Wild Game

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

I was given an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I don't generally read memoirs. They really aren't my thing, and I tend to prefer the world of fiction to real life. When I saw the title of this book though, I couldn't help myself. It sounded like an episode of Jerry Springer, and I was curious. It took me a while to get to it, and the book has already been published, but here we go. While reading this I was reminded of "The Glass Castle" in a way because both are memoirs about awful parents. 

First of all, Malabar is TOXIC as hell. She decides to cheat on her ailing husband with his best friend and uses her 14 year old daughter as an accomplice and an alibi. Adrienne, or Rennie as people call her, mentions that she grew up without a moral compass, because what was right was whatever pleased her mom at the time. That's an important thing to remember, because it's something that follows Rennie throughout her mom's twenty year affair. Even as an adult, Adrienne's life is all about her mother. She marries the son of her mom's lover (ICK) and is put in a compromising position when he finds out that not only have their parents been sleeping together for years, but she knew about it and never said anything to anyone. Her mom essentially gaslights her throughout her life in order to get her to do whatever she wants, and it isn't until years of therapy later that Rennie starts to see their relationship for what it was. 

At the end of the book, Rennie faces her fears of being like her mother when she has her first daughter. Having a toxic parent myself, I could almost put myself in her shoes, which made it bittersweet for me to read about. I remember having that same feeling while holding my daughter, wondering how anyone could do the things that were done to me and call themselves a parent, knowing that as scared as I was to make the same mistakes, somehow, it was all going to be okay. 

I would definitely recommend this for anyone who wants to read a wildly complicated mother daughter memoir.
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Members of my book club who have read this book can't stop talking about it! It's been passed around the club & was highly sought after & stolen multiple times during our Holiday Party Dirty Santa Book Exchange. Who knew a codependent mother daughter relationship would resonate with so many women? ;-)
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Wild Game is my first 5 star memoir of 2019 and I flew through it in two days! It’s an incredible, yet sad and disturbing story. Malabar (“Rennie’s” mother) is a vibrant, but highly manipulative character and she has her tentacles wrapped tightly around her daughter…and all this impacts Rennie’s adult life. But, this isn’t what makes this memoir shine. Brodeur can write…and the Cape Cod setting comes alive through vivid descriptions of the water, the wildlife, and the food. Malabar is a cookbook author and food writer and food plays an integral role in this story. The book world is full of mother / daughter stories, but this one is unique and Brodeur shows a high level of self-examination in her adult life as she looks back on her childhood, even as she has trouble taking the necessary steps to extricate herself from its damage. Put this one on your reading list for Nonfiction November!
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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me is the story of Adrienne Brodeur’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, Malabar. At just 14, Adrienne’s relationship with her mother changes one fateful night when 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 helps keep it alive for years to come, as she perpetually seeks her mother’s love, affection, and approval. review: When I heard about this book earlier in the year I was immediately intrigued. I’m not one to read a lot of memoirs, but this one read almost like fiction and I flew through it. The writing is compelling and the family dynamics were like a train wreck you couldn’t stop watching. As I read I was equal parts shocked at Malabar’s behavior and appalled that Adrienne could be an accomplice to her mother’s inappropriate behavior. Brodeur also discussed the repercussions for the affair that she was coerced into covering up and how the lies affected her own relationships and emotional wellbeing as an adult, which I enjoyed hearing about. rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
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I'm really sorry I didn't read this earlier because, what.a.ride! Oh wow! Once I got into it, I could not put it down. This book is a gorgeously-written memoir that brings many issues forward for deep consideration. 

It is the story of Adrienne (Rennie)'s relationship with her mother, Malabar. One summer when Rennie was 14, her mother confided in her about the beginnings of an affair with her husband's best friend. From that day forward, they became confidantes and co-conspirators, two halves of one whole. Their wild game took a long, dangerous path, and for Rennie, the consequences would reach farther than she could ever imagine.

Even though Malabar's parenting decisions were questionable, I find it hard to despise her. Like Jack said in the book, it's not acceptable, but it's understandable.  I understand her humanity, and not even because of what she supposedly went through as a child. Which of us is without flaws? Which of us really know how best to live life and gets it right all the time? We're all just winging it.

It's easy to put people into "black and white" and "bad and good," boxes,  but we are so much more complex than that. We have so many sides to us, so many things that make up our stories and who we are. It's true that ultimately, we decide who we want to be, but the courage to chart a new course and stay with it does not come easy.

