Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good Kid: Wild Things

Wild Things

I grabbed Clay Carmichael's Wild Things from the shelf because the jacket copy mentioned a setting in North Carolina, and I feel very efficient when I combine Reading My Library with the dangling book challenges.  In addition to the lucky location, Wild Things also delivered a strong orphan character and a touching story of two loners letting people back into their lives.

As a kid, I liked reading about competent protagonists, and I even liked it when the child clearly took on too much, but did it well, and then found some place where adults could take over and let the kid be a child again.  That's the pattern here; Zoe's uncle Henry takes her in when her mother dies, and she even admits to herself that dying was probably the best thing her mother ever did for her so that Zoe could go to him.  Zoe has been taking care of herself all her life, and Henry has been alone almost that long, and it takes them a while to find their places in Henry's home.  Quirky neighbors also join in, as well as a mysterious adolescent who runs about with an albino deer and provides chances for Zoe to choose when to trust Henry and when he has to trust her.  It's all well done with the added pleasure of a stray cat throwing in his opinions on occasion.

I resented the coincidences at the end, but that's an adult curmudgeonly reaction that I wouldn't have had in my youth.

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