Wild Game
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.

Wild Game Details

TitleWild Game
Author
ReleaseOct 15th, 2019
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328519030
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Adult, Biography Memoir, Family

Wild Game Review

  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    u n p u t d o w n a b l e.review to come / 4 (?) stars---------oh my god the drama.(thanks to HMH for the arc)
  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Jessica TurnerI’m not a big nonfiction reader, but I devoured Wild Game (pun intended). As a mother of three kids, I’m acutely aware of the role I have in their life and appreciate the sacred gift to usher them into adulthood. Maybe that explains my shock and utter dismay over this true story of the author Adrienne’s relationship with her mother, Malabar. The ways in which Malabar repeatedly crossed lines that should never be crossed was unconscionable.In Wild Game, Malabar pursu Why I love itby Jessica TurnerI’m not a big nonfiction reader, but I devoured Wild Game (pun intended). As a mother of three kids, I’m acutely aware of the role I have in their life and appreciate the sacred gift to usher them into adulthood. Maybe that explains my shock and utter dismay over this true story of the author Adrienne’s relationship with her mother, Malabar. The ways in which Malabar repeatedly crossed lines that should never be crossed was unconscionable.In Wild Game, Malabar pursues an affair with her disabled husband’s best friend, using her daughter, Adrienne, as a distraction, confidante, and accomplice to keep her relationship a secret and ensure its success. Adrienne’s desire to protect her mother—a deeply flawed but undeniably magnetic woman—and her blindness to the inappropriateness of her mother’s actions is heart-wrenching. I was dumbfounded at the manipulation and selfishness of Adrienne’s mother.Wild Game is sure to be one of 2019’s must-read memoirs, and fans of The Glass Castle and Educated will love that it is similarly compulsively readable. I read it in 24 hours and am still thinking about it weeks later. Adrienne’s mother is as enigmatic as she is selfish—how could anyone act like this? You’ll be talking about just that with friends, strangers—anyone who will listen—for a long time.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/wild-game-559
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    As we walk through life, we sometimes fail to give a voice to the sharp-thorned bramble that attaches itself and clings to our very being. In Wild Game, Adrienne Brodeur reflects upon the very disjointed and convoluted relationship with her mother, Malabar. Whether with full conscience or inadvertently, we tend to leave fingerprints of our own shortcomings and quirks on the minds of our children. We will come to find that Malabar opened it all full-throttle.Fourteen is a tender age of becoming. As we walk through life, we sometimes fail to give a voice to the sharp-thorned bramble that attaches itself and clings to our very being. In Wild Game, Adrienne Brodeur reflects upon the very disjointed and convoluted relationship with her mother, Malabar. Whether with full conscience or inadvertently, we tend to leave fingerprints of our own shortcomings and quirks on the minds of our children. We will come to find that Malabar opened it all full-throttle.Fourteen is a tender age of becoming. We search through trial and error to place our feet upon the unsteady ground of adolescence. And this is where the uneven relationship rears its jagged head in regard to Adrienne (Rennie) and Malabar. Malabar wakes Rennie from a sound sleep with a bizarre telling of being kissed that evening by her husband's best friend, Ben. Malabar transfers her excitement to Rennie. Rennie only wishes happiness for her mother and agrees to be the conduit in this hidden relationship. She follows along with the couple as a cover for their indiscretions having no clue as to what chaos Malabar has set in motion.Adrienne Brodeur unlatches the door to her early life and we, as readers, will view the heavy impact all of this will have on Rennie for the rest of her life. We hear so much in regard to fathers/daughters and mothers/sons relationships. Brodeur unpacks this one with a still loving hand towards the one individual with the greatest impact on her life. The manipulation of Malabar will be experienced by offering the rose petal of a kiss that fateful evening rather than the honesty of an illicit affair on her daughter's pillow. The web spun by Malabar is one that is impossible to untangle.But through it all, we honor Adrienne Brodeur's honesty in the retelling of her painful youth leading to her own adulthood. There is almost a gasp as we acknowledge how crippled her own decision making had become under the influence of Malabar who became flawed and damaged by her own mother. Leaping to the other side of a relationship still doesn't stop the genetics coursing through our bloodstreams at times. But Brodeur shines the light on the possibility it can be done.I received a copy of Wild Game through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an honest review. My thanks to them and to Adrienne Brodeur for the opportunity.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    [2.8] This flimsy memoir about a mother/daughter relationship was a painless, but hollow reading experience. I felt some sympathy for the confusion the author experienced but was mostly detached. Takeaway: You need more than messed-up mother to create a memorable memoir.
