Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me” as Want to Read:
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  18,713 ratings  ·  2,229 reviews
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 beca
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wild Game, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Megan She did get it appraised and answered this question in her interview on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast/bookgroup/author interview. Here's the link h…moreShe did get it appraised and answered this question in her interview on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast/bookgroup/author interview. Here's the link

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,713 ratings  ·  2,229 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
[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.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me is the story of Adrienne Brodeur’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, Malabar. The fateful night setting their relationship on its course occurs when Adrienne is just 14 — Her mother wakes her up from sleeping to inform Adrienne she’s just been kissed by Ben Souther, her husband’s best friend. Adrienne becomes an accomplice to this secret affair and while not wholly responsible, helps keep it alive for years to come, as she perpetually seeks her mothe ...more
I don’t remember much about the experience of reading this book beyond the fact that I had trouble putting it down.

I love memoirs. I sometimes struggle to read nonfiction because I love stories, but there’s a specific part of my love of stories that’s dedicated to those that are true. Autobiographies and memoirs, even of mundane or unknown lives, will never cease to intrigue me, because people and their existences are endlessly fascinating.

This was no exception.

This particular story is relativel
An emotional memoir that I had to keep reminding myself was not a work of fiction.

This was a quick, easy read because it was written in such a way that it almost felt like reading someone's diary. You know that feeling of uncovering someone's deepest, darkest secrets - you can't stop reading because you simply have to know how it all plays out? That's exactly how I felt reading Wild Game .

I found myself shaking my head in disbelief often or wanting to grab the adults in Adrienne's life and g
Gretchen Rubin
I LOVED this memoir, couldn't put it down! Elizabeth and I loved it so much that we chose it for the next Happier Podcast Book Club. Read along, join in, we're talking to Adrienne Brodeur in the new year. The subtitle says it all!
Sep 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I understand that the author had a narcissistic, catty, every-bad-female-stereotype-put-into-one-horrid-woman mother, and I sympathize with her.

However, other than the relationship between the author and her mother, this is a story about an extremely privileged woman (and her family)--who regularly summers in beach houses, cares so much about a piece of jewelry that it defines her relationship with her mother, and was just planning on her parents financially supporting her when she upended her l
Elyse  Walters
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Hollow experience
Susanne  Strong
3.5 Stars

Just imagine it: At the age of fourteen years old, Adrienne Brodeur is awoken in the middle of the night by her mother Malabar and is informed that her stepfather’s best friend, Ben Souther just kissed her mother. Malabar is excited and desperately wants advice from her fourteen year old daughter. And so it begins. Adrienne goes from being her mother’s daughter to her confidante and the one she relies on most. This goes on for the better part of a decade, while Malabar carries on an aff
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Soooooooooooooooooooooo apparently this is a thing . . . . .

Which of course I didn’t know about but somehow was well-prepared for anyway due to my lack of timely reviewing. Here’s a selection that I read on September 1st and never wrote imaged up.

Full disclosure: I was offered an advanced copy of Wild Game and took it as soon as I saw the comparison to . . . . .

I don't think I'll ever stop doubting why Average Joes feel thei
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Jessica Turner

I’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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adrienne is fourteen years old and asleep one summer night when her mother wakes her to say that she has been kissed by Ben Souther.

After that moment, Adrienne becomes her mother’s closest friend, ally, and enabler in this affair. Did I mention Ben Souther is Adrienne’s father’s best friend?

The affair continues for years, but not without its consequences for everyone involved, including Adrienne when she embarks on her own marriage.

Adrienne is brutally honest about her journey in the relationshi
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Jennifer Blankfein
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enthralling family story that asks the hard questions about parenting, infidelity and living an honest life. This memoir about a life altering secret kept me engrossed from beginning to end.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me is a story of a mother’s love, what not to do, and the long journey to recover from the damage done.

Rennie’s mom, Malabar, and her second husband Charles spent a lot of time with friends George and Lily up at the Cape. After Charles’s stroke, he wasn’t as active, but h
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was truly a page turner, and though I didn't actually like anyone in the book, I was truly absorbed by the story. Brodeur has a real talent for making nonfiction read like fiction and I couldn't put it down. I could see this being turned into a film, and I'd be curious to see that. Recommended!

Find more reviews and bookish fun at
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Wild Game” tells a story that could easily be mistaken for fiction. But it’s a much more powerful and remarkable story because it’s true. As a fourteen year old, the author is drawn into her mother’s affair as her confidante and enabler. The affair between her mother and her step-father’s best friend continues for years with Brodeur as a willing accomplice. This is not a salacious, bitter, or vengeful memoir but one told with grace and compassion. In an interview Brodeur said “My mother had a d ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh wow- you know that feeling where you finish a book and need to take a few days to process? That was WILD GAME. This memoir takes place on Cape Cod and begins when the author, then age 14, is woken by her mother who tells her that a man who she was not married to kissed her. The man is Ben Souther, a married man and her husbands lifelong friend. The author gets sucked into being an accomplice in her mother’s affair- and the entanglement leads to a lifetime of consequences.

