Wild Game was quite the quiet ride. A memoir about the author’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, it tells the story of an illicit affair covered up by a teenage girl.
But it is so much more than that. It’s about a girl coming into her own in the 1980s, in a wealthy family with a surplus of opinions. It’s about the love between a mother and daughter. And it’s about the iconic character of Brodeur’s mother Malabar, who is central to the story.
The main plot of the story navigates through Malabar’s affair with her husband’s best friend Ben, and her involvement of her daughter Rennie (Brodeur) to hide the affair. Malabar goes to great lengths to ensure the success of her relationship and treats Rennie as a girlfriend and confidante. It creates intimacy in their relationship but also puts Rennie in the difficult position of lying to her stepfather and others. As Rennie grows older and Malabar is no longer her sole focus, the relationship between the two becomes strained.
I went through the first hundred pages of Wild Game slowly, luxuriating in the colorful anecdotes from the author’s childhood. But then I hit a point where the author started coming into her own, starting when she leaves for college, and it became difficult to put down.
I quickly became attached to Rennie and as fascinated by the magnificent Malabar as she was. It was easy to relate to their complex relationship. I felt for young Rennie as she carefully balanced her fierce protectiveness for her mother with the feelings of guilt for lying to those around her.