Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Leave Me"

Gayle Forman is a journalist and award-winning and New York Times bestselling author whose many young adult novels include I Was Here, Just One Day, and If I Stay, which was also a major motion picture. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Forman applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Leave Me, and reported the following:
This test is uncanny. I’ve done it for several of my books and it always lands on a significant page but maybe never more so than in Leave Me.

Page 69 is short, three brief paragraphs. Maribeth Klein is a busy, overextended working mother, trying to juggle her job as a magazine editor, her demanding four-year-old twins, with minimal help from her well-meaning but hapless husband. She’s so busy that when she begins having chest pains and nausea, she refuses to believe it’s a heart attack. (Who has time for that?) But it is, and the diagnosis eventually leads to emergency bypass surgery.

Coming home from the hospital to recover, Maribeth discovers that the people around her are so used to leaning on her that she cannot lean on them. The refrigerator is empty. The taxes go unpaid. The kids come home from school with lice. Tired and depleted, Maribeth struggles to keep the balls in the air.

But she can’t. A few weeks after her surgery, she feels herself deteriorating, healing backwards, leading her to fear not just for her life, but for what would become of her four-year-old twins if something were to happen to her. In a panic, she calls in a sympathetic visiting nurse named Luca for an exam. Though Maribeth’s heart rate and EKG check out fine, Luca commiserates with her patient’s predicament—she tells Maribeth that a common fantasy among women is a hospital stay because it’s a guilt-free vacation. On page 69, Luca tells Maribeth: “If you want to get better, really better, well, you’re going to have to do that for yourself.”

This turns out to be pivotal for what comes next. Because on the next page, Maribeth takes that advice to heart. She packs a bag and runs away.
Learn more about the book and author at Gayle Forman's website.

The Page 69 Test: If I Stay.

The Page 69 Test: Where She Went.

--Marshal Zeringue