... exquisite and harrowing ... so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting ... 'Follow your bliss' is a popular catchphrase, but Brodeur shows how much work and humility it takes to keep moving toward joy — doggedly, consistently, observantly ... shows what a good memoir can do, using one person’s singular experience to shed light on a fundamental truth of being human. In this case: maternal love, that most primal and powerful kind ... On that fateful night when the author’s mother tells her, 'You must take this secret to your grave,' the die, it seems, is cast. It is the great gift of this book — and of Brodeur’s life — that she refuses to do so ... Brodeur’s message is poignant and profound: A person need not totally untangle from her family — a group of people with shared DNA that none of us chooses — but neither must she stay unconsciously tethered to them or repeat inherited patterns of relationship. Family holds the ties that bind, but even if you do not wholly reject it, you do not, as Brodeur’s book gloriously proves, have to stay hopelessly, miserably bound.
... manages to be both elegant and trashy at the same time, elevating 40-year-old gossip to an art form. To situate her on the 'Mommie Dearest' scale, Brodeur combines the you’re-not-gonna-believe-this outrage of a Sean Wilsey with the high-test filial devotion of a Mary Karr ... Self-dramatizing tendencies may have been a problem for Malabar, but they work beautifully in Brodeur’s memoir, making a glittering, insightful page-turner of the worst-case scenario of mother-daughter boundary issues.
Wild Game is a memoir, but it reads very much like a novel with a first-person narrator, bringing readers closely into scenes with vivid sensual detail that paints the atmosphere with the adoring eyes of the enthralled daughter the author once was ... what makes this book especially novel-like is how close Brodeur remains to the mindset she was in at the time of the events unfolding. For the first third or so, even as occasional lines hint at the more mature and removed author, the narrative stays close to the Brodeur's inability to see her mother as anything but a wonderful, glamorous, wounded woman who led a hard life and deserves happiness, no matter who might get trampled along the way ... It's not often we get to read about the sexual and romantic lives of people past middle age, since they're so often condemned by popular imagination to sexless existences, but Wild Game, for all its luscious prose and tantalizing elements, is ultimately about the slow and painful process of losing a mother.