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  • Brandon Forsyth
    January 1, 1970
    The comparisons to THE GLASS CASTLE are deserved. Not since that book have we had a memoir that is this richly observed, full of poignant detail and heart-stopping sentences. Don’t miss this one.
  • Peter Rock
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it. Malabar, the mother, is the most complicated character I've experienced in quite some time. Her actions are so hard to accept, yet the writing itself demonstrates the love of her daughter, and this draws the reader in, too. This storytelling so ably demonstrates the way family relationships shift and change over time. Remarkable accomplishment, rife with secrets so human. I felt kind of like an accomplice, myself.
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  • Skyler
    January 1, 1970
    "'Tell me what it's like,' I said, even though we'd had this conversation before and I'd witnessed firsthand how the volatile forces of passion and infidelity had give my mother exuberance. I just loved to hear her talk about it." Pg. 42Would you give up your life if you thought it would make your parents happy? Adrienne was too young to debate this question when her mother confided in her about the blossoming affair with her husband's best friend. She spent the next 10 years devoting herself to "'Tell me what it's like,' I said, even though we'd had this conversation before and I'd witnessed firsthand how the volatile forces of passion and infidelity had give my mother exuberance. I just loved to hear her talk about it." Pg. 42Would you give up your life if you thought it would make your parents happy? Adrienne was too young to debate this question when her mother confided in her about the blossoming affair with her husband's best friend. She spent the next 10 years devoting herself to helping her mother in every aspect of her secret relationship. How similar is the pattern between our actions and our parents? Adrienne was fortunately able to break the pattern between her mother, and her mother's mother, of the selfish and narcissistic relationships. But not first before lying to everyone she cared about. Cheating on multiple partners and pursuing men who were involved in relationships, Adrienne had followed her mother's footsteps with great accuracy. Her choice of husband was subconsciously to keep her mother involved in her life, and keep the hope alive that one day, her mother would love her more than she loved herself.To see how this one secret, this one affair, changed the lives of every person surrounding Adrienne and Malabar made this book an extremely fascinating read. Each person had depth, personality, and perspective, which made this story feel so life-like. It felt like the story of a family I had grown up with, or people I once knew, not strangers in a book. My heart broke for Charles and Lily on multiple occasions, and with each passing page I became more and more disappointed in Adrienne. I think writing a memoir so incriminating to your character can be very tricky. I thought she did this well and I empathized with her through most of the story. The only thing I didn't enjoy about this memoir was Adrienne's lack of acknowledgment of her continued involvement and complicity throughout her older years. Of course as the quote goes, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Soren Kierkegaard Pg. 117 But I do still feel like Adrienne had a lot of great people in her life that she did not appreciate, and caused far more turmoil than she spoke on. Overall, I loved and appreciated this memoir. It was heartbreaking and personal, just as all great memoirs of this type are. I would recommend this book to lovers of The Glass Castle and Educated. Some other quotes I took away... "...when you lie so often that the lie seems truer than the actual truth, you lose the only thing that matters: the possibility of a real connection." Pg. 50 "Loneliness is not about how many people you have around. It's about whether or not you feel connected. Whether or not you're able to be yourself." "The lonely feeling comes from not feeling known." Pg. 113
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: The publisher sent me an ARC. Brodeur writers in her preface that “a buried truth, that’s all a lie really is”. The sentence could be used to describe more than a lie but also family relationships. All families have secrets and all families are unhappy in entirely different ways, and despite how Tolstoy started that saying, I will even say all happy families are so in different ways – in fact, you can be a happy and unhappy family at the same time. For instance, if you could travel Disclaimer: The publisher sent me an ARC. Brodeur writers in her preface that “a buried truth, that’s all a lie really is”. The sentence could be used to describe more than a lie but also family relationships. All families have secrets and all families are unhappy in entirely different ways, and despite how Tolstoy started that saying, I will even say all happy families are so in different ways – in fact, you can be a happy and unhappy family at the same time. For instance, if you could travel back in time and ask half a dozen people at that point in their lives, if their family was happy, then they might answer yes. But ask them as adults, and they might say no. It is easy reading Brodeur’s memoir about her mother and her mother’s affair to groan in despair as Brodeur’s mother Malabar confides in her daughter and uses her daughter to conduct an illicit affair. Yet, many of us become our parents’ confidents whether we want to be or not. We learn about their sex lives or lack of one, perhaps what they said in marriage counseling. In this way, our parents use us as friends and weapons. So, while Brodeur’s story may be different than