy at least as long as it takes to read the book, especially if your a working mom with children. Or, if like Maribeth, you've had a serious illness or operation. It will make you smile. Thanks Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley and great entertainment in exchange for an honest review.
MsArdychan 14 days ago
This was a wonderful book, full of winning characters. Please Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the content of my review in any way. I have only read one other Gayle Forman book, If I Stay which, to be blunt, I didn't care for. Yet this book, the author's first adult novel, was wondrous. I think it's because I wasn't the target audience for If I Stay, but I could completely relate to Leave me. The story is about a woman who is so busy taking care of her family that she doesn't realize she having a heart attack. While I have not had that particular thing happen to me, I did have breast cancer a few years ago. While I did get help with my kids from my friends, I still felt an intense pressure to pretend that everything was okay. What I liked: Characters: Maribeth: Maribeth is living the life she aspired to (sort of). She has the husband, the kids, and the career. But she also has tremendous responsibilities. It takes a lot to run a household and, despite the changing times, the majority of it still falls to Maribeth. Gayle Forman gets the details just right: the bills that need to get paid, the lessons the kids must attend, the playgroups and parent-to-parent relationships that take effort to maintain. It is a juggling act that is bound to fall apart when Maribeth becomes ill. Jason: At first, I found Jason to be infuriating. He is completely clueless as he expects Meribeth to hurry up and quickly resume her hectic schedule. He doesn't seem to get that she just survived a terrible ordeal. I was expecting Jason to fall into the role of the scapegoat for the book. But the author didn't go the easy route. As the story progresses, Jason's character develops where I can see why Meribeth fell in love with him in the first place. It was a delightful turn that I didn't expect. Secondary Characters: There are many wonderful characters in this book. The neighbors, Sunita and Todd offer a glimpse into how relatively easy young adulthood is compared with Maribeth's current life. Stephen is a doctor who has been through his own life-altering incident. There is also Janice, who is helping Maribeth look for her birth mother. Each character is well-developed and I wound up caring about each of them. What I Was Mixed About: Although I think that Maribeth had to leave in order to heal herself, I think this could only happen in a book. It was very convenient for her to have a small inheritance to rely on so money wasn't an issue. This, however, was a very minor annoyance for me. I think she had to get away in order to sort out her life. This was a wonderful book, full of winning characters.
xorubituesdays 17 days ago
**3.5 stars** Leave Me was a very interesting book for me. On one end, I am 28 years old and have no children so my life is a lot more relaxed than that of most around me. On the other end, I am the youngest of 7 children and the daughter of a stay-at-home mom who carried the majority of that weight alone. Although I've never been the one tiny mouths depended on, I can recall looking around more than once and wondering how the heck she did it. So even though I couldn't relate to our main character Maribeth firsthand, I felt for her because I knew she was the unofficial spokeswoman for many women across the world! "The logistics of their weekends generally made her feel like an air traffic controller, but right now, she just couldn't keep the planes in the air." Gayle Forman poured herself into this novel and you can feel Maribeth's frustration jump out at you. The first half of the book was spent with me having the overwhelming desire to shake those around her. It hurt to see a woman who selflessly put herself last get taken for granted by those she put first. I couldn't necessarily agree with the way Maribeth chose to play things out, but I could understand the thought process behind her decisions. "I believe you have a healthy heart. 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." I really enjoyed the first 3 quarters of this book and the range of characters we met in the process. It was the ending that felt a bit abrupt. I sort of felt like story lines were opened up that this book could have done without (in particular her 2nd doctor) and I would have liked either an extended ending or an epilogue. Either way, I do think that this book was made for the many women who feel taken for granted, unappreciated, and have fantasized about taking a couple of weeks off. I don't think up and leaving the way Maribeth did is for everyone, but I do believe that Leave Me can serve as a daydream of "what if". **Big thanks to Algonquin Books and Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange of an honest review.**
Myndia 19 days ago
Maribeth is a 44 year old mother of preschool aged twins, working in New York City at a magazine. As is so often the case, the bulk of child and house related responsibilities fall on her plate, in addition to working a very taxing job. When she has an unexpected heart attack, she starts to realize that her life and her relationship are not at all where she wants them to be, and she takes drastic action to try and right herself. In the process, she meets new people and learns a great deal about herself as well as the quality of her previous relationships. Oh my, there was so, so much in this book that I identified with. Wrestling with being a mother and a wife and a daughter and a friend, and juggling all the responsibilities and complexities that go along with those roles while still finding some semblance of yourself? It feels impossible sometimes. And frustrating. And it’s hard not to feel unappreciated, forgotten, even taken advantage of. In the book, Maribeth’s home nurse says that many women she has cared for have secretly hoped for an extended hospital stay because it’s the only way they could get a real vacation from their lives, where no one expected anything of them, where people were taking care of them for once. Oh, how very much I relate to that! Definitely an emotionally complex book. As much as I identified with Maribeth’s feelings about her role in her own life, the way in which she dealt with her feelings was not something I could – or would – ever do. She is very lucky that she had the people in her life that she did because I don’t think things would work out that way for me (or most people) if I made the same choice. I understand the desire to do what she did, but I have a hard time understanding actually doing it. And maybe that’s the point. If we really love people, we should give them leeway to do what they need, and we shouldn’t wait until they are hurting and desperate to do so. And we shouldn’t wait until a near death experience to take stock of our lives either. Every day we’re breathing is a chance to choose a different way, a different perspective, to communicate what we need, and to give our loved ones the chance to step up. A really great book that pulled on all my heart strings, and made me reconsider – once again – how much of a role I have in how things are and how I feel. Self-reflection can be a wonderous thing. Definitely recommend. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.