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{November 20, 2011}   {Review} Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

From Goodreads: Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos. Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Rose’s sight. In an instance, Rose goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda’s injuries on her. In the days that follow, Rose’s life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda’s mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Rose must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.

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This novel is interesting in that it starts out as a drama, but later becomes a mystery as Rose embarks on a quest to find the truth while protecting her daughter and clearing her name.  Honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to think of this novel when I picked it up.  Originally, I was excited, but as I read the many reviews out there, across all the spectrums, I began to wonder if I would like it at all.  What I found, upon reading it, is that I truly loved it, but it is for a certain type of reader… one who is able to look past far-fetched scenarios and timelines and just enjoy a work on the whole.  If that doesn’t sound like you, you may not care for this novel, but I highly enjoyed it.

The novel starts out very real.  The situation Rose finds herself in, choosing to help her own child, or the bully who constantly picks on Melly, is one no one would ever relish.  It’s a very tough decision, one that need to be made in a split second, and I truly agree with what Rose chose—trying to save them both.  This is a very real depiction of a mother’s worst nightmare, and though I believe Rose made the right decision, it haunts her as Amanda ends up hurt anyway.  Though the town doesn’t know all the facts, a mob mentality quickly takes over, and watching as Rose runs the gauntlet of her peers was gut wrenching at times.  Throughout it all, I sided with Rose and what she did, but it is her choices after the fact that made me want to shake her.  Understandably, she is under a lot of stress, as any parent would be in this situation, and I love that Scottoline keeps this very real.  This situation really could happen.  Yet, while I realize Rose is not always thinking clearly, the fact that she repeatedly makes stupid mistakes drove me insane, especially as her husband and lawyers do give her great advice, but her stubbornness gets in the way of heeding it.  In this circumstance, it is Rose that digs her own social grave within the township.  Again, this is very real, and though Rose occasionally made me angry through her asinine decisions, I can’t say I’d be any different if my child’s life, and my family, were on the line.   

When the story gives way to mystery, I became extremely excited as it added to the drama of the township, however, things began to become a little far-fetched as it progressed.  For instance, the entire story takes place within one week and Rose comes upon all the conclusions on her own.  While I guess this could happen, the chances of this being real begin to diminish, and so I can see where many readers may have lost fervor when reading—taking a story that could be real, and then setting it outside reality, tends to have this effect.  Although I enjoyed the story on the whole (it’s a true rollercoaster ride), the fact that some of it is beyond reality did have a slight impact on me, which is why I’m rating this novel as a four star read, and not a five star one.

I won a copy of this novel from Goodreads First Reads.

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