Saving Max

Rating: 0/10

I don’t remember why I bought this book in the first place, or how long it had been sitting on my bookshelf. I finally came around to reading Saving Max and I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

The plot is promising when a teenaged boy (Max) is charged with murder in a psychiatric facility. His mom is a lawyer and tries her best to save him from being committed to a lifetime of jail when she knows he couldn’t of done it. I mean, it’s her boy. Her sweet, loving boy, who is also autistic. He couldn’t have done it, right?

I’m stubborn when it comes to reading. I will keep reading to the end, even though I could have stopped by page 30-40. The writing was bad, I hated the main character, and it got worse as I read on. There’s nothing more to the story other than the fact that Danielle Parkman really loves her son.

The author, Antoinette van Heugten, does a lot of telling readers information instead of showing us. To make time pass by quicker we’re reading, “this and this happened” instead of a description. The story quickly jumps from Max being committed to Maitland asylum in Plano, Iowa, to his crime. There’s not enough story built up to believe that Max could be psychotic. His mother is told by nurses and his psychiatrist that he has nightly episodes and has been previously violent with the patient he supposedly killed. She doesn’t believe them, and rightly so, because as the reader too much time has been skipped. First Max is committed and then days go by where Max isn’t physically present in the scene.

The beginning of the story sets the anticipation that all the men are the bad guys in the story, while the females are goddesses for getting by with their burdens. Danielle Parkman works for a law firm where only men have made partnership. She’s trying to make partner while her son is committed and faces a tough crowd of men to explain why she’s the best candidate. Yet until her son is charged with murder, we don’t see Danielle do any work. A quick sentence is dashed with something like:

“After Georgia left, Danielle worked like a madwoman, making client calls; following up on court and deposition dates; catching up on her billing records (pg 62).”

I doubt Danielle made much progress in a day. While we may visualize her pacing her hotel room, papers everywhere, phone calls being made, in the end her new friend- a mother of a patient at Maitland- comes over and takes her to a beauty shop. I haven’t even touched on the fact that Georgia, Danielle’s best friend who also works at the same firm, has marital issues. Her husband is a doctor who has a drinking problem and is addicted to cocaine. They have a two-year-old and Georgia doesn’t want to leave him. She even goes back to him and tries to cover his problem up.

Halfway through the story, the men become the heroes while most of the women are turned into bad guys. The judge is a hard woman and Marianne is the culprit.

Another example of how bad this story is Danielle’s annoying personality. She says one thing and does another. She breaks her bond and purchases plane tickets as well as holes up in a hotel that is familiar with her from previous business. If she’s trying to avoid being noticed for bailing on her bond, she does a bad job. It’s not explained if she uses cash with all of her purchases, so I’m going to assume she used a credit card which is easily trackable.

So, how does someone get away with murder in an asylum? Apparently it’s easy. There were no nurses or staff around the only two patients left behind in their rooms as everyone else went to lunch. The security was pretty bad, and nurses leave the password to the computer on a sticky note under the desk. And this is supposed to be the best place for people with issues.  Not only is Danielle able to sneak in to see her son (when she has a restraining order against her) she can hand him his cell phone. Which he uses to call her and use GPS to find out she broke her bond and is in another state.

The only sex scene was cripplingly awful: “As Victorian women swooned, Danielle reels from the essence of this man (pg 50).” She finds out that this man she spent a night with is the same man who will represent her in court. He has a hard time trusting her because she lied to him when they met about who she was and never called him again. Shortly after discussing her case, he is back in love with her and is badly written.

Because there are more things wrong with this book than I can list I’ll finish on a last note that really bothered me. Danielle spends time snooping around Chicago and Phoenix looking for evidence that someone else did the murder other than her son. She takes personal objects from the person’s home without so much as a search warrant. So Danielle has broken bond and has breaking and entering against her. All this is dismissed in court and wasn’t actually proved that the evidence belonged to the suspect.

Overall, this was a disappointing read. The only good thing going for it is that it’s easy to read and so I was able to finish it in a few days. I would never recommend this read to anyone.


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