Twitter Tumblr FlickrFacebookContact me
Now Previous Articles Road Essays Author Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio

Recent posts

Month in review

Reviews
At Home with Books by Estelle Ellis and Caroline Seebohm
The Batman Handbook by Scott Beatty
Class Trip by Rand B. Lee
Cook-a-doodle-doo by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
Echoes from the Macabre by Daphne du Maurier
Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot by Ramsey Shehadeh
The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
The Gypsy's Boy by Lokiko Hall
The Improbable Cat by Allan Ahlberg
Influences: A Lexicon of Contemporary Graphic Design Practice by Anna Gerber
The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Nanosferatu by Dean Whitlock
Oops-a-Daisy by Claire Freedman
Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot
Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink by Victoria Kann
Pokémon Adventures Volume 08 by Hidenori Kusaka
Saving Max by Antionette van Heugten
Seven Sins for Seven Dwarves by Hilary Goldstein
Sharing Geographic Information edited by Gerard Rushton and Harlan Joseph Onsrud
Stardust (Audio) by Neil Gaiman
Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers
The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Yo, Jo! by Rachel Isadora

Previous Month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Saving Max 02/28/11

cover art

Saving Max by Antionette van Heugten sells itself as a thriller about a whip smart autistic boy who is accused of murder and the mother who does everything in her power to support her son and see him exonerated. Those points are there but the story is too flawed for me to recommend.

The novel has four main flaws that kept me from wanting to finish the book. First is the characterization of Max. Second is his mother, Danielle, who is supposed to carry the story but is an unlikeable and unbelievable character. Third is the medical staff which seems out of place in a novel set in modern times. Finally, there's the plotting and pacing of the mystery which takes far too long to get started.

Let's start with Max. He's the titular character. He's the reason for there even being a book. He's described as "whip smart" and a highly functioning autistic child. The problem though, is that these are attributes only. In the 120 pages I read, he hardly has any lines, any actions, any purpose other than to be talked about by the adult characters in the novel. Informed attributes do not make believable characters. Characteristics should be shown, not told!

Then there's Danielle who is supposedly a devoted mother and brilliant (perhaps "whip-smart"?) attorney who is up for partner. Except, she doesn't show any of this brilliance. Instead of using the legal system to her advantage to help her son, she rants and raves when the hospital staff aren't giving her access to her son. Then after he's accused of murder she again ignores the legal system to skulk around like Jessica Fletcher to investigate on her own. No. I don't buy that for one moment.

So then there's the medical staff. They might as well be photocopied right out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or perhaps the even older Snake Pit. Patients rights have progressed some since then and parental rights along with them. Had Saving Max been set thirty years ago, I would ignore their outrageous behavior. But all the way through the first hundred pages I'm wondering why Danielle doesn't just sue their asses instead of flailing around.

The final straw for me was the pacing of the mystery. I don't expect there to be a body on the first page or even at the end of the first chapter. I do however, expect the mystery to happen in the first fifty pages. Saving Max, though, waits until after one hundred pages to finally produce a body and frame Max. Those first hundred pages are just Danielle regretting her decision to take her son to this horrible hospital but doing nothing useful to undo her mistake.

So by the time the mystery actually started I realized I would never get to know Max, I hated his mother, I didn't find anything credible about the setting and I didn't care who had actually killed the other patient or why.

I received the book for review.

One star.

Comments (4)


Name:
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Comment:


Comment #1: Monday, March, 7, 2011 at 00:38:24

RAnn

I think you managed to describe this book very well — as I noted on the other post, this didn't appeal to me at all. For one thing it is supposed to be about an autistic child, but autism plays no part in the book



Comment #2: Friday, March 11, 2011 at 17:07:03

Pussreboots

That's just it. There's no autism and hardly any Max! And yet it's supposedly about how he's saved.



Comment #3: Monday, March, 7, 2011 at 22:44:35

Aths

You don't know how "glad" I am to come across someone who thought the same about this book as me - you phrased it so much better than I did. I hated this book for the same reasons. I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to read this. It was terrible, really!



Comment #4: Friday, March 11, 2011 at 17:07:03

Pussreboots

Thanks. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't like it.