Title: Leave Me
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Source: NetGalley eARC
Recovery, and not feeling like I’m recovering fast enough, has been on my mind a lot lately. As a woman, and a wife, I feel like there are certain things that are expected of me that even though I’ve been sick, need to still be met. Recovery time is too short and we’re supposed to be on our game no matter what we’ve been through. We’re women, so we can still take care of everything despite having no energy.
I found this sentiment to be echoed in Gayle Forman’s latest novel, Leave Me. Maribeth Klein suffers from a heart attack that she let go to the point of needing open heart surgery to repair. Afterwards, her world is completely turned upside down. Pre-heart attack Maribeth worked too much for a posh New York City magazine (because when you’re an editor, work hours don’t exist), took care of her house, and chased after her young twins. Her husband did what he could, when he could–which is understandable given the amount of pressure he was under at work. Following her surgery, Maribeth is supposed to spend time recovering and no one understands. The same expectations that were in place previously are still there. In fact, there’s more pressure on her: Now that she’s home all the time, shouldn’t she be able to take care of everything?
So Maribeth leaves.
One moment, she’s Maribeth Klein living in an expensive NYC apartment, mother of two, editor at a popular, sophisticated magazine. The next, she’s M.B. Goldman who lives off cash and a burner phone in a pre-furnished apartment in Pittsburgh. The one thing that’s followed her into this new life is the idea that the heart attack she had was her fault and that there was something she could’ve done, especially when it comes to her diet. But as the weight of her choice begins to weigh her down, Maribeth begins to question everything–even things she’s not ready for the answers to yet.
With a cast of characters that warms your heart, Forman digs deep into the blurred lines of blame and recovery, of relationships, of identity, and into the nuances of marriage in Leave Me.