Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Read With Us: Wild Game

Last week Kym presented our first promotional post for this quarter's Read With Us book — Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur. This week it's my turn to give you a little bit more information. I'm going to start with Mary Oliver's poem, "The Uses of Sorrow", that the author used as an epigraph. 

The Uses of Sorrow 
Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Plain and just a few lines, but it speaks volumes and I think it sets the tone quite well for this book.

Adrienne Brodeur and her mother, Malabar, in the 1980s

I don't read memoirs very often, and I was initially a little skeptical about this one. Adrienne's mother, Malabar, sounded like she was nothing like my own mother, and I wasn't sure I would understand the events in the book or that the circumstances would resonate with me. I would like to think that most readers would find the events unimaginable, but with Brodeur's writing ability, I was able to see the unhappiness in her mother's life and how this shaped her behavior and interactions with her daughter. Don't get me wrong, this is Dysfunction with a capital D, but I found it to be both an interesting page-turner, and a story about growth and maturity (even if the maturation was several decades late). 

One night, when Brodeur is 14 years old, her mother, Malabar, wakes her up to tell her that a married family friend, Ben, had kissed her. Malabar is also married, but that doesn't stop her and Ben from carrying on an affair and using Adrienne as a confidante and secret-keeper for years. It only gets more and more complicated, while Adrienne seems to be the only one bothered by the deception. It would be easy to dismiss Wild Game as a shocking family drama. But Brodeur weaves together the story of her childhood, the burdens of secret-keeping, and her mother’s traumatic life in a way that we learn from her compassion for her mother and knowing that she did not want to mother her own children as she had been mothered.

“For all of us people in the world who do have difficult childhoods or hold some secret, I hope the book demonstrates that, by facing them, we can all get out from under them.”

Carole will be sharing a third promotional post next Tuesday, July 20th, and we'll be discussing the book on all three blogs (with different questions and different discussions) on Tuesday, August 11. 

I hope you'll come along and  Read With Us!


  1. Excellent promo of this book, Bonny! I saw quite a bit of my relationship with my mother reflected here and while that was painful for me it was also helpful and made me feel less like an outlier.

  2. I suspect many people, judging from the comments I've read on Goodreads, think that they will have nothing to relate to in this memoir because Brodeur had such a privileged life. Certainly I didn't feel like I had much in common with her at the beginning. But at the core of this book is a study of the relationship between a mother and a child, which is much more relatable for most people, and I think even those of us who have good relationships with our mothers have had moments of drama.

  3. I found the book at my library but the hold list is pretty long. Your post has piqued my interest

  4. My in-person book club jumped on this book, too. We were supposed to be discussing at a physically distant outdoor meet-up tomorrow evening, but it looks like rain...

  5. Great promo Bonny! I'm definitely looking forward to the various discussions.

  6. Good promo! I read it from OverDrive over the July 4th weekend.

    1. I hope you'll join in and offer your thoughts during the discussions in August!

  7. Y'all are doing a great job promoting this book! Love all the enthusiasm and positive feedback!

  8. Wow. Sounds like a horrible situation if it was true. Not sure I could read it. I'm a book wimp. I think I saw too much sadness and death in my profession. Marriages often failed when the family had a very sick child. Some people, though, really enjoy drama in family situations that become amazing Novels. The Thornbirds, Roots, etc

  9. What a curious disaster of a book (I tried, but this one is just not for me)

  10. I went into this one . . . a bit skeptical. (I'll admit it!) But now that I'm almost finished, I've found myself examining my own relationship with my mother . . . and my daughter. Interesting. Fascinating. Just what a memoir should do. And especially in the summer!!!!


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