most, it is still a memoir that reflects a very common occurrence and is honest about it. At first glance, the memoir might simply be about the affair and Brodeur’s role in it, but what the story really unfolds is the struggle that happens when we separate ourselves from parents whom we love but whose love isn’t necessary healthily or even really love. The memoir is about overcoming the intergenerational hurt that secrets and emotional withdraw can cause. In part this focus around the necklace that Malabar owns, that originally was her mother’s, given to her by her husband as part peace offering, part sorry, part bribe. It is unknown fi the necklace is what it is supposed to be – an artwork of gems. The necklace is beautiful, but its story shifts in the novel. As does Malabar’s stories about the affair that she tells Brodeur. Malabar’s back story gives some reason and context to her behavior, but also does not excuse her behavior. In the pages, the reader can feel Brodeur trying to make sense of her mother. Brodeur’s writing is gripping and the memoir speeds along at a good clip. There is no dragging or self-pity or unnecessary detail. At no point do we stop and scream at Brodeur but instead celebrate her success in living her own life.In telling about her healing and moving forward Brodeur gives hope and comfort to those of us still coming to terms with the damage and pain caused by parents who while loved put their own happiness first or are not as parents should be.
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  • Jennifer Haupt
    January 1, 1970
    I had the excellent fortune of receiving an ARC of Adrienne Brodeur's masterful memoir. I keep referring to it as a novel because, honestly, I'm not a huge fan of memoir and this narrator--this story--drew me into a different world with fascinating characters. Brodeur writes about her manipulative bigger-than-life mother with such love and tenderness. She also writes about her younger self with the tenderness of a mother. Trust me, you want to pre-order this October release and put it on your bo I had the excellent fortune of receiving an ARC of Adrienne Brodeur's masterful memoir. I keep referring to it as a novel because, honestly, I'm not a huge fan of memoir and this narrator--this story--drew me into a different world with fascinating characters. Brodeur writes about her manipulative bigger-than-life mother with such love and tenderness. She also writes about her younger self with the tenderness of a mother. Trust me, you want to pre-order this October release and put it on your book club calendar. Find out why 14 publishers fought over this gem!
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  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    An immensely readable memoir about growing up with a narcissist mother. While it was a quick read, the author's literary background served an effective emotional punch, worthy of the trauma she suffered at the hands of her mother. I'm not sure if this will be corrected for the final release (I read this as an ARC) but Brodeaur makes a point of changing the names of most of the people in her life for the book (explained in the introduction), but then goes on to thank them all by name in the ackno An immensely readable memoir about growing up with a narcissist mother. While it was a quick read, the author's literary background served an effective emotional punch, worthy of the trauma she suffered at the hands of her mother. I'm not sure if this will be corrected for the final release (I read this as an ARC) but Brodeaur makes a point of changing the names of most of the people in her life for the book (explained in the introduction), but then goes on to thank them all by name in the acknowledgements. A bit pointless, no?
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  • Katherine Riley
    January 1, 1970
    I felt such deep relief while reading this intense memoir, at seeing such an intensely flawed mother-daughter relationship expressed so well in writing. I applaud the author for her careful and precise rendering of an unusual, painful and lifelong experience. It reads like the best fiction.
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  • Lindsay Cole
    January 1, 1970
    I’m going to need a few days to process this before I write my review but wow wow WOW this was incredible.
  • Marsha
    January 1, 1970
    An achingly honest memoir by a daughter whose mother has no boundaries. Thank goodness Rennie healed from this. A fascinating and sad book that is utterly unputdownable.
  • Erica Bauermeister
    January 1, 1970
    It is extraordinarily difficult to write a beautiful, compassionate book about a difficult childhood. The Glass Castle, The Liar's Club, Wild -- all take pain and turn it into something powerful and lyrical. That's exactly what Adrienne Brodeur does in Wild Game. She looks a twisted mother-daughter relationship straight in the eye, examines its complexity, is unsparing in both her honesty and her love. From the moment Malabar wakes up her 14-year-old daughter in the middle of the night and draws It is extraordinarily difficult to write a beautiful, compassionate book about a difficult childhood. The Glass Castle, The Liar's Club, Wild -- all take pain and turn it into something powerful and lyrical. That's exactly what Adrienne Brodeur does in Wild Game. She looks a twisted mother-daughter relationship straight in the eye, examines its complexity, is unsparing in both her honesty and her love. From the moment Malabar wakes up her 14-year-old daughter in the middle of the night and draws her into her mother's affair with her step-father's best friend, we know we are not in Kansas anymore. But Brodeur finds the humanity in her mother's mistakes, as well as her own. We grow as she does. Highly recommended.
