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The Wild Things

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  8,038 ratings  ·  862 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.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by McSweeney's (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  8,038 ratings  ·  862 reviews

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Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Baxter
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement.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
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Animals howl, he had been told, to declare their existence.
-- Dave Eggers, The Wild Things

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
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Thomas Edmund
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to start with a wee confession, this book made me realize I have an adaption problem. It's not that I can't handle adaptions in fact I quite enjoy them. It's just that I need to have a good handle on what the adaption is.

When I looked at The Wild Things I saw a tonne of references to the screenplay, and of course the original child's book and I started to get bamboozled by what this book was actually based on. Fortunately the afterword clarified that the book is essentially a novelization
Ana  Lelis
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Yes, I hate Sendak's book. Neither I hate nor I love this one though. I still don't like the message behind it and I think the book is dull. Despite not liking this book, I appreciate Eggers effort and I think (I'm probably the only person on Goodreads who thinks that) this book is better than the original one.
Brandon Will
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Constanze Zietz
I did not enjoy this book als I had expected. I know that the story is based on a childrens book which I will have to read to compare the two (at least now I have an idea my cousins next birthday Gift) but for me it was lacking a real plot and some exitement. The basic story sure is great but it didnt grab me and was, at least for me, sometimes even boring.
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mike Lawson
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.

Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Oct 15, 2009 marked it as to-read
can't wait can't wait can't wait

fuck off, haters.
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
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This is some kind of version and an elaboration on the best children’s book in the world, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It adapts the story to present day and to a young adult audience.

I didn’t really expect much from this book, but it turned out to be pretty good. It depicts the inner world and turmoil of a wild boy with surprising accuracy. There are times when Max wonders about his own behavior and reactions, and why things turned out the way they did, and he doesn’t really
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madeline O'Rourke
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I loved The Wild Things. I had expected to like it, to find it maybe average or even good, but it is fantastic. This version of Max is perhaps the best depiction of a child I've come across in recent memory. His thoughts, feelings, decisions, rationalisations, all felt real, all felt like those of an actual child, and certainly reminded me of myself as a child.

The story itself is wonderful. To me, it captures much of the same magic as Where the Wild Things Are. And like its source material, The
Mar 09, 2017 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
DNF at pg. 125.

Cool thing about this book: stroking the furry spine as if it were The Monster Book of Monsters from HP.

Uncool thing about this book: it is surprisingly boring.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-classics
O.W.L.S Readathon 2019 | Career: Journalist or Writer | History of Magic: read a book published at least 10 years ago

Honestly, I had zero expectations about this book. I had never heard about the picture book that it was based on and it was gifted to me by my aunt (who btw always gives me great books).

So long story short, I started to read it and first thing that I noticed was that I loved the writing style, it was so beautiful and poetic without being pretentious; and the second things was that
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Audiobook. Great narrator.

Throughout the story I was going to give it 3 stars, but the end made me tear up.

Yep. Seems like a 4 star read to me for evoking such emotion.

Split the difference.
Robert Day
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jo Anne
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie (R-A)
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is so freaking adorable. Everything is from Max's perspective and feels 100% genuine for an 8 year old boy who doesn't understand why his world is coming apart. Max's parents are divorced and his mother is seeing someone else and he feels like the entire world is against him.

So, he runs away and finds an island in the middle of the sea filled with huge terrible looking monsters who are just as lost as he is. The monsters kind of stand in for different people in his life in the real
Dylan Weaver
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Nov 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
H R Koelling
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jack Bates
I haven't seen the film but I've read Where the Wild Things Are, of course. Eggers worked on the screenplay with Spike Jonze and this is the book of the film of the book, if you like, which I hadn't quite grasped when I picked it up.

So yeah it's pretty good, Eggers writes kids really well and Max's confused anger and general rumpus (his parents split, his sister's 'too old' to play with him) are excellently done. If you've ever done something naughty and wondered what you were thinking you'll
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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
“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.” 10 likes
“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
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