Kelly’s Pick for Fall 2019: Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Kelly’s Pick for Fall 2019: Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Earlier this year, Bookish debuted Kelly’s Pick, a new feature to help you and your book club decide what to read next—including exclusive materials hand-curated by the Bookish team! We’re thrilled to announce the fall 2019 Kelly’s Pick: Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur. It’s an impossible-to-put-down memoir that we think will add some spark to your next book club meeting. Here’s a sneak peek at what the book is about, why Kelly picked it, the goodies you’ll get in the book club kit, and how you can enter to win a copy.

What it’s about

Here’s a look at the official synopsis from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

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.

The Bookish take
Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir explores her relationship with her mother, Malabar, who is beautiful, charismatic, and deeply lonely. Malabar starts an affair with a close family friend, and confides in her young daughter from the very beginning. These confidences are an endless source of stress for Adrienne, and over the years, their effect is corrosive. Longing for her mother’s attention and approval, Adrienne becomes as consumed with the illicit relationship as her mother, keeping secrets from family and friends for years. It’s only later that Brodeur begins to recognize the impact this shared secret had on the course of her life. Wild Game is an addicting glimpse into how people and events can shape our identities, and the emotional strength required to distance yourself from toxic relationships in order to discover your true self.

Why Kelly picked it

Wild Game is a book that I couldn’t stop reading. When I first picked it up, I was reading three other potential book club picks at the time. One by one I put the others down because every time I opened them I wished I was reading Wild Game instead. In part, the addiction stemmed from the character of Malabar.

Adrienne Brodeur’s mother is a complex figure throughout the book. As a reader, you see the ways she prioritizes herself over her children and manipulates them to serve her own goals. But you also understand young Brodeur’s idealization of Malabar, a woman who is strong, talented, charming, and draws you to her.

After I finished reading, I couldn’t wait to share it with the Bookish team. I wanted to know what they thought of Malabar, how they saw the mother/daughter bond impacting Brodeur’s relationships, and how a daughter can reconcile the love she feels for her toxic mother. It has all the hallmarks of a great book club memoir, and I hope our readers enjoy it as much as we did!” —Kelly

Who will enjoy Wild Game?

Wild Game takes an intimate look at the relationship Adrienne Brodeur had with her mother Malabar, and how the secret they shared shaped Brodeur’s life. This pick is ideal for fans of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Educated by Tara Westover, and for readers who love getting a look behind closed doors at the complex bonds between family members, the way parents’ behavior can impact the lives of the children, and the lengths children will go to earn their parents’ approval. Plus, foodies will love the decadent descriptions of Malabar’s meals. And since the film rights to Wild Game were snatched up by The Edge of Seventeen filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig, book clubs that pride themselves on always reading the book first won’t want to miss out.

What you’ll get in Kelly’s Pick book club kit

Our coverage of each Kelly’s Pick will include exclusive materials for your book club to use. We’ll have the essentials like a discussion guide and food and drink suggestions, but also fun extras like a trivia. Consider Kelly’s Pick your one-stop shop for a Wild Game book club meeting!

How you can get an early copy

Wild Game hits shelves on October 15, but we’re giving you a first look. Visit to read an excerpt of Wild Game, and enter the raffle for your chance to win the full book! After you read the excerpt, just give a quick first impression of the book and you’ll be entered to win one of 100 advance reading copies. The raffle closes on September 2, but the excerpt will remain available to reread while you wait for your copy to arrive.

Who’s the author?

Adrienne Brodeur began her career in publishing as the co-founder, along with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, of the fiction magazine Zoetrope: All-Story, which won the National Magazine Award for Best Fiction three times and launched the careers of many writers. She was a book editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for many years and, currently, she is the Executive Director of Aspen Words, a program of the Aspen Institute. She has published essays in the New York Times. She splits her time between New York City and Cape Cod with her husband and children.

Content warnings
(spoilers ahead!)

Not every book is right for every reader, and some books contain potentially triggering content. Here we’ve listed some of the prominent themes and topics in Wild Game that readers may want to be aware of before deciding to read.

Wild Game contains adultery, emotional abuse and manipulation between a parent and child, child death, parental death, a brief mention of self-harm, a brief mention of suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression.


Leave a Reply