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Read With Us: Wild Game

It’s my turn to step up to the plate and promote our summer Read With Us choice, Wild Game. You can read Kym’s promotional post here. And Bonny’s here.

My Good Reads review:

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir; I found the story utterly compelling and the setting is vivid, particularly the descriptions of summer on Cape Cod. As someone who also had a mother who was the star of every show, I really related to Ms. Brodeur’s relationship with Malabar and the difficulty she had separating herself from all that came with being the daughter of such a self-absorbed woman. Highly recommended.

I’ve though a lot about this book in the weeks since I finished it. I googled the family and tried to figure out where in Plymouth they lived. I’ve considered the food that was eaten and the imagery of Cape Cod. The thing I come back to over and over, though, is the relationship between Adrienne and Malabar. And it’s not surprising since that relationship is at the center of the book.

As I mentioned in my review, I related a lot to the toxicity and co-dependence reflected in that relationship as that was something I struggled with in my relationship with my mother. The oversharing, the daily cocktail hours that stretched on and on, the dinner parties, the mood swings, the highs and lows and fights, the desire to be close and also distant, it was all part of my childhood, too. We didn’t play it out in fancy houses but the dynamics were very similar.

And I wonder . . . did I love this book because I could relate to it so well? And for someone who had a healthy relationship with their mother does this become a book that seems far fetched and unreal? Can it be enjoyed as spectacle if the reader can’t see themselves in the author’s life? My hope is that it’s enjoyable for everyone in the Read With Us circle. I’m looking forward to lively discussions next month!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. My relationship with my mother was nothing like the one portrayed in Wild Game, but we were oil and water, just people who thought differently and had the usual mother/daughter disagreements. I did enjoy the book because it reminded me that everyone’s upbringing is different, and more importantly, that it’s possible to rise above your childhood. I didn’t want to view her relationship with her mother purely as spectacle, but the author learned better and did much better for her own children. That growth is important and possible for each one of us.

  2. I also did not have a mother like this one and the book did read more like fiction to me. That said…I did really enjoy it and spent some time looking them all up as well!

  3. I had a wonderful relationship with my mother but most of my friends had very odd mother-daughter relationships. I never knew the details, although one friend had a dad who was always having affairs, but reading this book makes me wonder. As a mother of daughters, I was always aware of the importance of boundaries. They were not my girlfriends.
    I haven’t finished this book yet and it is unsettling, but I’m trying to stick with it.

  4. The relationship between Malabar (who I kept thinking of as “Mallomar” throughout the book!) and Adrienne was absolutely NOTHING like my relationship with my mother, and I had a hard time relating to pretty much everything in the book. Still . . . I was intrigued by this glimpse into another family’s (very messed up) life! Good reading — and much to talk about, I’m sure!

  5. I didn’t have a mother like Malabar but I really enjoyed the book. I did want to reach into the book at times and give Malabar a smack though.

  6. The book read like fiction for me as well as I couldn’t relate to anyone (or any situation) in the book. My life was markedly different (religion is a big reason as well as living in Utah). The story was interesting and Adrienne’s growth was a reason to read. I can see why the book was important for you on many levels and that’s another good reason to read it.

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