“Exquisite and harrowing.” —New York Times Book Review
“This electrifying, gorgeously written memoir will hold you captive until the last word.” —People
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2019 BY NPR * BuzzFeed * Slate * Chicago Public Library * Real Simple * Library Journal * Washington Post * Amazon * CBC
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 became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.
Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
How do you deal with life when you’re shielding a secret that could shatter your family? Adrienne Brodeur’s heady and harrowing memoir explores what happens after her mother, Malabar, confesses the details of her decades-long affair with a family friend to her 14-year-old daughter. Although Wild Game contains plenty of pain and anguish, Brodeur’s experience isn’t all bad. Malabar is an intoxicating presence and life with her is full of romance and good food. But Brodeur’s descriptions of the tension between mother and daughter cut to the bone, making this a heartbreaking pageturner.
This page-turning memoir about an especially fraught mother-daughter relationship from novelist Brodeur (Man Camp) reads like heady beach fiction. At age 14, Brodeur became enmeshed in her mother Malabar's affair with Ben a married lifelong friend of Brodeur's stepfather Charles covering for them even after Charles's death. At 21, Brodeur cheated on a boyfriend with Ben's son Jack: "like our parents before us, we spoke in a language rich in innuendo." She later became engaged to Jack, who knew nothing of their parents' affair, and kept quiet about it until Ben confessed to his family and ended the relationship with Malabar. Brodeur and Jack's wedding became "Malabar's battleground. She would be radiant... and show Ben what he was missing"; to that end, Malabar brought out a family heirloom promised to Brodeur on her wedding day a necklace of allegedly priceless gems and wore it herself. Wealth and social prominence abound against a summertime Cape Cod backdrop: Malabar was a Boston Globe food columnist, Charles founded the Plimoth Plantation living history museum, and Ben was a proud Mayflower descendant. Nine months after Ben's wife's died, Ben and Malabar married, and Malabar quickly cut off Brodeur, whose own marriage was crumbling: "Now that Malabar finally had Ben... she no longer needed me." This layered narrative of deceit, denial, and disillusionment is a surefire bestseller.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Unbelievably powerful, raw and real. I wish I could thank the author for sharing her story with us in such a poised, direct way. Incredibly written. I devoured every word.
Hard to put this book down once you start. The memoir is very well written, the story real and powerful. Highly recommend it.