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Wild Game
Cover of Wild Game
Wild Game
My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

"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 FALL BOOK BY People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR's On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful
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.

"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 FALL BOOK BY People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR's On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful
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.

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About the Author-
  • ADRIENNE BRODEUR began her career in publishing as the cofounder, with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, of the National Magazine Award–winning Zoetrope: All-Story. She has worked as a book editor and is currently the executive director of Aspen Words.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 6, 2019
    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.

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2019

    Executive director of the Aspen Institute's Aspen Words and cofounder with Francis Ford Coppola of the magazine Zoetrope: All Story, Brodeur has her own story to unfold. Told at age 14 by her mother, "Ben Souther just kissed me," Brodeur became an enthusiastic, then burdened confidante as her mother launched an affair with her husband's best friend. A 100,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2019
    A memoir about a charismatic mother who embroiled her daughter in a dramatic affair. In a candid, deftly crafted narrative, Brodeur (Man Camp, 2005), co-founder of the magazine Zoetrope: All Story, reveals the family secrets that burdened her life from the age of 14, when she became her mother's confidante and accomplice in a love affair. Her mother was an attractive, charming woman, "a breath of fresh air, an irresistible combination of clever and irreverent," and the author worshipped her. Although the lover was a close and long-standing family friend and the affair betrayed her kind and beloved stepfather's trust, Brodeur willingly helped her mother cover her tracks and distract others from noticing the couple's disappearances, covert touching, and secret glances. For years, she felt thrilled by her role and deeply sympathetic to her mother's needs for love and sex. After her stepfather had suffered several strokes, her mother felt more like a caretaker than a wife. She confided in her daughter that she needed more--and she needed her daughter's support. Brodeur was flattered by her mother's dependence on her, and when she traveled during a gap year, she called home weekly, feeling guilty "for not being more supportive" by phoning more often. Not until she shared her story with a new boyfriend--and later with a woman friend and her future husband (who, bizarrely, was her mother's lover's son)--did the author realize that someone outside of the family would see the arrangement far differently. "I felt confused," she writes, "suddenly thrust into a state of disequilibrium" by listeners who saw her mother "as perpetrator, not victim." Admitting that her mother's behavior was abusive made her feel "an unbearable sense of disloyalty." Her need to separate herself from her mother grew, however; in college, she tried to create a new identity, different from someone "so consumed by her mother that she hardly knew where her mother ended and she began." That project defined her life for years to come. A vivid chronicle of a daughter's struggle to find herself.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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My Mother, Her Lover, and Me
Adrienne Brodeur
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