25 July 2014

Saving Amy by Nicola Haken

 Eighteen year old Amy’s surname may be Hope, but her life contains anything but. She drinks, she sleeps around, she cuts… anything to help her escape the agonising existence growing up between her mother’s drunken wails and her father’s fists. But nothing works. There is no escape. And Amy wants out…

Enter Richard Lewis – the doctor responsible for saving Amy’s life after her drink and drug-fuelled suicide attempt. Thanks to his own hidden demons, Richard is drawn to Amy and her situation, and despite the incessant warnings from both his own mind and his jealous ex-lover Joanna, he feels compelled to help her.

But how will Amy feel when she discovers Richard’s attachment to her is born out of his own guilt? He was her last resort – her last chance at being saved. Can anybody save Amy, or has she finally reached the end of a very long, torturous road?

(Not suitable for under 18's due to language, scenes of self-harm and sexual content)

Every once in a while you pick up a book that you’ve heard nothing about before and it manages to blow you away.  I’ve only read a handful of books like that, and they among my favorite.  I do believe now that “Saving Amy” must be added to that short and illustrious list.
Amy is a broken soul.   Raised by an alcoholic mother and domineering, powerful and extremely abusive father, she is hell-bent on a course of self-destruction.  Drugs, drinking, sex and her private escape of self-mutilating are the balm she’s attempting to use to soothe her tortured soul.  She’s never known love, or closeness, save her best friend Julie.  The cutting is her way of feeling…something. One night Richard Lewis finds Amy passed out in front of his apartment building.  He’s a young doctor, and instead of calling an ambulance, he takes her in and attempts to help her.  She leaves in the morning and they are brought together again when Amy is rushed to the ER.  Richard sees something in Amy that he feels compelled to help, but as Amy learns more about him she begins to wonder if he’s helping her because he cares or because he’s trying to make up for past mistakes and chase some of his own demon’s away?
Well…holy crap.  This book is so incredibly gritty and sad and hopeful and perfect.  It’s been a long time since I was so entranced by a tale of such soul-crushing woe.  And oh boy peeps, is it a tale of woe.  It’s not pretty and it’s not packaged up neatly for the reader either, but in the depths of despair the prose is so beautiful that you can’t help but become invested in Amy and Richard and their struggles together as well as apart.
I think the strength of this book is definitely in its character building.  We first get to see into Amy’s world when she was a child and I have to tell you, all the times I think I’m psychologically scarring my children…no way.  Compared to Amy’s parent’s I am totally parent of the year.  But seeing what Amy went through really helps you to understand her, understand her choices and see why she is in such an incredibly epic downward spiral.  And know that this is certainly not an easy read, at all.
Overall, while this book may not be for everyone, I thought it was fantastic.  It takes you to the depths of despair, and that’s a hard place to find beauty, but this author managed to make that happen.  I think if anything, I’m walking away from this read hopeful.  Human kindness and strength are beautiful things.  5 stars.

