Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: Saving Max

Title: “Saving Max”
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
Publisher: Mira Books/Harlequin
Date of Publication: October 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2963-3
Format: Trade Paper
Pages: 384
Category: Fiction/Suspense
Synopsis: Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder. Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous. Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death. Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer? With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
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About the Author:   Antoinette van Heugten is a former international trial lawyer who retired to pursue a full-time career as a novelist. Saving Max is based upon her heartbreaking and joyous journey as the mother of two autistic children and one who has run the gamut of medical and psychiatric professionals. She lives with her husband in the Texas hill country. Saving Max is her first novel.

My Review: I stumbled upon this book at the library and was drawn to the cover. I only read the front cover which said “What would you do if your son were accused of murder?’. I thought sounds interesting, so I threw it into my library bag.

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and the book was about a child on the autism spectrum. Being a social worker that works with many children with that diagnosis as well as a parent of a child on the spectrum, I am always interested in stories like this and how the syndrome is portrayed to the public.

Overall, I think the diagnostic information was very good. I felt initially the Psychiatrist working with Max jumped to sending him off to Maitland a bit prematurely. I don’t believe that would have been how that would have played out. I could relate to Max’s mother, Danielle and her desire to help her son. But after the murder, I felt some of her reactions were a bit unrealistic. Though I could understand the emotions associated with her reactions, a mother’s love for her child is a force not to be reckoned with. I was disappointed that the author did not develop the character of Max more. I didn’t feel as great as an attachment to him as I would have liked. I did enjoy the lovable private detective with a foul mouth.

Some readers may have some difficulty with the graphic description of the murder scene and other items. I personally am not greatly affected by that. I felt up until the murder took place, the book seemed to be a bit boring. Once the murder finally happened the book picked up and was much better. So the last portion of the book had me very engrossed and the ending was not predictable for me.

My Rating: 4/5 – I would recommend this book, but it didn’t have me missing my beauty rest until the last ¼ of the book.

Reading Group Guide and Discussion Questions

Other Bloggers Review of Saving Max:

Mom Knows Everything

My Reading Room

Just Stacie

Book Hooked Blog

Jandy’s Reading Room

I really enjoy reading others reviews after I have written my review.  I am always finding new book blogs to follow this way that have similar taste in books as myself.   

This review was written based on a copy of Saving Max checked out from the library.

Happy Reading!

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