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The Wild Things

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  6,045 ratings  ·  706 reviews
The Wild Things — based very loosely on the storybook by Maurice Sendak and the screenplay cowritten with Spike Jonze — is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, his sister is becoming a teenager and no longer has interest in him. At the same time, Max finds h ...more
Paperback, 279 pages
Published October 2009 by Hamish Hamilton (first published January 1st 2009)
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May 20, 2010 Caris rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who wants his childhood to be ruined like his adulthood
Shelves: 2010
I fear that I gave Dave Eggers too much credit for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. In that book, he describes his life as the newly appointed guardian of his younger brother and their time spent in the Bay area. As it happened, I started that one just days after coming back from San Francisco. I fell in love with the city while I was there and was thrilled to have it intimately described to me while the high was still there.

That, and I’ve got a younger brother who I would be the guar
I know a lot of people didn't like this book, their arguments being that it was an unnecessary adaptation/elaboration on Sendak's masterpiece, and a little haphazard and irresolute . . . but I think it works. Actually, I think it's perfect for the tone Eggers is trying to set. The discomfort and awkwardness of his narrative reflects the growing pains of Max, and more than once I found myself tense with the same frustration, anger and despair that he experiences on his journey. I don't know what ...more
I like quite a bit of what Dave Eggers does but I have had a hard time with this story as an adult. Quite clearly, it has affected many of us adults as children and has lent itself space inside the compartments of our brains for many years. I was really excited about the film, especially considering it stars Catherine Keener and there was an Arcade Fire song prominently featured on one of the trailers/previews for it. Lol, I'm a sucker for good music used in films.

Anyhow, what I saw in the film
Anyone who loves Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, and senses the archetypal symbols and rich interplay of wildness and domesticity, the friction between Dionysian and Apollonian impulses, will marvel at this brilliant novel. What's brilliant isn't the storytelling--he just follows the satisfying, basic narrative arc of the children's book--what's brilliant is how he fleshes out the character of Max, how expertly he plumbs the pubescent psyche of Max.

I would say we, the reader, understand Max
Matt Guion
Genre: Fantasy, coming-of-age

Synopsis: Max is wild. Life is changing to quickly for him, his mother seems neglectful, his father is gone, and his sister doesn’t want to play anymore. One night, Max dons his wolf suit and wreaks havoc upon the house, shortly before running away and sailing out to the land where the wild things are. Max relates to these beasts, and soon enough, he is made their king, and he must find some way of controlling them, while also making them happy.

Review: This is a no
Jennifer (aka EM)
Sorry, Dave ... not one of your finer efforts. Please go back to fictionalized journalism like What is the What or Zeitoun, both of which are brilliant and among my favourite novels. I don't mind your autobiographical stuff (and this, I sense, is part of what this is) and I've not read the Sendak book upon which The Wild Things is based (I don't think - or maybe I have but it left no impression, clearly), so it's not that I have any particular allegiance to the original. And it's not even that t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Lawson
I was hesitant to pick up Where The Wild Things Are by Dave Eggers because I’m so in love with Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I was afraid that Eggers was going to ruin the beloved chidren’s book.

It was hard to think that any author – even Eggers – could capture that whimsy that accompanies the original picture book. Maybe Eggers could get the whimsy, but could he also get the message of how powerless youth are, and how liberating their fantasies can be?

In short, yes he could.

Megan Baxter
Skeptical, I was extremely skeptical. We already have a Where The Wild Things Are and I'm not sure it could possibly be improved upon. I did enjoy Spike Jonze's movie adaptation quite a lot, but this exists in book form. Why would you do a novelization when the picture book is so perfect?

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasb
Dit verhaal was waar ik op hoopte en meer. Max, oh Max wat beteken je veel voor me. Alle monsters hebben iets gigantisch. Het mooiste aan dit boek zijn de prachtige zinnen die me regelmatig weten te raken en die mooi genoeg zijn om te noteren. Where the wild things are kan ik me allang niet meer herinneren, maar ik krijg meteen zin het weer eens te lenen in de bieb.
Robert Day
Needed a book to listen to on the dark walk to and from work and chose this from the York Library collection because I remember it being a movie with an interesting poster, and because the idea of children and monsters interacting appeals to some crazy part of me.
It's a story of Max, an eight year old, who lives in a world of his own where everything around him is only there for him to enjoy and experience as an adventure. He's kinda selfish, and doesn't realise that he hurts his family, friends
Oct 15, 2009 Oriana marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
can't wait can't wait can't wait

fuck off, haters.
Jo Anne
I first read Where the Wild Things Are when I was 7 years old, and instantly fell in love with the bad little boy and the big, scary monsters. I was a bad little girl who loved scary things, and a book about monsters just spoke to me. It became my all time favorite book, and now, when a friend has a child, they receive a copy of the book.

