Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review : Saving Max

Title : Saving Max
Author : Antoinette van Heugten
Publisher : MiraBooks

Danielle Prakman, a dedicated attorney who tries her utmost to prove that she is equally qualified and competent to be a partner in the firm for which she works besides being a single mother to Max, a boy of sixteen years, who has Asperger's syndrome - a high functioning form of autism. But while trying to justify these completely diverse roles, she finds herself in an unfamiliar territory when she gets to know of her son's volatile behavior and some indications of his violent outbursts. She decides to take him to America's best psychiatric hospital for Max's complete assessment.

Within a few days the situation deteriorates further when doctors diagnose Max with some severe conditions that categorize him as either suicidal or extremely dangerous for others - a verdict, which Danielle is not ready to accept. But what eyes see cannot be negated completely and the scene that unfolds in front of her eyes is - Max in an unconscious state near another patient who has been brutally stabbed to death. When all logics and reasons lead to just one conclusion that Max is indeed responsible for this ghastly murder, only a mother can keep a little hope alive of having her son out of this whole ordeal clean and safe.

That is exactly what Danielle takes upon her against all odds when even she gets convicted by the law and is stripped-off of her freedom to move around and to meet her son unsupervised. There is very little that she could do but desperate situations demand desperate measures.
She finds two trustworthy persons in this endeavor of hers - Tony, a lawyer and Doaks, an ex-cop who are old players of this field and know exactly which links to tweak to get to the truth but ultimately it is the motherly instinct that takes Danielle through this horrifying path where she is not sure whether she would see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Are her efforts sufficient and rightly directed to save Max from the harrowing future life? Or is she just not accepting the reality that her son has gone too far and is actually a threat to others?

A nail-biting story which engages the readers from the beginning itself. Truly gives an insight into the dilemmas of challenged or differently abled individuals and their care givers. The fears, insecurities and uncertainties of such people are handled and presented in a very humane manner. The author has used her experience of parenting two autistic children in highlighting the generally ignored details of the conditions and the mental agony associated with the same.

I really liked the character sketches of Tony and Doak, two different personalities in spite of being associated with the same areas of crime and law, day in day out. Tony is a true gentleman who comes across as a very sensitive, dependable and trustworthy person, whereas Doak is the other extreme who has been hardened by the number of cases he has handled and whose profession has imparted roughness to his personality.

However, I found the gory details of some stuff, to show the monstrous side of a person a little too much, definitely not suitable for a weak-hearted person. Some of that was unnecessary even keeping the story line in mind.
It was a little surprising to read the Epilogue that Max got diagnosed as being bipolar. I fail to understand how it did not come up before as Max had been under some psychiatric treatment ever since his early childhood or was it something that he developed later on?

1 comment:

  1. sounds interesting...I will see if I can get this book in our library


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