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  • Kristen Bieler
    January 1, 1970
    Great memoirs quickly move past the individual to tap into the universal human experience, and Wild Game does exactly that. Deeply heartfelt, painful, briskly-paced and often very funny, Brodeur's coming-of-age story illuminates the complexities of the mother-daughter bond. She recounts beautifully and honestly the experience of being side-lined by her forceful mother and emotionally hostage to her selfish needs. Yet she is never bitter or cynical, and writes with impressive empathy to create an Great memoirs quickly move past the individual to tap into the universal human experience, and Wild Game does exactly that. Deeply heartfelt, painful, briskly-paced and often very funny, Brodeur's coming-of-age story illuminates the complexities of the mother-daughter bond. She recounts beautifully and honestly the experience of being side-lined by her forceful mother and emotionally hostage to her selfish needs. Yet she is never bitter or cynical, and writes with impressive empathy to create an honest portrait of a very flawed woman that still honors her. Brodeur's journey from serving as her mother's "handmaid" to claiming her own life and identity takes several decades; it's a hard-won liberation made possible by friendship, several surrogate mother figures, the power of literature, and ultimately, becoming a mother herself. As a reader, it's hard not to rage against her mother's life-sucking neediness and self-absorbed lack of regard for her daughter. But Brodeur keeps a steady head, quietly loosening the ties that bind her, to emerge as her story's leading character in the end.
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  • Ampersand Inc.
    January 1, 1970
    Saffron (5/5):This book proves that fact is more fascinating than fiction. The writer is amazing and it is good for fans of Glass Castle.Dani (4/5):An immensely readable memoir about growing up with a narcissist mother. While it was a quick read, the author's literary background served an effective emotional punch, worthy of the trauma she suffered at the hands of her mother. I'm not sure if this will be corrected for the final release (I read this as an ARC) but Brodeur makes a point of changin Saffron (5/5):This book proves that fact is more fascinating than fiction. The writer is amazing and it is good for fans of Glass Castle.Dani (4/5):An immensely readable memoir about growing up with a narcissist mother. While it was a quick read, the author's literary background served an effective emotional punch, worthy of the trauma she suffered at the hands of her mother. I'm not sure if this will be corrected for the final release (I read this as an ARC) but Brodeur makes a point of changing the names of most of the people in her life for the book (explained in the introduction), but then goes on to thank them all by name in the acknowledgements. A bit pointless, no?Jessica (5/5):A riveting and beautifully written memoir about a complicated mother-daughter relationship.Ali (4/5):I really enjoyed this mother/daughter memoir, particularly the food writing. It also made me want to call my mum and tell her she’s great 😝
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  • Emily Miller
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky to receive an advance copy, and Wow this book is excellent. If you like reading about: Cape Cod, blue bloods, prep school, complicated families (and are there any that aren't, because if so I haven't met them yet :)), complicated mother-daughter relationships (ditto), cooking, gourmet food, sunken pirate ships, or buried treasure, among other subjects, then this book is for you. I literally couldn't put it down. I would be laughing one minute, sniffling the next. Oh and I was picking I was lucky to receive an advance copy, and Wow this book is excellent. If you like reading about: Cape Cod, blue bloods, prep school, complicated families (and are there any that aren't, because if so I haven't met them yet :)), complicated mother-daughter relationships (ditto), cooking, gourmet food, sunken pirate ships, or buried treasure, among other subjects, then this book is for you. I literally couldn't put it down. I would be laughing one minute, sniffling the next. Oh and I was picking my jaw up off the floor the rest of the time. And the best part is, Ms. Brodeur tells her rather incredible (and sometimes quite sensational) life story so well, you are with her every moment. The characters are so complex, and rendered so fully, that my loyalties, sympathies, and opinions kept shifting as I read. I've thought about it every day since. Highly, highly recommend!
