We all know that responsibilities (those things that make you get out of bed) are terrible. Work piles up, loved ones (and not-so-loved ones) demand our help and attention and sometimes you just can鈥檛 even. In this week鈥檚 book club, we turn to three escapist fantasies: three stories starring women who seek to get away from it all in extreme fashion. Read on, pick one of these books up and escape your own responsibilities 鈥 well, for at least a few hours anyway.


1. Black Wave by Michelle Tea ($12): Black Wave reads like a memoir with a twist 鈥 the memoirist鈥檚 world is rapidly (and literally) coming undone around her as she writes. Michelle, 鈥渁 poet, a writer, the author of a small book published by a small press that revealed family secrets, exposed her love life, and glamorized her recreational drug intake,鈥 is still dealing with those addictions: doomed romantic interludes with absolutely the wrong women, increasing drug use and the cooler-than-thou world of San Francisco鈥檚 Mission District in the heyday of the 1990s. Things, however, were about to change radically for this radical.

鈥淓very time Michelle blinked a familiar place had shimmered into an alien establishment.鈥 When the artists begin to leave town and are supplanted by pricey rents and corporate culture, Michelle feels the need to flee the city she can鈥檛 seem to quit and heads toward Los Angeles, thinking she鈥檒l find herself a new life and grow up a little. Instead, she has to grow up a bit faster than that, as we鈥檙e treated to scenes from an alternate universe where chaos reigns and the natural world has almost been completely devastated. It鈥檚 almost like the world is trying to escape itself, as the warnings go up for its imminent destruction in less than one year.

Black Wave has a potential message about addiction and its analog in how humanity is destroying the environment, as Michelle begins to write her own self-referential novel and turns suddenly clear eyes toward the end of her known universe, a world poisoned by and now poisoning its inhabitants. It鈥檚 not a lecture, though, but a wild escape from the ordinary, a book that鈥檚 very aware of itself and its art. BUST says, 鈥淭his book exists in a new kind of literary ecosystem 鈥攐ne that doesn鈥檛 need to fit neatly into the structures of an older era.鈥


2. Leave Me by Gayle Forman ($18): There鈥檚 an old saying: 鈥淎 mother鈥檚 work is never done.鈥 But what if you鈥檙e a mother, and you鈥檙e just done with the concept? In Gayle Forman鈥檚 Leave Me, lead character Maribeth works herself into an early heart attack; her husband Jason鈥檚 foray into music has her doing all the housework, while working a stressful full-time job and being almost solely responsible for their four-year-old twins鈥 care. When, in the aftermath of her heart surgery, Maribeth鈥檚 adoptive mother refuses to lift a finger to help her and Jason calls her selfish, Maribeth has had more than enough of both physical and emotional labor. Figuratively strapping herself into her escape pod, she jettisons her former life and takes off.

Maribeth鈥檚 new life has its own complications, with possible romance coming from a handsome but circumspect new cardiologist she鈥檚 hired to fly under the radar, and a friendship with a woman she meets in her search to find her birth mother. 鈥淪he felt almost tearfully grateful to be off the hook, and residually angry because she was always on the hook,鈥 writes Forman of the harried Maribeth (sound familiar?), who has just convinced her reluctant husband to make dinner while she 鈥渟lacks off鈥 by having a stent placed in a coronary artery.

Forman, a celebrated author of teen lit (like If I Stay, the winner of several awards and a film adaptation), gives us her first adult novel, one of the hotly anticipated new releases of the year. Kirkus describes the book as 鈥渁n appealing fairy tale for the exhausted and underappreciated,鈥 which, hello, would pretty much be all of us. If you鈥檙e thinking about walking off, give this a read first.


3. Nine Island by Jane Alison ($10): J, the main character and narrator of Nine Island, is walking away from even the idea of having a relationship. She鈥檚 left a decade-long marriage behind, moved to live on her own in a depressing apartment complex by a Miami beach (鈥渘o country for old women鈥), and is witnessing the slow decay of her neighbors, her blind and deaf cat and her aging mother.

J works on her translation of Ovid (her guide to love since teenagehood) while staring out the window of her box of a home, finding escape in the human dramas she witnesses across the way. She wonders if finally giving up on romance and dating will be the freeing action she needs. 鈥淪uch a sickness, wanting,鈥 she writes. 鈥淣o end?鈥 J鈥檚 mother, a similar wanderer through the world of relationships, commiserates with her that perhaps it really is time to walk away.

J addresses the audience directly, as if we鈥檙e watching her through her own window. Like the glimpses J gets of her neighbors in the building across the street, Nine Island is an episodic look into J鈥檚 life and musings. First initials and nicknames abound, from old flings Lurch and Sad Eyes to Sir Gold, the instigator of J鈥檚 first heartbreak three decades ago and then the final, heartbreaking month-long relationship that convinced J it 鈥淪hould be good to give up on disaster.鈥 Does she return, or does she walk away without looking back at the explosion? You鈥檒l have to escape into this tale to find out.

What books help you get away? Tag us in your next escapist read @BritandCo.

(Featured photo via Getty)