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Save Me Hardcover – April 12, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of this gut-wrenching stand-alone from bestseller Scottoline (Think Twice), an explosion rips through the nearly empty cafeteria of Reesburgh (Pa.) Elementary School. Lunch mother Rose McKenna leads two girls to safety before racing to rescue her own daughter, Melly, but Rose soon learns that she may face both civil and criminal charges for her heroics because one of the girls she saved was seriously injured in the resulting fire that killed three school staff members. The tension rises as the united front presented by Rose and her lawyer husband, Leo Ingrassia, begins to disintegrate in the face of media demands, legal maneuverings, and social pressures. Rose must also deal with school bullying (Melly has a noticeable facial blemish), difficult legal problems, and her husband's reaction when a secret from her past is revealed. Scottoline melds it all into a satisfying nail-biting thriller sure to please her growing audience. 400,000 first printing; author tour. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Suburban mom [Rose McKenna] is forced to make a split-second decision after an explosion goes off in the school cafeteria in which she volunteers. Should she rescue her own daughter, Melly, trapped in the bathroom, or lead the girls standing in front of her, who constantly bully her daughter, to safety? Her choice reverberates throughout the little town of Reesburgh, Pennsylvania, as she is cast as the villain by the local news anchor, parents, and the school. While her attorney and husband construct a defense plan that includes filing a lawsuit against the school, [Rose] sets out to seek the truth behind this mysterious, accidental fire. With the help of a construction worker who may know the cause of the explosion as well as an incognito visit to a local factory, [Rose] slowly unravels the truth and along with it some hidden secrets in Reesburgh's dark past, including one horrifying buried memory of her own. At the quick pace of a thriller, Scottoline masterfully fits every detail into a tight plot chock-full of real characters, real issues, and real thrills. A story anchored by the impenetrable power of a mother's love, it begs the question, just how far would you go to save your child? --Annie McCormick
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Top Customer Reviews
One interesting fact: I now know what chirped the car means. She must have used it a few hundred times throughout the novel.
I found the book to be bland to the point of aud nauseum until page 160 to be precise. Then things started to pick up when some lawyers entered the plot. Unfortunately this was a short lived respite.
To sum it up quickly there is a mother named Rose and her daughter Melly who has a large birthmark who is teased at school. There is an explosion and Rose is blamed for not saving one of the bullies and rescuing her own daughter instead. She plays the role of victim for most of the story as she is consumed with guilt. Add to the mix a cookie cutter portrait of a husband who we never get to know and characters we don't give a fig about.
Normally I would feel so bad for a child who is teased and left out of schools typical cliques but this child seemed extremely immature and needy to the point I wanted to tell her to shut up and read another Harry Potter book. Only her mother annoyed me more.
There is actually an interesting subplot in this heinous excuse for a book that details an event in Roses past where she once (spoiler alert!) ran over a little boy who raced in front of her car as a teenager, and she has carried the burden of this guilt with her all her life. THIS was very believable. I just wish the rest of the book was.
In the last third of this novel Rose suddenly dons invisible superwoman clothes and discovers (spoiler alert!) hidden far fetched and totally unbelievable conspiracies involving sending peanuts to foreign countries so their children would die of peanut allergies-a crooked politician involved in murder and the peanuts, and the list goes on.
Superhero Rose dyes her hair and dons disguises. A metamorphism that no one in their right mind would believe.
What we have here is a very boring and tedious book that seems to go on forever and then an absurd ending tacked on which I still find hard to believe Ms. Scattoline wrote, yet I know in my heart of hearts she did.
Since this book I have read a few terrific books by her so do NOT use this novel as a template for the authors talent. We all have a clinker now and then. Being a writer I know this too well.
Read her last three novels and you will be happily surprised. Skip this one by all means. And to all a good night.
Volunteering at the school in the lunch room offers Rose the opportunity to oversee things and to provide a safety net, of sorts. But on one tragic day, the cafeteria explodes, endangering lives. Rose's efforts to direct the children outdoors to safety, and then return to find her daughter trapped in the bathroom, leads to applause for the "hero mom," only to have the tide turn drastically when other mothers blame Rose for endangering another child. For seemingly, Amanda, one of the biggest bullies, did not make it outside to safety and lies in Intensive Care in a coma.
The media frenzy skewers Rose as negligent, with hints of criminal prosecution and lawsuits hanging over her head, even as she sits beside her daughter's bedside, awaiting her recovery from smoke inhalation.
Moral, legal, and ethical themes provide a backdrop for this series of events, beginning with the media frenzy, legal posturing, and serious dilemmas that have arisen from the tragedy. Rose is determined to get to the bottom of what happened that day, but as she asks questions, more arise, leading her down a pathway and on a journey to construction companies, local factories, and politicians. Wending her way through her questions, she uncovers more and more clues pointing to blackmail, conspiracy, and murder.
What connects a construction company, a potato chip factory, and a politician? What do any of them have to do with the fire in the cafeteria? And what unique situation lies at the center of it all?
Scottoline has a talent for leading the reader on a nail biting journey, turning those pages rapidly in the pursuit of answers to these questions. I couldn't help but love the characters of Rose, her husband Leo, and especially the plucky Harry Potter reading Melly. Save Me is about so much more than the initial questions of who you would save during a tragedy. It led to questions about responsibility, negligence, and what nefarious individuals might do for profit and fame. Five stars.