I must say that Adrienne's storytelling is superb; she wrote Malabar with so much compassion. Her love humanized Malabar. At first I wondered why she referred to her as 'Malabar' instead of 'Mother,'  but I soon realised that Malabar loomed so large that it is the only way you can really think of or describe her. In that one word: Malabar.

The book gets a little hard to read at some points, but I can already tell it's a story I will return to: for quotes, for perspective, for understanding.
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We included in our book coverage online and in print across 11 Southern California outlets. It was positive coverage.
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This was one of the best, yet craziest, books I've read all year. I cannot even imagine having a mother like Malabar. I didn't think it could get any crazier but I was constantly surprised. highly recommend to anyone that loves a good memoir, and even those that don't.
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In Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir, Wild Game fact once again proves to be infinitely stranger than fiction. Adrienne is 14 when her mother confides in her that her husband’s best friend has kissed her. And she liked it and wants Adrienne to help facilitate a full-blown affair. This all takes place at the families’ summer homes on Cape Cod. A beautiful home and lifestyle paid for by Adrienne’s wealthy older stepfather. A man her mother pursued hard despite a fifteen-year age difference, who has suffered strokes and is not as active as he once was. As Brodeur details in the memoir’s pages fidelity is not her mother’s strong suit.

This situation continues into Adrienne’s twenties with her lying to virtually everyone around her, including the other man’s wife and children. She buys into her mother’s rationalizations that keeping the affair secret is a kindness to their older, frail, spouses. At some point, she becomes an adult but is still not able to break away from her mother. Who, let’s be clear, falls somewhere on the spectrum between mega-narcissist and textbook sociopath. She is a wretched human being in a pretty package with no thought for anyone in the world but herself. Her emotional abuse of Adrienne goes far beyond just getting her to collude in her lies.

All of this left me torn between sympathy for Adrienne as a teen and judgment as an adult. I’m still not sure how I feel, especially as Adrienne grapples with her own fallout from her twisted relationship with her mother. Read Wild Game only if you’re in the mood for Mommie Dearest mothering and sordid human behavior.
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This story is unremarkable. It details one young girl’s complicity in her mother’s infidelity, the mother using the daughter for support and deceit and help. Truly recommend.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this book.
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I was expecting something much more juicy, at least that was the impression I got from the publisher's blurb.  Instead what I got was a mostly boring story about a wealthy family and a women who never got over her mother issues. 
I want my memoirs to be more about enlightenment, living through hell or overcoming something, having a narcissistic mother does not a story make.
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“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 difficult life. She was an enormous narcissist, but she was charismatic, loving, and fun, and I was deeply attached to her.”  Brodeur is an exquisite and insightful writer and the courage she demonstrates by telling her story is awe-inspiring. Highly recommended.

My review was posted on Goodreads on 11/19/19.
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This was a rare DNF (did not finish) for me. I saw numerous comparisons to The Glass Castle  and I have no problems reading a dark memoir. Ultimately this was a story that I did not want to spend time in, probably due more to the disturbing behavior of the mother than any lack of skill on the author.
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I found Wild a Game by Adrienne Brodeur to be a disturbing read, but the kind of book that you don’t want to put down.  The mother treated her daughter as a confidante for her affair with a family friend, talked to her like a girlfriend, and wanted her to be happy for her, in spite of the fact that she was married to her father.  I can see how this might happen if a mother treated her daughter as a friend.   A strange, but intriguing I guess book, especially since it was based on truth.
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What a provocative, engrossing memoir! This story draws you in and never let’s go. I was compelled to read it as it was being compared to The Glass Castle and Educated—two of my favorite books—because of the dysfunctional-family parallels. The writing was beautiful, lyrical even. So honest and unflinching, the writer shares her personal thoughts and experiences being under the influence of her selfish mother. This would make the perfect book club pick—so many discussion opportunities and recipe/food sharing!
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I absolutely adore this book which, in hindsight, feels like an interesting way to describe this book. Ready for a compelling but concerning mother-daughter relationship? Look NO further than this read. Adrienne is fourteen when she is first caught up in her mother's affair with her husband's best friend. As one of her mother's sole confidantes Adrienne is relied upon to facilitate secret moments that the two can meet and "harmlessly" carry out their decades long affair. 

