In Save Me, Lisa Scottoline opens with a typical suburban scene Friday lunch in the school cafeteria that goes tragically awry, leaving mom Rose McKenna with an impossible choice: To save the life of her own daughter, Melly, or to rescue the girls who have been bullying Melly. Though the plot gets a little tangled and the prose sometimes crawls, narrator Cynthia Nixon best known as Miranda on Sex and the City keeps the story moving and the widespread cast of characters interesting.
When an explosion in the cafeteria kitchen sets the school on fire, Rose attempts to save both the bullies and her daughter and she thinks she’s succeeded, until one of the girls is found in the school, near death, and ends up in the ICU. The other mothers band together to harass the McKennas and a tenacious reporter starts digging into Rose’s background both of which throw Rose’s carefully-constructed suburban life into shambles and inspire her to track down the cause of the explosion.
The story starts out strong, raising smart, thought-provoking questions about how far parents should go to protect other children, the safety procedures in place at schools, and the powerful effect bullies of all ages can have on a family. But as it progresses, plotlines about corporate espionage, lifelong secrets, scandalous affairs, murder, and nut allergies cloud the original focus. Even as the story begins to drag, though, Nixon brings it to life. Her gentle narration draws listeners into the tangled plots, and her range of voices which include a third-grader suffering from smoke inhalation, a fast-talking young teacher, a perky reporter, drawling construction workers, company thugs, outraged mothers, and even a gurgling baby is impressive. She navigates the turning points in Rose’s life with genuine emotion, and leaves listeners with a powerful end product. Blythe Copeland
From the New York Times best-selling author of Think Twice and Look Again comes an emotionally powerful novel about a split-second choice, agonizing consequences, and the need for justice. 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 instant, 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.
In the way that Look Again had readers and listeners questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have them wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking, and honest.
©2011 Lisa Scottoline (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
It is hard to write a fair review of this book because I honestly couldn't stand the main character. All her decisions were annoying, her thought process was flawed and shallow and she was not the least bit sympathetic. I found myself wanting to climb into the book and shake her for being such an idiot. Without a spoiler, I can't get more specific, but from the very beginning I was not fond of the protagonist and she never grew on me at all. I found myself not caring what happened to her.
I made myself listen to this whole book, but with difficulty. Having paid the price, I kept hoping something interesting or even mildly convincing would happen. I found myself shaking my head in amazement at how BAD it was. Insipid, and tiresome characters, laughably silly plot, with a sticky sweet narrator. Don't bother
I agree with most readers. Started off o.k. but the plot became totally convoluted and silly. The most insane characters and reasoning made this book a snore. Kept reading as I thought it would eventually turn around but it didn't. I personally enjoy Ms. Nixon's reading of the book and have read other books with her narration. Don't waste your credits/money.
I seldom give up on a book, but I had to with this one. Perhaps reading it would have been better because I could have skimmed over all the mundane dialogue. The book started out with some promise but now, almost four hours into it, nothing has happened. This is kind of trivial but one thing that bothered me is she used the term Klieg lights so much that I started to cringe every time I heard it. Another problem is the story isn't all that realistic. She writes that the hospital was a small one in a small community so it's doubtful that Amanda would have been left there. In real life she would have been airlifted to a level one trauma center.
I may get the print edition of the book from my library just so I can find out what really happened but I don't think I'll be listening to any more of it.
I purchased this book through one of the sales on Audible. I had read some of Scottoline before and enjoyed her work. This book, however, was a departure from her quality, creativity, and imagination. Rose and Leo are raising two children in a small town. Late into the beginning of the novel, we learn that Melly, their daughter, has a disfigurement which causes the other third graders to tease her. This is reader's first suspicion that the book is going to have editing and writing mismanagement since we learn this far too late. The reader struggles up until then trying to figure out what the disability of the child is; why they move around, etc. Nevertheless, we do finally learn it and hope things pick up. But they don't. A fire occurs in the school; people are killed; Melly is saved by "hero mom" Rose and the set up is complete. From here the novel goes from bad to worse. Rose and her entire family (except baby John) are completely unsympathetic. Rose is a whimpering, insipid, completely stupid character. She makes one poor decision after another. And Melly is a whining brat. Husband Leo remains in Philadelphia in trial even though his wife may be arrested for criminal charges in connection to the fire. The reader wants her to be arrested just to make it all end. Halfway through the book Rose has an epiphany and we mistakenly hope that maybe this will turn the novel. She continues in a ridiculous pursuit for the cause of the fire getting herself caught up in a tale that is surrealistic even in terms of fiction suspension of disbelief. Assignment of blame doesn't absolve her of the responsibility for getting the children safely out of fire early in the book. It simply doesn't matter what/who started the fire in terms of her guilt. The narrator has a grating tone of voice her reading of this novel. It is irritating and just adds to the overall disappointing experience of the mystery. The true mystery is that this book was even published at all.
As a woman and as a Mom I have a difficult time reading stories where children are bullied or put in jeopardy. Besides the parents are written as bullies also. So I only listened to half the book. It was not suspenseful.
I enjoyed this audiobook. While the plot does become less than plausible near the end, I found the main characters relatable, and some of the social themes--fickleness of social opinion, difficult choices, unanticipated legal vulnerability, and so on--relatable. This book succeeds as entertainment. It is also well-written in the sense that the prose flows, the presentation is generally well-paced, and common grammatical errors are mercifully absent.
Cynthia Nixon does a fine job of reading this book, her voice generally pleasing, characters' voices distinct enough that it was always apparent who was speaking, and their inflection and pacing plausible.
The story line seemed interesting when I read the write-up and it had the ability to be an interesting story. However, the main character is such a WIMP! I wanted to reach through the audio, shake some sense into her and yell, "Stand Up For Yourself"!! By the end, I'd had just about all I could take - she turned from wimp into Wonder Woman (under a somewhat different storyline) which, in my opinion was so idiotic. Can't stand up verbally to the other moms, but could stand up to gangsters. Yeah.... right.
A thriller is usually a little unrealistic, but this book showed new levels for a totally unbelievable plot. She took some social agendas and created a story to speak against everything from bullying to talking on cell phones while driving. I didn't disagree with any of the positions she took, but it just felt contrived. I had no problem with the narrator, but what was with the child's voice?? Horrible. At first I thought she was supposed to be "hoarse" from the smoke, but if so, she had permanent damage. But for me, it was just a terrible plot that lowered my rating. If it were the first book I'd read by this author, it would also be my last. But knowing otherwise, I'll give her another try on the next one.
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