Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Wild Things

I picked up a (signed!) copy of The Wild Things by Dave Eggers at the movie, Where the Wild Things Are, last week. Mostly I bought the book because it was signed and I was excited. I honestly think Eggers is a literary hero, but I didn't really love this book. It's quite similar to the movie, and, perhaps more importantly, true to Maruice Sendak's book. (Eggers book is dedicated to Sendak, whom he calls "an unspeakably brave and beautiful man.")

Eggers fills in the blanks for us for Max - where he lives, his family situation, where the costume came from, what happens in the land of the Wild Things, the names of the Wild Things and their various insecurities.

What Eggers explores in the book is how Max is bridging that awkward period between being a child, with really no barometer for what's socially appropriate, to an adolescent that's becoming self-aware. Max's decision to return to his home (I don't think I'm ruining it for you) becomes a rejection of those things wild and a commitment to well, society. Whether it's a choice that any child makes, or a role that all children are simply forced to accept, I'm not sure - for Max, it's more like a choice between certain death and ... dinner.

I'm not sure if I'd necessarily recommend this book to anyone but die-hard Where the Wild Things Are and Eggers' fans, or perhaps pre-teens. Eggers' YA book was less appealing to this adult reader and I started skimming about half-way through. At 281 pages, I found it rather long, but it's certainly charming. Eggers is a poetic writer and therefore this is more than your average book-after-the-movie.

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