Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur
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.
October 15th, 2019
(You can find my referral link to Wild Game HERE)
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 generation and Brodeur truly shows how hard dysfunction can be to break. The writing detailing how she confronted her past is raw and full of emotions and whether you can relate to this story or not, this is not a book to be missed.
Brodeur shares vividly, the complexities of their mother/daughter relationship, and how it has affected her from her childhood to now during middle-age. Whether it is in romantic relationships or the relationships she has with her own children, it heavily impacts her to this day.
Brodeur reflects so honestly about how challenging it was as she began to distance herself from Malabar as an adult. While she knew her relationship wasn’t “normal” or healthy, it was hard not to fall back into the paths which had been ingrained in her family for so long.
While this book wasn’t easy to read at times, I appreciated that it wasn’t black or white and Brodeur is able to look at this deeply conflicted relationship with humanity and empathy. I stopped and reread sections of the book because the reflections on the journey of finding herself while batting the undercurrent of her family dynamics were so insightful.
I also appreciated that she recounted the impact the other people in her life had had on her and her ability to move forward. Brodeur’s ability to share such introspection and poignant details amidst the difficulties she endured made this book what it was and it won’t be one I will ever forget.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.