Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saving Max

Saving MaxToday is my mom's birthday! So happy birthday to the best mom in the world; I'm blessed that you are my mother.

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten is a frightening and suspenseful look at what a mother will do for love. Danielle Parkman has reached the end of her endurance with sixteen-year-old son Max. He's long suffered from Asperger's, an illness that is an autism spectrum disorder, but he's recently become violent toward her. When she discovered his journal with a detailed plan for his planned suicide, she feels like she has no choice but to bring him to Maitland, a well-known psychiatric facility for diagnosing mental illness. Once there, she bonds with Mariane Morrison whose son, Jonas, suffers from severe self-abuse and autism issues, but Max seems to take an immediate dislike toward Jonas and begins acting out aggressively to him. Danielle's worries escalate when Maitland diagnoses Max as being schizophrenic and refuses Danielle access to him. Then she discovers Jonas dead in his room, covered in blood, with Max lying unconscious next to him and holding the murder weapon. She snaps and her attempts to save him from being tried with the murder cause her to be charged along with him. How far will Danielle be forced to go to prove that her son is innocent of murder and what will she find in her investigation? van Heugten has tapped into a mother's worst fears and creates a terrifying and haunting suspense story. I wanted to shake Danielle for her stubborn and often illegal actions, but couldn't help admiring her unstoppable love and devotion to Max. What she discovers is beyond terrifying and evil. The writing is fast-paced and compelling is occasionally a bit graphic for my taste (I could have gone without the scene on the videotape). van Heugten's portrayal of a mother dealing with the challenges of an autistic child is inspiring and will make all readers who are moms grateful for the child they have.

Thank you to Phenix & Phenix Publicity for providing me with a copy of this book for review!