Thursday, September 22, 2016

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Driving home from class the other week, I heard an interview with Gayle Forman on NPR about this book. I came in midstream, and couldn't hear the end because grocery shopping didn't allow for a driveway moment. Nonetheless, the discussion and the snippet read grabbed my attention. It was not particularly because I related to adoption, or being an overworked mother of twins, or having a heart attack (though I do sometimes have chest pain, but it's always been relieved by albuterol, and thus far, stemmed from my lungs. My dad conked out at 61 from Coronary Artery Disease, so the question does wiggle around in my head.) I've never wanted to just walk away from it all and start anew, though have had at least two friends who wanted to, one who did, and one who got 141 miles down Interstate 26 before deciding to turn around and go home to her husband and two sons. Something about the personal backstory, the whys behind Forman writing this book, and also the tone in her voice when she talked about the experience grabbed my attention, so very shortly after, I grabbed the book. It was a quick read for me, (it's not been 24 hours since I picked it up, and I'm done) and I liked it. It fit the need for a book that took me out of my own experience, without making me grimace in pain, or plod through sorrow. For all the issues it deals with (early onset heart attack, abandonment, stress, relationship stuff. motherhood, adoption, running away) it was approachable, and the characters, while confused, even deadened emotionally, remained of interest for me. And yes, there was growth and resolution, and humor, which is always a bonus. It was a romantic book, not in the sense of heaving breasts and bed hopping, but it the way the author crafted a dark time optimistically, and let frozen lives thaw.

To be fair, I was very underwhelmed by a previous novel by Ms Foreman, and had no intention of reading this until I heard the interview. It's a good reminder for me to stay open-minded.

Tags: heard-interview-with-author, i-heard-about-it-on-npr, read, rounded-up-in-star-rating, thank-you-charleston-county-library
From the publisher: For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for 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.

Afterward, 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 so often the case, once we get to 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 finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

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