So when I heard that the book was being turned into a movie, I was mad. Why? Just leave things alone, I thought. Of course, I hated the movie. Then the Dave Egg
Brandon Will
Dave Eggers knows just the right things to do to tap into the deepest wishes of our pop-culturally-conditioned hearts, placing emotion within the kinds of neat things we didn't even knew we desired to see developed.

For instance, movie novelizations have always been kind of a joke. They were more popular before home video came into the picture, but still lingered with some popularity for about a decade after. So many of us grew up reading them, and sometimes they'd be neat -- for instance, the "
Well, here's the thing. If you're in the camp that believes that the Original WWWTA should remain untouched, in its pristine, double-digit-word count form, then obviously you're going to be upset by the book (and the movie), because obviously, you can't make a movie or a novel out of that tiny work of perfection without adding *a lot*. So, knowing that, and knowing ahead of time that you're against the concept of the novel or movie even existing—why in the world would you want to read it or see ...more
I love the film. As I've told anyone who will listen, it's the best thing I've ever seen that reminded me of how wonderful and--more importantly--how terrible being a child is. The book makes that all the more apparent.

I get why some wouldn't like this, as it does stray from the film. But to me, that's what makes it unique. Like the film is a companion to the original picture book, this is a companion to those. It builds on somethings that the film had to gloss over, and it leaves some of the vi
Sendak's book always disturbed me. "We'll eat you up. We love you so." How do you explain that to a 3-year-old. But the book enthralled me too...Max, leading wild rumpuses...then coming home. It confused me, worried me.

All those mixed feelings are here in this book. Eggers, whom I love, co-wrote the screenplay and then re-adapted the movie for this novel. Haven't seen the film; probably won't.

This book disturbs, enthralls, confuses and worries me. But finally, it comforts me.

Children lead lively
There's nothing wrong with this book, it's actually quite cute and it's very readable. The problem isn't with Dave Eggers' writing, either, because he's a solid writer and there are moments in the book which are adorable. The problem I had with this adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are is that I'm not sure the source material needed an adaptation at all.

I have been excited to read this book since it was published, and it's been around for a while. The concept is happy-making and the cover art
If the movie didn't exist, this would be an exciting book. But given the movie, this book becomes entirely unnecessary. My hope in reading Eggers' novel, based on the script he wrote with Jonze for the film, was that it would have some additional insight into character motivations, backstories, etc., that would deepen my appreciation of the film.

Sadly, this didn't happen. The book doesn't delve any deeper than the film. The only noticeable difference (aside from some inconsequential plot and nam
I think I'd put this somewhere between three and four stars, actually. I really enjoyed this "novelization" of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" but in the end was left wanting more -- more explanation, more resolution, more something. Still, Eggers does a great job of showing why Max is such "wild thing" -- not that I've ever been a little boy, but this sure seems to capture the confusion, imagination, and immaturity that can fuel a boy's adventures (and troublemaking). The first par ...more
H R Koelling
All I could think about while reading this book was my own childhood. The author perfectly captures the feelings, confusion and wonder of being a small boy. I literally felt like the long-gone little boy that I used to be who was confused by the world but so happy and energetic to explore and engage it. I felt the fear the Max felt. I felt the loneliness that Max felt. I was enthralled and upset by how unfair and how wonderful the world can be.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but this makes me wan
There are times I love Dave Eggers and there are times he exasperates me. He threw me back and forth between an amazed joy and an exhausted boredom, sometimes in the same chapter.

There is a lot to admire in this book. Eggers flushes out Sendak's monumental children's book and also give depth to the movie that Spike Jonze made about the book (and Eggers co-wrote). The book allows for more depth to the inner anxieties of Max, but it also removes some of the magic by trying to detail too much.

