Monday, May 11, 2020

2 memoirs Book Reviews - - Wild Game; Adrienne Brodeur and Brother and Sister; Diane Keaton

TITLE:  Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me (a memoir)
AUTHOR:  Adrienne Brodeur
PUBLISHER:  Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt
PUB. YEAR: 2019
Setting: Cape Cod, MA and NYC
Format: eGalley
Rating - 4/5

Adrienne Brodeur in many respects led a life of privilege but, she was raised by a mother who seemed not to understand the concept of "boundaries." When the author was just 14 years old, her mother, Malabar, woke her from a sound sleep to tell her that her husband's best friend, Ben had kissed her. She then asked her young daughter what she thought she should do about it. As her mother embarks on a long term affair with Ben, a neighbor, married man and friend of the family, whose wife is ill, Adrienne is expected to keep her mother's secret from her step-father who is also in declining health.

The author, now in her 50's looks back on her life and how guilt and betrayal she has dealt with by keeping these secrets over the years have affected her own relationships.

I thought this memoir was very well written and, although I didn't have a perfect childhood, I just had a difficult time relating to Adrienne's story. I am still glad I tried it.  I think it is worth trying if you enjoy a different kind of memoir.

  Brother and Sister (a memoir)
AUTHOR:  Diane Keaton
PUBLISHER:  Random House Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2020
Setting: CA
Format: Audio Download
Rating - 2/5

As very young children Diane (Hall) Keaton and her young brother Randy were very close and had even shared a bedroom. Randy was the youngest child and only boy in a family of four born to John and Dorothy Hall.  The children grew up comfortably in CA, their father was a civil engineer who owned his own company.  Randy was a timid child with very few friends and he had a difficult time finding his place in the world. As an adult he struggled with mental illness, violent fantasies about women and battled alcohol addiction.  The more Diane's career took off the less involved she was in her brother's life. Now Randy is 71, at the end of his life, is suffering from Parkinson's and dementia and is living in an Assisted Living facility.  

Diane Keaton, now 74, shares intimate moments about her family and her brother's struggles.  I struggled with the flow of this story; it didn't feel well-written. I listened to the audio (read by the author) and in some respects I was sorry I did. Honestly,  I'm not all that certain I would have liked the print version either.  It was not an easy story to listen to and, although I love Diane Keaton as an actress, parts of her story just bothered me.  It bothered me that a lot of money in the hands of the right people at the right time got Randy, someone who never intended to stop drinking, a liver transplant by moving him to the top of some list, while probably many more deserving people waited for a transplant and died.  I just can't recommend this memoir.


  1. I found Wild Game rather fascinating - almost like a car wreck that you can't look away from - but there was something missing in it for me. I couldn't connect with it either.

    I liked Brother and Sister more than you did.

  2. I think I'll pass on Wild Game. The idea of asking your young daughter what you should do about a neighbor kissing you and then wanting her to keep your affair a secret is absurd to me.

    I've had Brother And Sister on my list to read since the end of '19. After reading your thoughts, I may pass on it too.

    Sorry you weren't a fan of either book!

  3. Too bad the Diane Keaton book was so disappointing. And Wild Game sounds a little odd as well. Memoirs can really be hit or miss for me.

  4. I enjoy memoirs but will skip these two, thanks for the reviews.

  5. Well, a 50/50 split isn't all that bad!

  6. I would like to read the memoir particularly. I do like Diane Keaton.

  7. Sounds like neither of these memoirs worked for you. The mother in Wild Game sounds crazy! Boundaries please.

  8. I feel so sorry for the author of Wild Game. To be an unwanted (and maybe naive) participant in her mother's illicit affair is wrong in so many aspects. No child, rich or poor, deserves to grow up like that.

    I'll be honest - I haven't heard a lot of negative feedback about Keaton's memoir so I'm glad to hear about the other side. I do like her as an actress but not so much to want to read her memoir, but something about this book had been intriguing me.

  9. Oh no. I like Diane Keaton and the liver transplant story makes me sad.


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