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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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Wild Abandon: A Novel Hardcover – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781400066841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066841
  • ASIN: 1400066840
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Blaen-y-Llyn, founded by Don and his wife, Freya, among others, is a commune dedicated to a natural way of life. Though once a thriving community of like-minded individuals, membership has dwindled over the years, and now even Patrick, one of the founding members, has left to escape Don’s controlling nature. With Freya thinking of doing the same, Don’s marriage is faltering as well. In search of stability, his teenage daughter, Kate, escapes to college, but living with her boyfriend’s family isn’t the haven of normalcy she was hoping for, and she left her beloved younger brother behind in her hasty exit. As all of the characters come to terms with the reality of their lives and relationships, a story unfolds that is about midlife crises, adolescent dramas, and self-discovery. With well-developed characters and a dark humor reminiscent of that in his first novel, Submarine (2008), Dunthorne delivers hilarity and heartbreak while redefining the essence of normality in this story about what makes a family and what makes a family dysfunctional. --Cortney Ophoff

Review

Praise for Wild Abandon
 
“[Contains] one of the funniest, most poignant kids I’ve run across in fiction…Wild Abandon had me pestering my wife with favorite lines till she promised to read it.”  - Ron Charles, The Washington Post


“He’s an elegant, accessible, and interesting comic novelist, whose work, I suspect, will provide a great deal of pleasure to a great number of people for many years.” – Nick Hornby, The Believer

"[R]ichly plotted and peopled"--Entertainment Weekly

“Populated by flawed, occasionally exasperating, lovable and, above all, thoroughly imagined characters, Wild Abandon is about what happens to children when parents become consumed by their beliefs...A terrific novel." – Nick Hornby, The Guardian, “Best Books of the Year”

“Think Juno or Bottle Rocket, then read [Wild Abandon]… This novel could be charming and silly, but Dunthorne infuses it with a wry, dark humor that builds to a nearly terrifying conclusion… Complicated, realistic, and unsettling” – Library Journal

“With well-developed characters and a dark humor reminiscent of that in his first novel, Submarine (2008), Dunthorne delivers hilarity and heartbreak while redefining the essence of normality in this story about what makes a family and what makes a family dysfunctional.”--Booklist

“A fresh perspective on modern culture, peppered with colorful dialogue.”--Kirkus

“Manages to be both tender and biting . . . Wild Abandon never lapses into parody, because [Joe] Dunthorne doesn’t scrimp on the small moments that make a character light up. . . . Truly laugh-out-loud hilarious.”—The Independent on Sunday
 
“Has you wincing on [the protagonist’s] behalf, page after page-turning page . . .Dunthorne does himself proud. [He draws] characters with real staying power.”—The Evening Standard (London)
 
“Sublimely enjoyable.”—Metro
 
“Full of finely nuanced details and a restless comic energy . . . builds to a fine apocalyptic climax.”—The Guardian
 
Wild Abandon is a very funny novel, but it’s not quite a comic one. . . . There’s a pathos here too. . . . From The Tempest to The Beach, everybody loves the tale of a flawed Utopia. [Wild Abandon] subverts the genre without even seemingly trying to. And it’s hilarious. What’s not to like?”—The Times
 
“[Dunthorne is] the British Dave Eggers.”—GQ


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Customer Reviews

That's not a political statement so much as a belief that human nature is a constant.
Howard McEwen
By the end of the novel I realized that I had developed no empathy for any of the characters and found almost all of them to be weakly developed.
Stephen T. Hopkins
Sometimes you read a book and once you've finished it, you know right away whether or not you liked it.
Larry Hoffer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Larry Hoffer on August 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sometimes you read a book and once you've finished it, you know right away whether or not you liked it. And then there are times when you finish a book and you have no idea what to make of it. Joe Dunthorne's Wild Abandon is definitely a book that falls into the latter category for me. Pieces of the story I really loved, but sadly Dunthorne took the story into some really strange places, which definitely tempered my feelings overall.

Freya and Don Riley have lived in a commune-type community in the English countryside for many years, since they co-founded "the community" with two other friends. Their two children, Kate and Albert, have been raised living the philosophies their parents have instilled in all residents. But things are starting to change. The community is on a decline, down to a skeleton crew. Kate has enrolled in school for the first time and is hoping to get into college, and she has come into contact with "regular" students and cafeteria food for the first time. Albert has fallen under the influence of another resident's end-of-the-world philosophies. And Freya is tired of it all, especially her husband. Wild Abandon follows the Rileys and their friends through all of the changes and the chaos that results.

At its heart, this is a book about change--how we need it, how we crave it, but how we resist it at every turn. Dunthorne has created some very dynamic characters, but in an effort to give each flaws, he sacrifices their appeal. While the characters may exhibit behaviors you might expect from individuals who haved lived for so long on a commune, many of them veer into truly uncomfortable territory, which turned the book for me. There's no doubt that Dunthorne is a really talented writer--and I'm considering reading his earlier book, Submarine--but I found this book ultimately unsatisfying because of the behaviors of many of its characters. Bummer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Master Cineaster VINE VOICE on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I could not finish this book. I could not really proceed past page 80 or so. The first chapter sets a scene with sharp, engaging prose and a real perspicacity of the world under description.

But then the writer takes us into the banal backstories of his characters rather than a real focus on the conflicts facing them in the here and now. As his ambitions diminish, so too does his prose, almost as if it's not worth celebrating the descriptions of the marginal adult characters. Had we stayed always on the kids, in their world now, it might have been more enjoyable. Who knows? I was fascinated by the setting of the novel on a commune but maybe that was unfair of me -- the author seems to be after an examination of dynamics a bit more broad than that. Trouble is, his adult characters are broad, too, if not stupid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on February 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are some wickedly funny passages in Joe Dunthorne's novel, Wild Abandon. Set in a commune in Wales, the characters are quirky and the odd situations in which they find themselves make for some lively plot threads. By the end of the novel I realized that I had developed no empathy for any of the characters and found almost all of them to be weakly developed. Much of the novel involves their beliefs, including the imminent end of the world, and I found all that to be amusing, but Dunthorne's satire never quite satisfied me. Readers who like finely written dark humor are those most likely to enjoy this novel.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Luiz on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wild Abandon offers a fun, slightly satirical portrait of a commune in contemporary Wales. The commune, Blaen-y-Llyn, has been running for twenty years. But in the timeframe of the novel just about everyone is trying to get out of it. The only one trying to keep everything together is Don, one of the founders and self-appointed leader, whose family are the focal characters of the book. Don is a bit pompous, still dedicated to the virtues of home schooling, sustainable housing, and living off the electrical grid, but his wife, Freya, has had just about enough of his bombastic personality. His 17-year-old daughter Kate, is dying for a chance to live in the normal world, and actually runs away from the commune to live with her boyfriend's family in a standard suburban house for a while, and his son Albert is enthralled with the idea, promulgated by one of the commune's residents, that the Mayans were right and that a cataclysmic event will happen in 2012, and that only those prepared for it will be able to survive. Young Albert wants to start preparing for that event, but mostly in ways that let him act out his anger at his sister's departure, which he experiences as an abandonment. We also get to know Patrick, the moneybags of the operation, whose former success in the greeting card business and as a landlord now mostly bankroll the commune's operation. But after years of smoking too much pot, he's become excessively paranoid. In one funny scene, he goes berserk, running through the commune, thinking everyone's about to kill him, and breaking his ankle in an attempt to escape. In the end, he too is trying to get away from Don and put an end to his decades-long pining for a woman, Janet, who's given him mixed signals through the years but never returned his love and devotion.Read more ›
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