Yesha Naik
Absolutely brilliant book. I can’t decide what I love more, the first part, where you get to know Max’s inner, real, true self, in a way that I never thought an adult writer could capture the true ongoing vivid inner life of a kid. It’s like Calvin, but in long prose form and a tad bit older…
Or the second part, where you get to be with Max as he meets and negotiates with the Wild Things, ends up their king, their savior, their destroyer, their brother, their prey, and their kin.
Or the last littl
Dave Eggars explores the everyday sadness brimming under surface of the surreal events of Maurice Sendak's classic picture book, Where The Wild Things Are. Lonely Max, iconic in his white wolf fur suit, runs rampant around his family home, lashing out at his sister and mother and his mother's new boyfriend, in a way that is at once bewildering and satisfying to him. The constraint of the suburban world, the failures of parents and the agonies of childhood are illuminated in excruciating yet beau ...more
Jihan Bok
I haven't read the children's book, so I can't compare. But looking at this work in and of itself, I wouldn't call it a children's story. Eggers has plumbed the depths of what it means to be a child - confusion at the meaningless route actions of adults, the brilliant, uncontrollable creativity that drives daily pastimes, the inclination to do things without thinking about consequences, and the scattered thought processes. And yet, once Max has run away to the distant land of the wild things, th ...more
Started at the height and finished at the tail end of my WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE fever. The movie was a bit deeper, a bit more depressing. Which makes this book a little more welcoming and realistic. As in the movie, the wild things are representations of human emotions and anxieties, however - they are more realistic and a little less hipster. Max's relationship with Katherine (KW in the movie) is easier to understand in the book - Katherine wants to be with him. Max is the only person she'll ...more
I liked the novel, but I can't help but feeling there still could be more. It is a nice addition for an adult who loved the Sendak children's book Where the Wild Things Are. I have not seen the movie, but after reading the acknowledgement it states that they are close with some changes made by Eggers in areas. All-in-all I would recommend the book to anyone who loved the picture book as a child and is not afraid of invoking nostaligia or losing a bit of the magic inspired by Sendak's work.
William Weaver
I don't think that this book really knew where it wanted to go or what it wanted to do. The beginning is strong in a way that's hard to mess up: a child is having trouble with a difficult situation that is way more adult than he is prepared to deal with, so he runs away from home. I think everyone alive has read Where The Wild Things Are, and I'm aware that this book is inspired by that one and based around the script the of the more recent movie version. What you wind up with, though, is less t ...more
The novel starts well: a child lives in a dysfunctional family, he's in a bit anarchic, but who would not be? Divorced parents, the new boyfriend of the mother and teenage sister. The kid is ignored and overlooked. Well, the child suddenly goes nuts, puts his wolf-suit on, bites his mother and flies. On the edge of the woods the kid hears the call: "Come with us, wolf-boy! Let us drink the blood of the earth and gargle it with great aplomb!"

From here on, the novel turns into a didactic tale, the
Kat Kovar
When I was a child I instantly fell in love with the children's book, Where The Wild Things Are so I had pretty high expectations set for this rendition. While I loved the plot of the story to death the book was nearly ruined with its weak descriptions. Actually, scratch that. The word "weak" doesn't even begin to describe how poorly written some parts of this book was. You would think for an author who doesn't even have to come up with his own characters or plot that he would be able to put a l ...more
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Dunedin Public Li...: The Wild Things 1 2 Jul 15, 2014 09:49AM  
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Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more
More about Dave Eggers...
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius What is the What Zeitoun The Circle You Shall Know Our Velocity!

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“Maybe he hadn't thought the war through. It had seemed like simple fun when he had first pictured it, with a glorious beginning, a difficult but valor-filled middle, and a victorious end. He hadn't accounted for the fact that there might not be much of a resolution to the battle, and he hadn't imagined what it would feel like when the war just sort of ended, without anyone admitting defeat and congratulating him for his bravery.” 7 likes
“One might think that a boy who was out in the snow for so long would get cold, but Max was not. He was warm, partly because he had on many layers, and partly because boys who are part wolf and part wind do not get cold.” 7 likes
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