Review by Rem Westland.
For fifteen minutes or so I tried to think of something deeper to say, more reflective of – and complimentary towards – the sober and rational mind I believe myself to have. I kept circling back to that single word. I was stuck on it.
Christian McPherson’s latest novel, Saving Her, is amazing. There. I’ve said it again. McPherson introduces us to a main character, Julie Cooper, about whom we quickly learn some ordinary things – she is a wife and a mother; some extraordinary things – she is a superb athlete with a very strong will; some things that are happy in her life, and some that are intensely sad. She is also beset with visions. Her visions may be flashbacks to what was sad in her life or, much more troublingly, they may be predictors of what is yet to come.
As we learn about Julie and meet the people in her life we sense that an inexorable drift has begun. McPherson achieves this with prose that is easy to read yet underscored by urgency. We are also hurried along by the thought that a break might lie at the end of just one more chapter, but we have been nudged onto a slippery slope down which the reader can’t help but slide alongside an increasingly desperate woman. When we get to the end of the slide, McPherson does not disappoint.
Julie’s husband, Ryan, merits special mention. He is unfailingly supportive, almost always nice, and gets upset – uselessly it turns out – only two or three times. He is so one-dimensional that a reader is inclined to dismiss him altogether, which is something I certainly did. An unexpected consequence is that I stepped in with my own emotions to fill in for what seemed lacking in Ryan. It tied me even more tightly to what was happening.
I have often purchased at book stores or downloaded from the internet a novel about which the advertisers and the reviewers say “You can’t put it down.” Once in a while, rarely for me, the description and my personal experience as a reader are a match. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was a match for me. Saving Her is another.