The Book Nook: explore where “The Wild Things” roam

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The book:

“The Wild Things” by Dave Eggers

Suggested for:

Anyone who loves the children’s book and wishes to add depth to the beloved story.

Clog rating:

Clog Rating 4

“The Wild Things” by Dave Eggers came to be through one of the most confusing lines of conception: This full-length novel is based on the screenplay of “Where the Wild Things Are” by Eggers and Spike Jonze. The screenplay is, of course, based on the children’s book of the same name by Maurice Sendak. Basically, this book is the adult version of one of our favorite books from childhood.

And this novel does not disappoint. Just like the film adaptation, this story gives so much more depth and intricacy to Max and his fantastical experiences with the beasts on their faraway island. While the premise and simplicity of the children’s picture book remains throughout, this adventure explores Max’s troubled home life and illustrates just why it becomes the reason for his initial departure. His snarky sister and her douchebag friends would be enough to convince us that we should sail away too. By delving into Max’s familial relations, both in the real world and with the family of monsters he meets, his character becomes instantly relatable for any person struggling to negotiate their place in the world.

From the moment that Max arrives on the island after an impossibly long journey across the open ocean, the reader is inclined to assume that this is all a figment of Max’s imagination and a temporary reprieve from his reality. However, this assumption gradually changes as you, along with Max, get to know the creatures that inhabit this place. The beasts are given realistic and unique personalities that come to define not only themselves but also how they interact with everyone else. They are so wonderfully conceived and articulated by Eggers that their place in reality becomes hard to question. The relationships that Max forms with these monsters seem just as meaningful and important, if not more so, as those that Max forms with his actual family.

While this book is a very quick read, you still left the book feeling like you have completed an adventure with Max and are sad to see him return to reality without you there beside him. The novel serves to return us to that coveted feeling of childhood innocence and exhilaration with the unexpected encounters of life. Isn’t that what everyone wants out of an excellent book? Just to escape the stresses of college life and sail away on a quest for excitement? This book delivers that in spades.

Image Source: Crossett Library under Creative Commons

Contact Mackenzie Bedford at [email protected]