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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  154 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
Expected publication: October 15th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  598 ratings  ·  154 reviews

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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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Jennifer Haupt
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
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 ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ampersand, nonfiction, arc
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
Katherine Riley
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kristen Bieler
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Ampersand Inc.
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
Emily Miller
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Tom Bernard
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lindsay Cole
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I’m going to need a few days to process this before I write my review but wow wow WOW this was incredible.
Genevieve Trono
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica N. Turner
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. A must-read for fans of Educated and The Glass Castle.
Donna K
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Erica Bauermeister
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Katie Devine
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"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
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica Hughes
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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,
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Heather Button
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Angela Hartman
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The prologue will suck you in and you will read until you are on the last sentence. Adrienne Brodeur tells the true story of her life beginning at the age of 14 when her mother confides in her about a kiss between her mother and a close family friend. That first secret between mother and daughter leads to decades of deception. You will have to remind yourself that this is not fiction. So much of it seems like it must be fiction. How could a mother do this to her daughter? And keep doing it? The ...more
Camille Larkins
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
With chilling composure, Brodeur catapults the reader through her extraordinary family relationships and their deeply rooted consequences. A well-crafted story of generational trauma, daughterhood, and uncovering the self. Images of fishing, hunting and foraging are intertwined with rich, sensuous descriptions of meals, smoothly carrying both the affair and the story toward its dramatic culmination.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir and an excellent book. Adrienne Brodeur (Rennie) can write, it is just too bad the story I was reading happened to be true. Parents are not meant to act solely as their children's friend. As Rennie's life unfolds it shows just how badly a child can be damaged by a narcissistic parent. Rennie's mother (Malabar) is a self absorbed woman who had a selfish mother and father herself and whshe uses her own daughter as an accomplice to start an adulterous affair with her husb ...more
Leslie Monteath
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This author writes an incredibly moving story of a complicated relationship with her enigmatic mother, she as a guileless daughter, in love with her mother; and her mother’s manipulation of her daughter’s unconditional love and trust.

The love between mother and daughter is so real.

What her mother did with that love is so hard to read.

Beautiful writing. Clear, crystal with emotional honesty. A brave piece of writing. Read this !!! Amazing.
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Book of The Month: Wild Game 1 11 Aug 31, 2019 10:48AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please combine editions of this book (I think) 3 15 Jun 01, 2019 06:30AM  
Adrienne Brodeur began her career in publishing as the cofounder, with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, of the National Magazine Award–winning Zoetrope: All-Story. She has worked as a book editor and is currently the executive director of Aspen Words.