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  • Tom Bernard
    January 1, 1970
    Ms.Brodeur's memoir is so riveting that you'll likely devour it in one setting (It took me two due to unavoidable tasks). It is a harrowing, emotional roller coaster — incredibly honest, compassionate, and well crafted. It's likely that her extraordinary mom, Malabar, will become a literary touchstone, like Mrs. Dalloway. A nature enthusiast, Brodeur beautifully describes the ocean and the flora and fauna of Cape Cod. She does a great job of weaving in Cape related similes and metaphors. Not one Ms.Brodeur's memoir is so riveting that you'll likely devour it in one setting (It took me two due to unavoidable tasks). It is a harrowing, emotional roller coaster — incredibly honest, compassionate, and well crafted. It's likely that her extraordinary mom, Malabar, will become a literary touchstone, like Mrs. Dalloway. A nature enthusiast, Brodeur beautifully describes the ocean and the flora and fauna of Cape Cod. She does a great job of weaving in Cape related similes and metaphors. Not one is a stretch. Literary perfection. A truly beautiful and enthralling book.
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  • Genevieve Trono
    January 1, 1970
    Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur is a memoir that details the complicated and dysfunctional relationship Brodeur experienced with her mother, Malabar. This cycle spans several decades and although there is the storyline of how Brodeur became entangled in her mother’s affair, it wasn’t the most powerful part of this book for me.What really spoke to me was how much this story shared the challenges of cycles repeating themselves in families. These complexities can continue to pass on generation after Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur is a memoir that details the complicated and dysfunctional relationship Brodeur experienced with her mother, Malabar. This cycle spans several decades and although there is the storyline of how Brodeur became entangled in her mother’s affair, it wasn’t the most powerful part of this book for me.What really spoke to me was how much this story shared the challenges of cycles repeating themselves in families. These complexities can continue to pass on generation after generation and Brodeur truly shows how hard dysfunction can be to break. The writing detailing how she confronted her past is raw and full of emotions and whether you can relate to this story or not, this is not a book to be missed.Brodeur shares vividly, the complexities of their mother/daughter relationship and how it has affected her from her childhood to now during middle-age. Whether it is in romantic relationships or the relationships she has with her own children, it heavily impacts her to this day.Brodeur reflects so honestly about how challenging it was as she began to distance herself from Malabar as an adult. While she knew her relationship wasn’t “normal” or healthy, it was hard not to fall back into the paths which had been ingrained in her family for so long.While this book wasn’t easy to read at times, I appreciated that it wasn’t black or white and Brodeur is able to look at this deeply conflicted relationship with humanity and empathy. I stopped and reread sections of the book because the reflections on the journey of finding herself while batting the undercurrent of her family dynamics were so insightful.I also appreciated that she recounted the impact the other people in her life had had on her and her ability to move forward. Brodeur’s ability to share such introspection and poignant details amidst the difficulties she endured made this book what it was and it won’t be one I will ever forget.Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Moira
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn’t sure how I would feel reading a story centered around an extended affair. This book turned out to be a beautiful compassionate story, in which I both fell in love and loathed Malabar. What unfolded was a heartfelt memoir that at times wasn’t easy to read, yet I couldn’t put it down.
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  • Jessica N. Turner
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely fantastic. A must-read for fans of Educated and The Glass Castle.
  • Donna K
    January 1, 1970
    I admire the talent and bravery of author Brodeur in her personal disclosure. This book kept revealing curious content that gave me a feeling of ... I can't wait to go back to this read!
