Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: Saving Max

Saving Max, by Antoinette van Heugten is the story of a single mother of an autistic teen.  Max has grown increasingly violent as he enters his teen years and is eventually referred to a prominent psychiatric hospital for evaluation.  While he is there, another teenage patient is murdered and Max is found with the murder weapon.  His mother is convinced of his innocence and does everything she can to find out who the real murderer is.

I'm going to go ahead and combine my writing and entertainment values for this book because both are basically non-existent.  I read this while I was home sick from work last week and the best thing I can say about it is that it's a quick read.  First of all, the writing was really really bad.  I marked several passages where I actually had to put the book down and laugh or call Luke in to read a particularly awful sentence outloud.  Because the copy I read was an ARC, I'm not going to quote those lines here, and just hope they were removed from the final copy.  In general, these passages were of the throbbing member/heaving bosom variety. 

When I started the book, I wasn't aware that MIRA is a Harlequin imprint, so it's possible that I had unreasonable expectations for the book.  It's certainly not that I have any complaints about Harlequin as a publisher, but I think I would have expected more of the romance angle had I known.  I didn't go into the book expecting any romance, much less for the devoted mother to meet a random man in a hotel bar and have a one night stand that ends in true love.  Ah sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!  The key to true romance is a drunken middle aged tryst with a man you meet at a hotel bar.  At least now I have something to look forward to as I get older. 

So basically, not only was the writing awful, the entire plot was completely unbelievable.  Woman meets man in hotel bar.  Woman sleeps with man.  Woman's son accused of murder.  Woman accused of being an accomplice.  Woman hires an attorney who is (SHOCK!!) the one night stand!  Woman and man fall instantly in love.  They investigae.  Guess what happens next?  You probably won't be able to because it's really weird.  And disturbing.  Think child torture/fetuses in a jar type disturbing.  All in the last fifty pages. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I was reading something completely different than I had started. 

In sum, the writing was bad.  The plot was worse.  Do not recommend.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you! I saw this book on the shelf, and almost got it, but something made me put it down to wait and think about it. Now I know why.

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  2. Whoa... Thanks for the warning! This sounds awful.

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  3. I have an ARC of this one that I got at BEA. The premise sounds really interesting so I'll be curious to see what my take is after I read it! Thanks for your honest opinion!

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  4. Is it bad that now I want to read it just so I can see how bad it is? lol

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  5. I have heard bad things about this and unfortunately do not think it stops at the ARC, I have seen it up as DNF for reviews also.

    Great honest review.

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  6. Wow, from the first para of your post I did not expect the review you gave it :D
    Learning the Harlequin angle would have helped my expectations too :D Even so, the book sounds terrible.

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  7. Great honest review! I've actually never heard of this one before, but it sounds interesting :)

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  8. Oh my goodness...I was planning to read this one, but now Im not so sure. Thanks for the review.

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  9. Great honest review.
    I really appreciate your post as I have this ARC on a stack, but after reading your review, I will pass it on or donate it. This definitely does not sound like something I would enjoy.

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  10. Thank you for all the comments - I'm always nervous to write a negative review, but I hate sugar-coated reviews, so I went for all out honesty in this one. I'm anxious to read what those of you who have ARCs have to say about it!

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  11. I agree 100%. The graphic description of the murder and the dead fetus was way beyond what was needed. Very poor writing - more like a Danielle Steele book! This was chosen for our book club by someone else and I would never recommend it!

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  12. Kinda late post but I dont understand why the majority of you wouldnt read it. To me it was a great written book that completed its purpose and was well detailed. It kept ME hooked to where I didnt want it to end... But I guess we all have very different opinions when it comes to books.

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