Wow, this was an intense and emotional read.  I can’t recommend it to everyone, some wouldn’t understand or care, but if you are one who tends to be tender hearted and hate having a ride on the emotional roller coaster then you need to avoid this book.  Now with the warning out of the way, I personally feel everyone should read a book like Saving Amy.  The author did a great job at showing the grit and grime of abuse, lies, betrayal and self-harm.  She took you into the world of a young adult who was raised with hate and lies, broken ribs and bruises and a voice inside her head that screamed for her to hurt herself so someone could see the pain she was in.  Amy lived in a world of secrets, isolation and drugs as an escape.  She didn’t need more judgment, she needed love and acceptance. 
Amy knew life wasn’t supposed to be like this.  What 17 year old was meant to have only one friend and spend her time nursing the wounds from her father and counting the minutes till she was 18 and could escape?  She didn’t deserve to have a mother who was so drunk most of the time,  that saying hello was too much responsibility as a mom.  Why did Amy have the parents that one would watch while the other beat her?  She just needed to get out on her own and be alone, once she had that freedom she would figure the rest out.  Lucky for her, she ended up passed out and Richard Lewis found her. 
Richard was a doctor who not only worked hard to get to where he is right now, he still carries around a ton of guilt and baggage from his past.  He finds Amy unconscious and decides to bring her into his home and nurse her back to health instead of taking her to the hospital.  She skips out on him the next morning unsure what they had done the night before.  A while later Richard has another chance to convince her that he cares when she shows up in the ER and he is her doctor.  I wanted to badly to jump on the Richard band wagon right away.  He was a caring, sexy, mature doctor who seemed to want what was best for Amy.  Unfortunately for me in the beginning I found I was so protective of Amy, I was fearful he would be just another on in a long line to end up hurting her.
The rest of this story needs to be spoiler free so you can really invest in the story.  There are twists and turns that will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat.  I love how the author didn’t give us a simple and easy cure for Amy.  While love does heal a great deal, it isn’t the cure all.  Richard’s motives for his devotion to Amy were sketchy to me for a while.  I couldn’t tell sometimes if he really loved her or if she was his way of correcting past mistakes that haunt him.  Amy was one brave young woman.  For being raised in an environment that doesn’t promote love and trust, she saw something in Richard and trusted herself to go with him.  I found myself sobbing with Amy when the truth about her family came out.  I had to literally put myself in isolation here so I could get through the last part of this book.
Truth will come forth and wreak havoc in Amy’s world.  She will begin to doubt her identity and death will present itself as either a loss or a freedom.  This is something Amy will have to decide.  Her bitterness and resentfulness about her life will have to be dealt with and Richard is going to have to lay down the burdens he has carried all of these years.  They have an age difference, a financial difference and in some ways a personality difference that they will have to work through.  In a nut shell, Richard and Amy are going to begin a journey that will make them question if the goal is worth the work.  Will they both stand together at the end of the day and for once be happy to be alive and blessed to be together. 
The author did a brilliant job with this plot, there were a few areas that felt like it dragged on but overall I would say I was pleased with the style and character development and flow of the story.  I feel the lives of Amy and Richard will stay with me for a very long time as I think to the times when giving up would be easier than standing up one more time.  Although the book is heart breaking and emotional, their story is one of courage and inspiration. 

I just finished Saving Amy and I liked it.  What would you do if you had a father that beat you and a mother more concerned with booze?  Amy struggles to cope with this in her life.  The only way for her is to cut herself.  She needs to feel pain that may or may not be greater then what she is dealing with at home.  This works for her.  This is a way to cope.  It starts getting worse at home so she starts using drugs.  One thing leads to another and she tries to commit suicide without really knowing that she was doing it.  She wakes up in the hospital and Richard Lewis (Dr.) treats her and feels something for her.  He is worried about her and tries to stay connected to her when she gets out of the hospital.  They both have their secrets and have obstacles in their way.  Will Amy accept what Richard has to offer?  Will Richard be able to separate his past demons to help Amy with her current ones?  You will have to read and see.
I liked the story; I thought that it flowed well.  It’s a story about physical abuse along with substance abuse.  You usually do not see stories out there like this and that is why I choose to read it.  It didn’t disappoint.  Keep in mind when you read this that it is graphic but it is needed when you tell a story about this subject matter.
I liked Richard.  He’s a good doctor and is a good friend.  Once you know his story, you feel bad for him and hope that he is really the right person to help Amy.  Amy is a sweet girl dealt with a bad hand in life.  For her with cutting and drinking and the drugs, this was a way for her to just get away.  Its bad choices that land her in the arms of Richard so you can say that it was a blessing in disguise.  They both needed each other to be able to heal themselves.  They do have some obstacles in the way, just keep that in mind.  I know some people will say that the 10 year age difference may be a problem for them.  It wasn’t too me.  I never quite got that feeling that it was a problem, you know.
A couple of things that I didn’t like about the story.  I felt that once Amy was able to get away from her dad she became stronger, but when her dad would show up she would cower.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t either but I just expected her to finally have her justice with him and was just kind of disappointed that it didn’t really happen.  I also felt that Richard at certain points became very whiny and that he would tell her that he wouldn’t lie to her and then he did.  I just felt like it was more to the point of adding an obstacle in there when it wasn’t really needed. 
Overall, I did like the story and thought it was a good starting point for me to get to read more books from the author.  It takes a lot of work to do this sort of story and she should be proud.

Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dogs!) She is the author of New Adult/Contemporary romance novels Inevitable, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great reviews!! I'm one-clicking this today! -Lisa