  • Katie Devine
    January 1, 1970
    "A buried truth, that's all a lie really is."So begins Adrienne Brodeur's intimate and luminous memoir, a narratively and emotionally propulsive story of being seduced as a teenager by her charismatic mother into becoming complicit in her mother's affair with her husband's closest friend. The book mines the depths of this complicated mother-daughter relationship, and how nearly impossible it was for Brodeur to extricate herself from its clutches.Rarely, if ever, have I had such a sensorially dee "A buried truth, that's all a lie really is."So begins Adrienne Brodeur's intimate and luminous memoir, a narratively and emotionally propulsive story of being seduced as a teenager by her charismatic mother into becoming complicit in her mother's affair with her husband's closest friend. The book mines the depths of this complicated mother-daughter relationship, and how nearly impossible it was for Brodeur to extricate herself from its clutches.Rarely, if ever, have I had such a sensorially deep reading experience, where I stood alongside the narrator, seeing everything she saw and feeling everything she felt. I sat in my city apartment and could smell the brackish sea air of the Cape and tasted the fish fried in salty butter. It was seagulls and waves I heard rather than the actual urban noise beyond my windows. The sensuality of food (Brodeur's mother studied at Le Cordon Bleu) paired with the corporeal sensuality within the story of Brodeur's coming of age creates a magically felt tension that moves this memoir forward while also coaxing the reader to savor the deliciousness of every word. Wild Game easily and unequivocally vaults onto my favorite memoirs of all time list, and is one I will continue to return to as both a reader and a writer. If only I could give it the 50 stars it deserves.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I love reading memoirs, looking at the twisted relationships that produced the author. “Wild Game” is endlessly fascinating, beautifully written and begs the reader to sit down with other women to discuss the unusual relationship between Rennie, the author, and Malabar, her mother. Should children become the confidantes of parents? Should a parent force a child to keep secrets? Should a child participate in a parent’s immoral behavior?All of this resonated with me because I was married to s Wow! I love reading memoirs, looking at the twisted relationships that produced the author. “Wild Game” is endlessly fascinating, beautifully written and begs the reader to sit down with other women to discuss the unusual relationship between Rennie, the author, and Malabar, her mother. Should children become the confidantes of parents? Should a parent force a child to keep secrets? Should a child participate in a parent’s immoral behavior?All of this resonated with me because I was married to someone who was forced into the same position as Adrienne Brodeur. Few people can stand back and examine their life as Brodeur does in this memoir. The writing is lush and beautifully descriptive. I was able to feel the settings and taste the food. I have a lingering question, and perhaps someone can answer this for me, “how valuable is the necklace?” Since this piece of jewelry became a highly important pawn in the relationship between the women, the nosy gossip in me needs the closure of knowing if it is really valuable or just a tool in their relationship which was hardly worth it’s exalted position. I truly enjoyed this memoir and obviously urge women to share their own experiences with their mothers. Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.On a hot August night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that wou I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.On a hot August 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.No parent should put their kid through what Malabar put Adrienne through: but then again, narcissists justify everything to themselves. I was unsure when I started reading it if it was a true story, but then again, who would name their character Malabar unless it had a personal, true connection. The story is presented well and well written and it made me question my parents and my parenting skills. The story kind of reminded me of a neighbour when I was growing up whose mother took a live-in-lover whilst her husband was working in Libya and what a scandal it was, not that I was fully cognizant of it at age 12 or so!This is a quick read (I am a super-speed reader and I got through it in less than 30 minutes - I am sure that NetGalley has figured out my reading speed by now with their analytics!!!) but I did enjoy it immensely. This would be a great #bookclubpick as who doesn't love to discuss parenting, parents or keeping secrets??? As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millenials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it some summery, beachy 🧜‍♀️ 🏖️🐚👙🐬
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  • Jessica Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to have received an ARC a few days ago and I couldn't put this book down. This memoir follows a 14 year old Adrienne and the life full of lies and scandals that her mother tosses her into. Adrienne finds herself becoming the pawn of her mothers love affair, her confidant at first and later evolving into the glue that makes the scandal possible. There were so many moments in this book that I shook my head in disbelief. What kind women plots an affair with her husbands best friend, I was fortunate to have received an ARC a few days ago and I couldn't put this book down. This memoir follows a 14 year old Adrienne and the life full of lies and scandals that her mother tosses her into. Adrienne finds herself becoming the pawn of her mothers love affair, her confidant at first and later evolving into the glue that makes the scandal possible. There were so many moments in this book that I shook my head in disbelief. What kind women plots an affair with her husbands best friend, but also, what kind of mother relies on her daughter to make that possible? I found it hard to find any sense of sympathy for Malabar throughout the first half of the story, and I actually found myself detesting her by the second half. The saying that "blood is thicker than water" didn't quite fit with this families mold. As Adrienne grew up, Malabar consistently chose her lover and her own happiness over her daughters well being. To say that this family was dysfunctional is putting it lightly. But through years and years of turbulence that the author had to endure, the ending still left me with a smile and the reminder that we are not who are parents are. We can't choose who our family is but we can learn to forgive and become better people.
