Leave Me

Originally posted November 2016

Have you ever felt like ditching everyone? Everything? Just getting on a train or a plane and leaving every professional and familial responsibility behind?

Who hasn’t?

I have. I live less than a 10-minute walk from a train station that can take me to other places that can take me about anywhere I’d want to go to disappear. Four things stop me:

  1. The thought of my kids. Even when I just want to cry, I still love them.
  2. My husband. For as much as I may ever get irritated at what feels like I am carrying the heaviest of loads, I know in my heart his is heavier.
  3. My pets. It’s possible I’ve adopted a demon dog. But my heart would break if he ever left. And the cats need someone to feed them since no one else in this house does.
  4. Financial stability. Look, escaping to Key West isn’t free. Those margaritas aren’t going to pay for themselves. And I’m not into sleeping under a bridge at night if I don’t have to.

Still, it’s fun to fantasize once in a while. And with Gayle Forman’s “Leave Me” you can enjoy the freedom of watching someone else’s life implode when the protagonist, Maribeth Klein, takes the leap and a train to Pittsburgh, escaping her husband and 4-year-old twins.

Maribeth, in her early 40s and on staff at a lifestyle magazine, is the harried fictional mother we all know and love. Full-time at work, full-time at home, and no-time for herself. Her husband Jason is sweet but oblivious and much more likely to go with the flow than she. So when Maribeth suffers a heart attack, she finally leans into her family, including her mother, for help. But in this case, if leaning in for help took the form of a trust fall, she’d have cracked her tailbone on the kitchen floor. And the kids would still want to know what’s for dinner.

When she realizes the only way she’s going to get better is to completely remove herself from the situation, Maribeth chooses Pittsburgh over NYC. Convenient, as it’s where she was adopted from. And not a coincidence — for there’s no better time than the present to see if she can locate her birth mother.

“Leave Me” was a great pic for an escapist read over a long weekend. Avid readers may finish it in one sitting, as the plot is teasing enough that you are compelled to see what happens next. Is she OK? Will Jason take her back? Does Maribeth want to go back? Or will she run off with Dr. Grant? Questions!!! It took me about two days in between miles and miles of walking Demon Dog. And it was also enjoyable in that it did not require a ton of brain power to get through—I think I’m still a little whipped from last holiday’s selection, “City on Fire.” That was a beast.

Go forth and enjoy. And let me know what you’re reading over the holidays.

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