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The Wild Things (Library Edition) Audio CD – Unabridged, October 16, 2009
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Maurice Sendak's spare picture book has captured the hearts of readers for more than four decades. Critics were split, however, on whether Eggers's novel will enjoy the same long-lasting popularity. Its greatest appeal may stem from Eggers's ability to convey both the sense of wonder and the dark uncertainty that make up a typical childhood, though a few reviewers disagreed. The Times, for example, called Max's outbursts an appalling symbol of "contemporary brattish America." The Washington Post simply wished that authors would develop their own material (critics mentioned Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as a horrific literary crime, not for the first time). Overall, younger readers may find much to enjoy here, but children and adults alike should start with the original. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
In Eggers’ novel, adapted from Spike Jonze’s film of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Max is a robust, self-reliant boy who acts out in response to his parents’ divorce. After some particularly epic mischief, he runs away, finds a boat, and sails it to a land where large, destructive beasts are willing to recognize him as their king—but Max, as it turns out, is not a particularly good king. There are many pleasant surprises here, from the personalities of the wild things to the dreamlike particulars of their world. But it doesn’t feel like an organically grown story. Whether because of this book’s unique origins, or Eggers’ execution, or even the familiarity of the picture book, the drama here, unfortunately, comes less from Max’s adventures than from our interest in seeing how Eggers has managed the adaptation. Where Sendak’s book contains multitudes in a dozen sentences, Eggers uses nearly 300 pages to tease out a number of ideas, and his book still feels too long. Billed as an “all-ages novel,” The Wild Things feels too grown-up for most children and too childlike for most grown-ups. Its association with the movie may boost sales, but the book seems unlikely to last long in the popular imagination. --Keir Graff --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
Top customer reviews
I haven’t seen this movie yet, and although I’m sure I read Sendak’s original book when I was little I can’t really remember anything about it whatsoever. I only picked this up because it was an Eggers book that I hadn’t gotten around to yet… well that, and I really loved the furry cover. Hopefully that let me approach this novelization (?) more as an independent work of art than as something that had to live up to my preconceived notions. Regardless, it was a really enjoyable read… nothing particularly outstanding or life-changing, but it was a fun story and a nice diversion from having to be me for a while.
The first third of the book or so was, for me, the most interesting section by far. Eggers did a really wonderful job of imparting the sense of isolation that Max was feeling. Isolation and frustration borne from, in a way, the powerlessness of a child in an adult’s world. Although Max was confused and seemed often to feel invisible, it was touching for Eggers to show the softer side of their family life as well. Everything isn’t bad and Max certainly wasn’t invisible all the time, and I really appreciated that everything about Max’s growing-up experience felt like it was fully plausible and completely normal. One minute I felt warm and comfortable sitting in the office with mother and son where the love was palpable, and the next I just wanted to scream for someone to please pay attention to me. I feel like that speaks to the talent Eggers has as an author to evoke emotion from every day scenarios – he really made me miss that feeling of closeness you have inside a family… the good times and the bad ones.
Once Max was set adrift across the water, Eggers continued with a beautiful narration of Max’s time at sea, but he actually kind of lost me once Max arrived at the island. Each of the beasts was humanized in such a way that I could care for them individually, the storytelling was vivid, and the emotions were just as real on the island as they were in the city. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, but despite all of that all I really wanted the whole time Max was on the island was for him to get back home so that I could understand what happened and see the aftermath. I think that I was just so enamored with Max’s relationship with his family that I found it difficult to swap that out with the imaginative relationships he had with the creatures on the island. It still remained entertaining, and I still enjoyed reading it (especially given how quickly I was able to tear through the story), but I was never able to fully *be* Max (or the beasts) like I was before.
As much as I really did enjoy the book, I have to say that the ending was kind of a let-down too. I read the first 250-ish pages one afternoon, which just left me with a little under 50 to go. I didn’t expect that I was going to care all that much, but all the next morning I really really just wanted to go to lunch so that I could finish the book and find out what happened. As heart-warming as the ending was (and not just because I love eye-glasses…), I really didn’t get what I wanted. Sometimes those stories that leave the ultimate ending up to the reader work really well for me, sometimes they fall flat, and sometimes… sometimes I just want to know more! All-in-all, that probably speaks to the strength of the rest of the novel that I was left somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. Perhaps all I really needed to say was that, after returning from lunch, I immediately hopped online and purchased Sendak’s original along with the movie. I hope to eat them both this weekend.
Highly, highly recommended for fans of the movie, and if you can't help hugging your books.
I think it's a good book for adults and teens, but not young children. I recommend sticking with the real thing for them.
My Lord, was that thing brilliant! If you've ever read any of Eggers's other work, you will feel the bumps of his own childhood, just as the original was striped with Sendak's sensibilities. But it's so much more than a reality-infused fairy tale. Think Gulliver's Travels, think The Life of Pi. I can't believe I got this beautiful new hardback book in perfect condition for $1.37 plus shipping. Yay Amazon. I know it was remaindered (WHY???), but I almost want to mail Dave Eggers a ten-spot to make up for the shortage.
All in all, it stands alone as a good book for adults that describes a child's childhood. I find it useful as a parent to remember what it is like to be 8. The fur on the outside of the book is a nice touch and doesn't detract from reading at all. The book opens and lays flat perfectly and the fur is not a gimmick that harms the experience of reading.
Come in the daydreaming and imaginary world in "The Wild Tings." Let's be children again. Let's be wild!
Ps. I love the fur, so does my friend. She held MY book for a long time when she saw the fur. Fur-covered Edition is good to be a pillow, too! enjoy!
Most recent customer reviews
Overall, I really enjoyed The Wild Things by Dave Eggers.Read more