Y'know, one of the best things about being in a book group . . . is reading a few books you'd never in a million years read on your own! Book group selections can certainly challenge our reading habits in whole new ways -- and I know our current Read With Us selection did that for many of us.
Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur was not a book I'd ever have read . . . left to my own devices. I actually enjoy memoirs, and tend to read a few every year. This one, though? I'm gonna admit that it didn't appeal to me at first. Then, I heard the author speak with Gretchen and Liz on the Happier podcast (it was their book club selection last fall), and I was a little more interested. There was more to the story than the book blurb seemed to suggest.
It's . . . uncomfortable reading, subject matter wise. A mother coerces her young teenage daughter to "help" her hide an affair with her stepfather's best friend? Really? So . . . juicy, for sure. But also not something I could relate to (thankfully). I mean . . . my family, one of very modest income living a very modest life and eating casseroles thrown together for dinner with no cocktail hour ever, was about as far-removed from Adrienne Brodeur's complicated life and even more complicated family than I could imagine!
So I read the book like it was fiction. Because it seemed like fiction to me.
But, if I'm really honest about it, there were some very relatable things in this book for me. Not relatable in a lifestyle or family-structure or situational kind of way. But there is something very universal about wanting your parents' attention and affection, about separating from your parents as you grow into adulthood, about letting your children go their own way, about secrets. And I think, in that way, there was more to this book than its rather juicy foundation would imply.
I'm looking forward to delving into this one with you next week.
Join Bonny, Carole, and I next Tuesday to talk about the book together. Each of us will pose a question for discussion on our blogs. We look forward to hearing what you have to say! (As usual, there will be a booklovers prize at the end, so be sure to join the conversation.)
In the meantime, this book is a quick read -- so even if you haven't read it yet, there is still time. Yes, the subject matter will be a turn off to many. Just do what I did and pretend it's fiction! (Because most of us read fiction with this kind of storyline all the time now . . . don't we?) The writing is very good, and the story flows quickly from the more uncomfortable child/mother relationship to The Aftermath and the author's struggle to find her self as she grows up.
If you want to delve into the book a bit more - either as reminder for yourself or just because you're interested in the author - here are a few links to check out:
An interview with the author on NPR. (You can read the transcript OR listen to the interview using this link.)
A summary of the discussion from the Happier podcast. (You can link in to the actual podcast episode from this link, too, if you want to listen.) Note: If you scroll down in the link, there is a photograph of The Necklace so talked about in the book. If you've read the book, I'm sure you'll be curious to see what that dang necklace actually looked like -- so this is worth the scroll down to see.
A link to the author's guest appearance on Dani Shapiro's podcast Family Secrets. (I listened to this podcast last night, and it is quite interesting.)
I'm looking forward to discussing this book with you next week.