I really, really like
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Memoir 11 for Nonfiction November and this is a captivating read! I had to keep reminding myself it was a true story, about the author's mother who embarks on an affair with her husband's best friend but drags her daughter into it. It's also about mothers and daughters, waspy Cape Cod culture, and finding your own path. If you go to the beach anytime soon, this is the book to take with you!

I received a copy from the publisher and the book came out October 15, 2019.
Brandon Forsyth
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ellen ✦ Book Bellas ✦
“Don’t ever forget that you and I are two halves of one whole.”

This story is beautiful and tragic and hopeful and all the things! I applaud the author for writing her story with such tenderness and grace. What could have been a salacious and angry retelling instead is a remarkably compelling and satisfying tale.

The author grew up in Boston and Cape Cod, the daughter of a brilliant and talented mother who was a well-known cook. Her cooking and food play a central role in this book, as the aut
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all yay me for finishing my first non-fiction of #nonfictionnovember

I was thoroughly engaged in this emotional and poignant memoir! I listen to it on audio and it was simply brilliant! And there is a bonus interview with the author at the end that was just the icing on the cake!

More detailed review to come, but I strongly encourage you to pick this one up!
Holly Noel
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
The writing is very good and the author does a nice job telling her version of the story.
Overall I felt it was a lot of first world problems of some very sad, selfish, BORED & extremely privileged east coasters. The only people I felt any sympathy for were the two spouses who were betrayed for decades by people claiming to be their friends.
Peter Rock
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sonja Arlow
I was friends with a woman who, many years ago, used her 7-year-old son to help facilitate her illicit affair with her neighbour. Things came to a head when her little boy let slip to his father that he is always late for school because mommy is busy kissing the neighbour.

Thankfully, I extracted myself from that toxic friendship as she also had a hugely disruptive effect on my life. But if you read this memoir and there is any doubt that a mother would use her child to further her own despicable
Kasa Cotugno
Although Adrienne Brodeur had a unique experience as confidant for Malabar, her mother, during Malabar's years' long affair, I found I was curiously unengaged. Yes, using a 14-year-old as a go-between and excuse sets up a toxic situation particularly when the other party happens to be your husband's best friend. Despite the reverberations that followed Brodeur throughout her life, at the end I found I simply didn't care.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"'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. 42

Would 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
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
Dec 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF'd at 26%. Honestly, not only was I bored to tears, but this has got some of the most overwritten, purple-tinged passages I've ever read. It felt like reading a Harlequin romance written by a 14 year old.
“Deception takes commitment, vigilance, and a very good memory. To keep the truth buried, you must tend to it. For years and years, my job was to pile on sand - fistfuls, shovelfuls, bucketfuls, whatever the moment necessitated - in an effort to keep my mother's secret buried.”

3.5 stars. Wild Game is a well-written, very accessible memoir of the damage a mother can do to her daughter. I read this book in one sitting and thought the author did a brilliant job in presenting a balanced narrative of
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of 2020 so far!!

Y'all need to pick this one up.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars

This book left me feeling kind of sad once I finished it and throughout.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"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."

"It's like that moment in the Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black-and-white to color."

"Let everything happen to you/ Beauty and terror/ Just keep going/ No feeling is final"

"It's said that if we do not lea
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Huntsville-Madiso...: Hoopla Pick - August 19 - Wild Game 1 6 Aug 19, 2020 09:27AM  
Happier Podcast B...: Fourth Book Choice: Wild Game 10 177 Feb 05, 2020 12:03PM  
Play Book Tag: Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur - 5 stars 1 15 Jan 19, 2020 03:18PM  
Bookish First Rea...: Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur 1 13 Oct 22, 2019 01:27PM  
Book of The Month: Wild Game 1 20 Aug 31, 2019 10:48AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please combine editions of this book (I think) 3 18 Jun 01, 2019 06:30AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dear Edward
  • Such a Fun Age
  • Nothing to See Here
  • The Vanishing Half
  • Writers & Lovers
  • Long Bright River
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • The Dutch House
  • All Adults Here
  • A Good Neighborhood
  • Valentine
  • A Good Marriage
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  • American Dirt
  • Know My Name
  • Untamed
  • Big Summer
  • Open Book
See similar books…
Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the bestselling memoir, “Wild Game,” which is in development for film. During her 15 years in the publishing industry, she founded the literary magazine “Zoetrope: All-Story” with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, was an acquiring editor at Harcourt and HMH Books, and served as a judge for the National Book Award. Her essays have appeared in Glamour, O Magazine, The ...more

News & Interviews

Bryan Washington, the acclaimed author of 2019’s short story collection Lot, has returned with his debut novel, Memorial. The story follows...
12 likes · 0 comments
“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.” 18 likes
“As any magician knows, it is not the smoke and mirrors that trick people; it is that the human mind makes assumptions and misunderstands them as truths.” 9 likes
More quotes…