Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wild Things by Dave Eggers

wild_things_1Yay! Buddy review time :) And what a great book to review with a friend. Kelly at The Written World and I are reviewing Dave Egger's novelization of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. His novel is titled simply, The Wild Things. And it's another one that will likely be on my favorite reads of the year list. I can't recommend this book enought to everyone. But I'll just go ahead and answer our questions to let you know how much I enjoyed it. You can click on over to Kelly's blog to see her own answers to these questions. 1. Have you read the original Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and if so, how do you think this novelization compared as a translation of it? I have read the original. It's actually one of my all time favorite children's books. One of the things that I love about all of Sendak's books is that they leave so much for the young reader to create for themselves. When I go back now as an adult and read Where the Wild Things Are, it seems so much more simple than what I had created as a child. It's a book that allows a story to be filled in between the sparse words. It requires imagination, evokes imagination. So I think it begged someone as talented as Eggers to one day do a novelization of it. And I think he did a perfect job to be honest. I think his story fits perfectly in between the pages of the original picture book. Max is presented as a child who comes from a less than desirable home, but a home that has love in it hidden beneath the turmoil. Max has his own inner issues and is searching for someone to listen to him. And it's not until he finds the wild things themselves that someone actually does. But it begs the question of whether it's always best to get what our heart seems to desire at the moment? One criticism I've heard is that the wild things themselves have too many problems of their own and can I just tell you that this annoys me to no end. The criticism, not the fact that they have problems. So children are supposed to read books where kids run away to a world where no one has problems? Is that what you want kids reading? Because I don't think that's what kids need to read. I think it was painted perfect by Eggers. Yes, the wild things in this book have issues. They eat each other, they are haunted by their own insecurities, they can be their own worst enemy. But there is love at the center of their community and I found them so endearing to be honest. 2. Did you like Max? Why or Why not? I absolutely adored Max!! He was just perfect. What I loved most about him was that he was so real. There was no sugar coating his situation or his visceral reaction to his situation. It was honest and raw...he was an 8 year old boy going through some real crap at home and he dealt with it in the best way he knew how. Yeah, he could be a brat...ok, a bit more than a brat at times, but I loved his carefree spirit. That innocence and imagination that lingers in a child's world that seems to get lost in the adult world. I enjoyed reading the acknowledgements of this book actually because I learned that Eggers based little Max quite a bit on himself at that age. And that is clear. There was something about Max's character that couldn't have been portrayed how it was without an author being open and honest about his own experiences. Max's reactions to emotional pain are so intense and so sad really. But so real. 3. What did you think of the design of the book itself? I am convinced that McSweeney's can do no wrong. The book is designed just beautifully. There is no dustjacket. Just this beautiful cloth cover with Max's silhouette. And the spinde is black cavas with The Wild Things written in gold. The inside has gorgeous endpapers and the quality of the paper itself is awesome. There are even a couple of illustrations of Max's drawings of The Wild Things in one of the chapters which I thought was a nice touch :) Without giving anything away, what did you think about the ending? I thought the ending was just perfect. I'm going to sound morbid here, but I don't like "happy endings" persay. The ending to this book isn't "unhappy" but it isn't necessarily happy. It does sort of leave the reader to continue the story in their own minds, and I liked that. Maybe I would've liked to see how things played out in Max's life, but maybe it's best left how it was left too. I guess this is the most that I can say about the ending without giving anything away :p Who was your favourite Wild Thing? Why? I just loved Katherine!! There was something about her character that was sort of mysterious and sort of loveable. She seemed to be the loner of the group, often disappearing from the rest of the group for awhile and she took to Max right away wanting to make him all her own. There was a very maternal side to her. I liked Carol too for his ability to show so many emotions. Many of the wild things were very primal in their emotions, but Carol seemed to acknowledge and accept how he felt. And he lived in that emotion when it came up. He made me angry towards the end, but he broke my heart towards the end too. I really loved them all, though. They were so endearing, their world was so endearing and I wanted to go on a wild rumpus with them! What did you think the age range for this book was? I think this book is written for young adults and up probably. Though I think it really has something for each age range. I think that it's something parents should read first and if they're comfortable reading it to their children, it would certainly be a great read aloud. There is certainly quite a bit of value to this story. It offers much to the YA population as well and I think it has the most to offer to the adult population. It reminded me to be a kid sometimes. To let go. It reminded me of that innocence that an 8 year old can have. And it reminded me of the pain that an 8 year old can experience and how they deal with it. But it's a story that shows us that sorrow and hurt and anger is a universal emotion. It's something that follows us even into far away lands where other things exist that are not in our world. It's an emotion that we all have to deal with, but that can be overcome.

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