I think many individuals are in a way like Maribeth and I found myself in her shoes many times throughout this novel. Maribeth tried to be a perfectionist, she tried to jungle everything that life threw at her but she failed to take care of herself. It was just the way things were, she knew no different, running from one thing to another: work, family, the kid’s schedules and trying to maintain an ideal family, Maribeth was always on until the day she started not to feel good. A trip to the walk-in clinic lands Maribeth in the hospital and her life as she knew it, has changed. A heart attack has now set Maribeth back, a medical condition she feels she is too young to have suffered. This was a wakeup call for her and she takes the doctor’s advice seriously. Knowing she must make some major adjustments, Maribeth feels helpless and her emotions are edgy and strong. I understood her conflict as she battled to change. Work, her role at home and her relationship with her children are scaled back as she tries to heal physically but the emotional and mental toll that they played on her are just as difficult if not worse. I was not ready for the dramatic step that Maribeth took as she started to pack her bags and leave everything behind. Maribeth felt she needed to get away to heal herself, where she was going, she didn’t know. Who does this? How can you do this to small children who need their mother? As she made her new life in her new apartment, I was resentful that she was living off the grid without her family, carrying on like a runaway. I was totally hooked in this story, I had to know the future of this family, was their hope for them? Was she really planning on ditching her family forever? How did her husband feel about this?
This was a great novel to listen to on audio. The characters were wonderful and I enjoyed especially the ones that Maribeth met in Pittsburgh where she tried to live anonymously. I have always enjoyed Gayle Forman novels and this one is definitely worth checking out. 4.5 stars