Adrienne Brodeur is a captivating writing who pulls you into the story immediately. It's like witnessing a car accident happen in front you. You know this can't end well, but you also can't stop reading. Enter a world where your sense of right and wrong are easily distorted and nuance runs rampart. You won't regret it. I promise.
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Family dysfunction! Who doesn’t have a skeleton or two in their family closet??? Adrienne Brodeurwrites about her family dysfunction, which left a significant emotional scar on her as she grew up. At the age of 14, Adrienne is woken up in the middle of the night by her mother Malabar, who excitedly confesses that “Ben” has just kissed her. Ben is Malabar’s husband’s best friend and is also married. Malabar chooses her young daughter as a confident to her illicit affair and manipulates her so that she becomes a complicit part of the betrayal, acting as the distraction and orchestrator so that the other spouses don’t find out. 

I felt for Adrienne in many ways while reading her memoire. It is yet another fascinating glimpse into self-absorbed mothers who put their needs first over their kids’ needs. I was impressed that the author bared her soul for all to see, as it’s not an easy thing to do. Especially when writing about cheating and betrayal. The author also does a nice job in balancing out her mother’s despicable behaviour with a layer of understanding as to why her mother is the way she is. Inter-generational emotional abuse, tragedy and neglect are all touched on. 

This was a compelling and, at times, shocking story about one woman’s experience of being emotionally abused by her mother. The writing was relatable and the story itself flowed well. I had a hard time putting this one down.

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book made me deeply uncomfortable in the way the best memoirs do.  I tore through it because I couldn't wait to see what happened next.  A study of a deeply unhealthy, quasi-emotionally abusive relationship between a mother and a daughter, it is by turns gossipy and deeply emotional--a combination that really works for me.  I will put this one in the hands of people who want more like Westover's Educated or Mulgrew's Born With Teeth.
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This book reads like it is fiction, and it is crazy to think that it is a true story.  I enjoyed this memoir because it doesn't get hung up on unimportant details or isn't a stream of conscience read like other biographies/memoirs I have read.  I really enjoyed this book and I am so glad that Adrienne was able to reflect on Malabar's needs and although she was still pulled into secrets that inevitably hurt others, I couldn't put this book down!  Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing and the author for the opportunity to read this fabulous book!
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A tricky one this as my over-riding and lasting impression is that there is so little to like about the central triumvirate in this, Adrienne Brodeur's,  autobiographical account of her enabling the lengthy affair of her mother and her father's best friend. Difficult because, by laying her tale on the page, Brodeur knowingly opens herself to this judgement and, despite the evident failure of her mother to well...mother, Brodeur's continuing inclination (right into adulthood) to be drawn into the noise and drama places her alongside Malabar and Ben in their callous self-absorption.
     I do not question that, in 1980, she is unwittingly embroiled, at first enticed (aged 14) by her desire to bask in the warmth of her mother's brief sharing of the spotlight; "When my mother aimed her light at you, let it shine on you and allowed you to feel that you held her interest and amused her, it was nearly impossible to look away." Nor that the aftermath of her actions have haunted and been far-reaching, "I lost the ability to connect with Charles  the day the first lie fell from my lips. Over time I began to lose it with myself too." 
     However, that does not explain the narcissistic skin-scraping to excuse her participation. Whilst I appreciate the observation that; "Once I chose to follow my mother, there was no turning back, I became her protector and sentinel, always on the lookout for what might give her away.", I cannot ignore that ultimately, in her dedication, she holds her mother above everything; "Malabar Brewster, my first and most abiding love."
     To be clear, my mother also had a relationship with a married man in my formative years and I too remember being caught in the drama and romance at the time. A parent now myself, I honestly cannot imagine what she was thinking.
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he premise of "Wild Game" sounds unbelievable - a mother enlists her teenaged daughter's help in conducting an affair with her husband's best friend - and while it may be the kind of story that inspires Lifetime movies, Brodeur's memoir unflinching dissects her own relationship with her mother and their unusual family dynamic in a manner that you will not be able to get enough of.

The author has a beautiful way with words and her descriptions of Cape Cod, meals her mother made and moments in her life are so vivid that you can see yourself there. Her all-encompassing love for her mother comes through in every page and it's this devotion that has enduring repercussions for both of them as well as the rest of their family and close friends.  I would highly recommend this for book clubs!
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