By Gayle Forman
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616206178, September, 6, 2016, 352pp.
The Short of It:
These days, busyness is a sickness and women who’ve battled with the concept of balance, will probably be able to relate to much of what this book is about. Unfortunately, the main character was a huge disappointment and the ending left me unsatisfied.
The Rest of It:
Maribeth Klein suffers a heart attack and doesn’t even realize it. In her mid-forties, the possibility doesn’t even occur to her. She goes about her day, working, running errands and meeting with friends until she can no longer ignore the increasing pain in her chest and arm. It’s only when the doctor at a routine appointment decides to err on the side of caution, that she ends up in surgery.
After emergency bypass surgery, Maribeth wakes to a new reality. One that involves a limited diet, a long recovery and the fact that even though she is far from healed, she is still expected to do all the things she did before. This includes caring for her twins which is incredibly overwhelming to her. She becomes resentful towards her husband for not doing enough to help but at the same time, she plays martyr and insists on doing things herself.
Maribeth is a frustrating individual.
After her near death experience, she runs away from her obligations by pulling out cash, packing a bag and going off the grid for awhile. She sets up in another town, hooks up and flirts with her new cardiac specialist, decides to look for her birth mother because well, she’s adopted which is why she wasn’t aware of any heart issues and basically lives as “MB” without too much concern over what her disappearance is doing to her family back home.
Women, mothers in general, should try to put themselves first once in awhile. I wholeheartedly agree. We get swept up with the everyday stuff and it wears us down. BUT, Maribeth is married and leaves not only her husband but her two young children as well.
I was not okay with this.
This made Maribeth come off as arrogant and selfish which I am sure the author was not going for. Plus, the ending was as if even the author had had enough of MB. Turned a page, done. Like turning off a faucet.
I’ve read Forman’s work before. Although this book had a lot of potential it went south pretty early on. I was immediately pulled in but Maribeth was just not likable and so much of what she does and how she goes about doing it seemed too easy.
This is not a book I can recommend, except for it serving as a reminder to not be all things to all people.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
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