Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me (MP3 CD)
What does it mean to have your mother's trust? What would you do to earn it? To earn her love? In Adrienne Brodeur's case, it means embracing the role of accomplice in her charismatic mother's love affair. It means lying to her beloved step-father and betraying a cherished family friend. When Adrienne is fourteen, her mother, talented, flamboyant, Malabar, sneaks into her bedroom late at night and, as if they are girlfriends, rather than mother and daughter, announces that she is in love with her husband's best friend, Ben. She needs Adrienne's help. The atmosphere in their chic, very WASPy, Cape Cod home, where much revolves around cooking and cocktails, is steeped in booze, wealth, deception, guilt, and risk, and steams with sensuality, as the affair carries on for years. As Adrienne grows up, she realizes the extent of the manipulation she has endured and the effects it has had on her own life. Her writing is stunning; she tells the story with such grace, nuance, and empathy that wrong and right really do battle. Her fight for forgiveness, both for her mother and for herself is hard-won. Readers of Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle will love this book. Really, any mother's daughter should read it.— Keelin
November 2019 Indie Next List
“This extraordinary memoir is destined to become a classic in the genre. Brodeur is a gifted storyteller with a doozy of a story to tell, as she is 14 years old when her mother makes her complicit in the decade-long affair between her mother and her stepfather’s best friend. Everything about this book is rich—the setting on Cape Cod and the strong sense of place; the unforgettable character of Brodeur’s mother, the incomparable Malabar; cinematic moments that stop the reader in their tracks; and layer upon layer of provocative themes around mother-daughter relationships, family secrets, and identity. I can’t stop thinking about this book.”
— Allison Hill, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
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 14, 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.