Where would you go to escape? Pittsburgh would not be my first choice if I were running away from my life – maybe a small village in Provence would draw me in. In Gayle Forman’s first novel for adults, Leave Me, her main character, Maribeth Klein, decamps to an empty apartment near Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania.
The premise is familiar – a harried supermom juggling career and children decides she needs space to find herself again. Forman adds a heart attack and preschool twins to the drama as well as the tangent of Maribeth’s search for her birth mother. While many of Maribeth’s solutions may seem convenient and unbelievable – a ready amount of cash withdrawn from the bank, a handsome doctor to help her recuperate, a landlord who rents month to month with no references or credit check – her angst and desire to leave it all ring true.
Although the plot seems formulaic, Forman manages to touch a nerve familiar to everyone who has just had enough, and offers some wisdom with her humor. Thankfully, all ends well and Maribeth finds her mojo again. A quick read and a nice distraction, Leave Me reminded me of Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years – not as good, but just as entertaining. Amazingly, Tyler’s book is on my shelf, so I may reread it and vicariously escape again.