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  • sylvie
    January 1, 1970
    First I would like to mention, there is no anymosity between Malabar, the mother, and Rennie, the daughter in this memoir. The writing is one of healing on Rennie's part, of understanding her mother.Entering into this memoir I feel it matters to understand the family's dynamics.A family descendant of the Mayflower, people of privileged and wealth.Malabar, a mother without boundaries will incapacitated Rennie through her teen years and beyond, she will never understand her indecent misstep.The he First I would like to mention, there is no anymosity between Malabar, the mother, and Rennie, the daughter in this memoir. The writing is one of healing on Rennie's part, of understanding her mother.Entering into this memoir I feel it matters to understand the family's dynamics.A family descendant of the Mayflower, people of privileged and wealth.Malabar, a mother without boundaries will incapacitated Rennie through her teen years and beyond, she will never understand her indecent misstep.The healing will consume Rennie for many years, the search for herself.Distancing herself from Malabar will be her first step. Finding hope and guidance through books suggested by her stepmother Margo will lead her toards fundamental understandings.I was taken aback by Rennie's lack of literary education, yet not surprised considering the hedonistic lifestyle she grew up around.Literature will become Rennie's vocation, which can be noticed by the beautiful writing in this memoir.Thank you NetGalley & Houghton Miffin and Harcourt
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  • Heather Button
    January 1, 1970
    I related to this story so well. Being a mom and not wanting to be your mom in the end. Struggling to deal with your relationship with your parents. I found myself so moved at the end of this when Adrienne says “It’s said that if we do not learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it. And that fear - coupled with the desire to be a different kind of mother - has compelled me to wade through the raw material of my mother’s life as well as my own, salvaging whatever plunder and treasure I ca I related to this story so well. Being a mom and not wanting to be your mom in the end. Struggling to deal with your relationship with your parents. I found myself so moved at the end of this when Adrienne says “It’s said that if we do not learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it. And that fear - coupled with the desire to be a different kind of mother - has compelled me to wade through the raw material of my mother’s life as well as my own, salvaging whatever plunder and treasure I can before the tide buried the wreck again.” Toward the end of the book when Adrienne talks about her experience of having children of her own, I felt like she got me. There is this inherent fear that you’re doomed to be the same kind of parents as your own and she made me happy knowing that you don’t have to be.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This is a September Book of the Month pick, and of all the books that could have been chosen, I don’t understand how this one was the winner. It’s a fast read, but it feels underdeveloped - decades pass in the span of a paragraph. All of the people involved are also fairly unlikeable. I realize they are real people, but I just don’t want to read about them. Go have your “creative life searching for meaning,” but don’t drag me into it. The author has experienced something truly unique and undoubt This is a September Book of the Month pick, and of all the books that could have been chosen, I don’t understand how this one was the winner. It’s a fast read, but it feels underdeveloped - decades pass in the span of a paragraph. All of the people involved are also fairly unlikeable. I realize they are real people, but I just don’t want to read about them. Go have your “creative life searching for meaning,” but don’t drag me into it. The author has experienced something truly unique and undoubtedly traumatic, and it’s this piece alone that makes this book 3 stars.*It’s also possible that I have such a normal relationship with my parents that I just can’t wrap my head around people who do not. *
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  • Cate
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book, the ending affected me so deeply, I cried throughout the last part and then for about 20 minutes afterwards and had to just sit and process my feelings. Every mother or daughter needs to read this book! A mother daughter relationship can be very complicated and when there is not a great bond, or being treated badly by your mother it can have a lasting affect on you throughout your life and make it difficult to have normal relationships with other people or have security in tho I LOVED this book, the ending affected me so deeply, I cried throughout the last part and then for about 20 minutes afterwards and had to just sit and process my feelings. Every mother or daughter needs to read this book! A mother daughter relationship can be very complicated and when there is not a great bond, or being treated badly by your mother it can have a lasting affect on you throughout your life and make it difficult to have normal relationships with other people or have security in those relationships. So often the cycle is repeated once the daughter starts having children, and can continue for generations unless you are one of the lucky ones to realize that this is not ok and want to give your own child everything you didn't receive. I was one of the lucky ones, my daughter is my whole life and I spent years worrying I would repeat the cycle but instead I made sure she only knew love and patience and kind words and felt safe and secure, happy and loved every day of her life and the payoff of that has been that I have the most strong and loving relationship with her now, I am her rock and she is mine as well, we love each other so much and only want each other to be happy. It's the greatest achievement of my life that I could give her what I always wanted for myself and my relationship with her is beautiful and untarnished. This book said all the things that I have always felt, and I could relate to it so much, but especially the end part. If you are a mother of a daughter, or the daughter of a difficult mother I highly recommend you read this memoir and I hope it gives you the same feelings of peace and joy that it did me.
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