I really don't know how to rate this book. What a painful story. I suspected Max's reasons, and initially I was sympathetic. But as the years and opportunities kept passing by, I got more and more frustrated. How could he not have learned?!! Why do people have to be so stupid, to see themselves so inaccurately and make such stupid, painful decisions based on those delusions? Decisions that hurt them and those who love them. Paul pissed me off eventually, too, with his inability to understand Max. The way Paul finally claimed Max at the end was so clearly what Max had been needing/wanting for years. So both characters made stupid mistakes. Which, of course, is very human.