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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me Paperback – July 7, 2020
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NAMED A BEST FALL BOOK BY People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR’s On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful
On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.
Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.
“Exquisite and harrowing.” —New York Times Book Review
“This electrifying, gorgeously written memoir will hold you captive until the last word.” —People
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A National Bestseller A Best Book of 2019 from: NPR * BuzzFeed * Slate * People* Chicago Public Library * Real Simple * Library Journal * Washington Post * Amazon * CBC A Best of Fall Title from: People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR’s On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful Winner of the New England Society Book Award A Book of the Month Pick (September) An Amazon Best of the Month/Spotlight Pick (October) The Nervous Breakdown Book Club (October) An Apple Best of the Month (October) A Bookish “Kelly’s Pick” (Fall) “Exquisite and harrowing . . . [WILD GAME] is so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting.” —New York Times Book Review "Wild Game is a memoir, but it reads very much like a novel with a first-person narrator, bringing readers closely into scenes with vivid sensual detail that paints the atmosphere with the adoring eyes of the enthralled daughter the author once was. Wild Game, for all its luscious prose and tantalizing elements, is ultimately about the slow and painful process of losing a mother." —NPR "This electrifying, gorgeously written memoir will hold you captive until the last word." —People, “Book of the Week” "Brodeur is a deft memoirist, portraying Malabar as a woman traumatized by a violent parent and early tragedy. In this stunning tale of treachery—unsettling yet seductive—we are led through some of the darkest and most alluring corridors of the human heart." —O Magazine "[A] vivid memoir…[Brodeur] writes beautifully, even tenderly, as a mother herself, aware of repercussions, knowing how it all ended." —BBC "Perhaps everyone has a memoir in them—but only some lives are instant and undeniable blockbusters. Adrienne Brodeur’s is one...Brodeur tells a story so extraordinary, so juicy, and so well that your only option is to buy copies for your friends, too...The miracle of Wild Game is that Brodeur’s writing is as incredible as her story. Brodeur captures the emotional gradations in a tense room as deftly as she establishes the sea salt air and elaborate dinners of her childhood...[Wild Game] will undeniably be the book club pick of 2019." —Refinery29 “Adrienne Brodeur’s breathless memoir starts off with a bang…Every single turn of this memoir is gripping…Brodeur’s descriptions of her mother read like a paramour waxing rhapsodic, the recollections of someone in inescapable thrall…In Wild Game, Brodeur shows us that what defines our lives is choosing just how bound we want to be."” —San Francisco Chronicle “Brodeur’s memoir has set both Hollywood and publishing ablaze.” —Entertainment Weekly “Shocking, poignant, unputdownable.” —People Magazine “It’s the kind of juicy what-is-happening memoir that just begs to be made into a movie.”— —
About the Author
- Publisher : Harper Perennial (July 7, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 035836132X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0358361329
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #113,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2019
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All memoirists should read this book...and those who had a total narcissistic parent.
This story is like a bad car accident: you want to look away from the carnage, but yet you're so fascinated that you can't look away. My heart hurts for Adrienne and the weight of keeping such a huge lie to herself for such a long time. I hope that writing her story was cathartic for her, and that she was able to get the closure on this chapter of her life. I can't imagine how hard writing this must've been for her.
Adrienne did an great job writing all the details about the eclectic cuisine that her mother created. This aspect of the story was fascinating and hands down my favorite part of the story.
Wild Game is a heartbreaking narrative with an incomprehensible narcissist, the man she's obsessed with, and the daughter who had no choice but to keep her dirty little secret, losing herself in the process. A tougher read for me, especially since it triggered memories of my own dealings with a promiscuous parent, but I don't regret this weekend read at all.
It’s a fascinating story, but in real life the effects of the affair are insidious, even traumatic. Adrienne’s mother, Malabar, uses her for cover, pulling her into a deception that continues for years. Adrienne loves her mother, she’s loyal to her, but as a teenager she has her own needs. Alone in her room at the start of the book, perhaps only an hour after an amazing discovery—her first orgasm—Adrienne is woken by her mother with the news of her incipient romance. Malabar is quick to tell but slow to listen. “Sweetheart. Please. I need you.”
In the end, Malabar marries her paramour and lives with him for twenty years. But this fidelity cannot repair the damage she has done to her daughter and their life together. Brodeur’s book is a classic exploration of how a parent might be torn between her own needs and those of her children—except that Malabar never seems torn at all. She always goes straight for what she wants. This is a painful, beautifully-written book.
This is what makes a superb memoir. To explore your life to give it meaning not only for yourself but for others. To tease through your unique complicated tapestry of human relationships to reveal the universal. I don’t know if this was the author’s intent but this is often the result when the process is honest and authentic. The author takes us through the painstaking parsing of her complicated relationship with her mother with deep reflections at every turn as she seeks to find her true purpose. In addition she shows respect for everyone who touched her life while still being brutally honest. This is how she is able to take charge and agency for her life.
Anyone who has struggled with a complicated relationship will find resonance with this book. And thankfully Ms. Brodeur’s purpose is clearly to share her gift of writing to make this process more accessible. Her writing is clear, fluid, sensual, and beautiful! Her story reads like a riveting novel!