Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

“My mother had narrowed her vision and chosen happiness, and I had willingly signed on, both of us ignoring the dangers of the new terrain.” (uncorrected proof)



First, I would like to thank BookishFirst for providing me with a free print ARC copy of this novel. Below is my honest review.

First, I must say, that after reading a few reviews that have already been posted for this book, I am appalled at the number of people who are basically judging the quality of the book by the author's privileged upbringing. To do so is to assert that someone who has family money does not have the right to suffer from severe depression or that somehow a child's mental and emotional abuse is less valid because her parents have a beach house on Cape Cod.

Adrienne Brodeur has laid her past bare for the public to see, opening herself and her family up to scrutiny and judgment. She has done so knowing that her story is one worthy of being told. Never have I read of a mother as narcissistic and self-serving as Malabar. With complete and utter disregard for the feelings of anyone but herself, she launches into an affair that spans over a decade. She has no concern for the lives she destroys in the process. Brodeur has an exceptional writing style, making the book difficult to put down. The story moves quickly, beginning when the author was 14 and moving through subsequent decades. There is a quote in the book that I will not repeat here and spoil for anyone, but when stated by Malabar, I wanted to punch her square in her smug face. I was fully invested in this memoir and I highly recommend it. I am excited also that the film rights were sold and that we will get to experience this tale visually.

Audience: adult
Recommended for fans of: memoir
Trigger warnings: depression, suicidal ideation, death

Publisher's Synopsis:

A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

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.



©Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: October 15, 2019
Edition: Hardback ARC
256 pages

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