Title: Saving Max
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
About (From Saving Max Website):
Single mother Danielle Parkman is at the end of her rope and she knows it. A successful attorney, Danielle works grueling hours for her clients, yet devotes every spare moment to her teenage son, Max, who has Asperger’s – high-functioning autism. Alarmingly, Max has become violent and suicidal. Danielle is frantic. None of the professionals have helped him. Desperate for guidance, Danielle brings Max to a psychiatric hospital in the hope that the best and the brightest will bring the son she loves back to her. The bizarre twists and turns that take place in the hospital force Danielle to consider the unimaginable -- that Max’s problems may be greater than anyone could have imagined.
And then the true horror begins. Danielle finds Max lying bloody and unconscious next to the bed of a murdered patient – a boy his own age. When Max becomes the prime suspect, Danielle is determined to find the killer and absolve her son. She risks everything in a race against time to find out the truth. Is her son a murderer?
Saving Max gives a realistic perspective of the love and devotion of a mother to her child and the challenges, struggles and joy of raising a child with Aspergers, an autism spectrum disorder. Danielle is a single mother and practicing lawyer, she is a devoted mother to Max. She has devoted her life to help her son Max who as a teenager has spiraled downwards emotionally and has become suicidal and violent. She has sought options to help Max and she is so desperate to help him that she takes the advice of her son's psychiatrist to seek out treatment at a world renowned psychiatric hospital. Danielle meets another mother after their sons are admitted to the psychiatric hospital and from there things spiral downhill for Max and Danielle. A boy is found murdered and Max is found next to the murder victim. Danielle is determined to find the truth and stands by her son when he is considered the prime suspect. She is determined to find out the identity of the real killer as she is convinced that she must stand by her son and protect him. There is a roller coaster ride of emotions that you experience as a reader while reading Saving Max. It is suspenseful throughout and as a mother I found myself rooting for Max and Danielle throughout the book. Danielle takes herself on a path of self awareness, determination and danger to reveal the truth. Saving Max is the ultimate look at the strength of a mother's love and dedication to their child and the depth of love between a mother and son. The author wrote this fictional story based on real life experiences when her own son who has autism was in a psychiatric hospital. Ms. van Heugten is a lawyer as well and this adds to the realism of the book. She writes from her own personal experiences but not all children on the Autism spectrum are violent and suicidal although many have psychological issues that are challenging.
Recommend: Yes! The rates of Autism continue to rise and currently Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys. Most everyone knows of a family member or neighbor or a friends child who has Autism. Sadly, not everyone understands what it is like to raise a child on the Autism Spectrum and parents feel isolated and alone and judged. My life has been touched by Autism as well as several cousins and friends who have children with Autism. I also work as an Occupational Therapist and with children who are on the Autism Spectrum. It is very important to be informed as a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle and friend. Families need your support and understanding and not judgement that this is something that the parents have caused or that it is something that "a little discipline" can control. It is a daily challenge that is very stressful and every parent wants the best for their child. Saving Max is a suspenseful book that will keep you riveted until the last page.
Source: Thanks to Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for sending me this book to review.
About the Author Antoinette van Heugten:
A former international trial lawyer, Antoinette van Heugten knows first-hand the struggles and triumphs of living with autism, and has always been an advocate for her children in a world where few people understood their disorder. She is an avid follower of the Autism Society of America, Talk Autism, Autism Speaks, the National Autism Association and Moms Fighting Autism, and has worked with parents who have recently received a diagnosis of autism for their children. Antoinette received both her undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. During her 15-year career as a trial lawyer, she practiced all over the world, in locations such as Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands to Houston, her hometown. Antoinette resides in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband, a former prominent oil and gas lawyer.
For more information about Saving Max and the author, check out the Saving Max Website.
Check out this excellent book trailer for Saving Max: