Save Me by Lisa Scottoline had a super intriguing plot summary on the book jacket. Rose’s 3rd grade daughter, Melly, has a birthmark on her face that puts her at the mercy and taunts of her classmates. When a terrible accident happens in the school cafeteria, forcing Rose to make a horrible decision between her daughter and her daughter’s bully, chaos happens.
Except that’s not really what this book is about. That’s what it’s about for about 50% of the time, and that was the part I liked the best. It was all Jodi Picoult-ish, and I was totally stoked on that. I mean, my sister is in 3rd grade, and if I was in her cafeteria when there was an explosion and I had to pick between helping her and another child who was closer… well, it’s hands down not even a choice. I’d get my Goosie girl first. And for a little while that’s what this book is about. But about halfway through, it suddenly because a book about some far-fetched murder plot about why there was an explosion in the cafeteria to begin with. And at that point, the book because exceptionally stupid.
I’m jumping around here, but one thing really upset me about the first half of this novel. Every. Single. Parents. attacks Rose for abandoning Amanda, Melly’s bully. Rose didn’t — she got Amanda almost all of the way out the building — but then turned around and ninjaed her way through a burning building to save her daughter. Every parent said she’d abandoned the other little girl, who ended up almost dying (spoiler: both girls live) after something smashed her on the head. Here’s the thing: I cannot think of one person who wouldn’t save her own child first. And every parent bitches Rose out when they think she did that.
I don’t see the problem. Scottoline presents an unrealistic attack on a woman who did what 99% of most women would do. I don’t care if I was one foot from another child, I would run through 100 yards of burning shards of glass to save my sister, even if it meant dying myself. I love my friends’ children, but I’d pick Charisse first.
Please, call me a horrible human being now.
So yeah, I was definitely sympathetic to Rose for this portion of the novel. But then she gets all investigative journalist and it’s really annoying. At one point, she hunts down Melly’s gifted teacher and is ready to kick some teacher ass, and goes raging into the teacher’s home, ranting and freaking out. Then she suddenly, like a super spy with amazing vision, spies a book about pregnancy and becomes the woman’s BFF.
In like one paragraph.
It was just too much not to believe. Then there was some nonsense about peanuts and senators and senator’s babies and an assassination plot and how did we even get there?
If the first half of the book had continued and this became a courtroom drama (it really did start that way!) I would have been all over that like a white woman on Jodi Picoult books. But this book just left me feeling like a giant WTF.