Top positive review
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A Needed Novel
on March 25, 2004
Sam Pettigrew is a senior in high school. And he has a baby. Yes-a baby. His girlfriend got pregnant the previous year, decided that she couldn't handle raising the baby, and Sam felt a need to raise his son. Now, Sam's going to an alternative high school and juggling classes, college hopes...and baby Max. The mix only gets tougher when he meets Claire, a fellow teenage parent who Sam definitely has feelings for. Yet no matter what happens, Sam is determined to prove to the world that he's not a stupid teenage guy and that he CAN hang on to Max.
Like I said, this is definitely a book that needed to be written and needs to be read. Many of us at some point or another have read the typical "pregnant teenage girl" novels and they certainly offer valuable perspectives. Yet it seems that we rarely come into contact with novels that explore a MALE's feelings about the issue. "Hanging Onto Max" definitely corrects this problem.
But "Hanging Onto Max" is more than just a mediocre novel with a rarely-done perspective- its main character is just as memorable as the content. I literally checked this book out from the library, read the first page, and raced through the novel until I finished it.
Sam is just that kind of a character. He is realistically "male" without being a stereotype, and his thoughts and words reverberate with a piercing, understated truth. Flashbacks of Sam's experiences with his girlfriend and of life "before" are also unusually well done. Through them, Bechard managed to perfectly capture Sam's previous experiences and thus allow the reader to understand his current situation better. As I read, I felt like Sam was really a person-he is one of those characters you literally feel a "warmth" and empathy toward. The writing is blunt, quick, and free of pretentious prose. This only makes Sam better.
Without a doubt, "Hanging Onto Max" succeeds at exploring one of the toughest issues. Not only is it from an intriguing male perspective, it deals with the issue of teen pregnancy with realism, empathy, and a fearlessness when it comes to exploring the gut-wrenching choices that those involved must make.