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The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
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The Wild Things (2009)

by Dave Eggers (Author)

Other authors: Maurice Sendak (Creator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Recently added byLegoDruid, private library, Boona, HertfordLC, AshleyMiller, aledan, yougotamber, timmi
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English (32)  Dutch (2)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Overall, I really enjoyed The Wild Things by Dave Eggers. I was looking for something different than the fantasy books I normally read. This was definitely one of those books. From the beginning, it was funny, entertaining, and interesting. Then, when you are introduced to the monsters it also becomes a little creepy and crazy.

Max is a wild 8 year old boy who really just wants someone to play with. He really wants to play with his sister, but she is getting older and wants nothing to do with her little brother. His mother has a new boyfriend, so she has less time to spend with Max. He can’t seem to control anything in his life and just doesn’t understand a lot of what is going on around him. Most of the story is his escape from his world and into one that he has control over.

Eggers’s book focuses a lot more on the characters in the story. He really adds more to them than what you watch in the movie. Each creature has its own personality and they are extremely dysfunctional in the book. They go from from being happy and having fun to becoming very angry and wanting to eat everything in a split second. They are also very scary for this reason. Some have very strange habits as well, which is actually funny, but I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t read this book yet.

The story is well paced, easy to read, hilarious, and just plain crazy.

This book is basically a full length version of the picture book and adds more to the movie. If you have enjoyed these, then you will enjoy this book too. I only recommend this book to young adults and adults as it would probably be to scary and violent for younger children. ( )
  AshleyMiller | Sep 10, 2014 |
It probably doesn’t happen very often. A novel, based on a beloved children’s picture book as modulated by the screenplay for an indie film, commissioned by said beloved children’s book author, the novelist to be none other than the enfant terrible novelist and publisher, Dave Eggers. Actually, it sounds rather the plot of a Spike Jonze film.

Eggers does yeoman work with this adaptation (he co-wrote the screenplay for the film as well). His short declarative sentences match the performative bursts of his young protagonist. In the first third of the novel especially, when Max is at home with his sister, Claire, their mother and her boyfriend, Gary, the frustration and anger boiling beneath the surface is palpable, erupting periodically and detrimentally for Max and everyone else. Here Eggers does indeed get inside his protagonist, not unlike the wolf suit that Max will later don. The action and the anger and the irreconcilable muddle of their lives is thoroughly believable.

Where the novel starts to go astray is precisely where the Sendak picture book takes off. Max, now in his wolf suit, runs away from home. There is an awkward transition as Eggers sails him to the unknown isle of the wild things. And then Max is forced to confront a host of monsters in the strange setting in which he is declared to be the king. Children, I understand, are completely entranced by this part of Sendak’s story. Here, not so much. Eggers seems to be labouring, the actions and emotions of the monsters as lumbering and outsized as they are themselves. Whereas in the first third of the novel, the reader feels like anything could happen with the vivid characters that have been presented, here everything feels like stagecraft blocking for a thumping good moral that must surely be just around the corner. That deflates the tension and the narrative drive and eventually the interest of the reader.

Since this rendering of Maurice Sendak’s classic comes across as an exercise, I couldn’t help wondering what would have arisen if it had been commissioned from other writers, perhaps Daniel Handler, or Magnus Mills, or George Saunders, or whomever you like. Perhaps it could be an iterative series. Now that would be something worth reading. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Mar 24, 2014 |
I actually really don't like Dave Eggers - I found his "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" boastful and boring. But a friend of mine lent me this book, and I do like both the original book and the movie, so I thought I'd give it a shot. And, yeah, it was okay. It does a good job of combining the original and the movie, letting you get into Max's head. It's clear that Eggers is still part child (not really a compliment, but it does work for him here). I dunno - if you liked the original and movie and Eggers doesn't drive you totally mad, may as well. ( )
  AmberTheHuman | Aug 30, 2013 |
Perhaps my childhood was a little too comfortable - Sendak's original children's book kind of slipped my mind. My childhood friends loved it, for sure, and as I grew up, my adult friends remembered it with the kind of fondness usually reserved for first-time crushes on television stars.

I started out loving this book, but maybe that is because I'm an adult living with a couple of kids. Of course I'm looking for solid explanations for inexplicable behavior and emotional current.

I didn't know where to situate myself in this book. As an adult, as Max, as a Wild Thing? I loved the real-world depiction of Max and his family, but it was difficult slogging through the reality of the Wild Things. Now that I think of it - I guess I still don't personally understand what the Wild Things are FOR. What they mean.

I get them as metaphor. I get their jobs as family stand-ins, as Max's attempt to exercise some measure of control over his surroundings.

I think many people automatically get what the Wild Things are for - and that's why the children's book was so wildly popular. I think I was looking for explanation in Eggers' book, and remains a mystery. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
Perhaps my childhood was a little too comfortable - Sendak's original children's book kind of slipped my mind. My childhood friends loved it, for sure, and as I grew up, my adult friends remembered it with the kind of fondness usually reserved for first-time crushes on television stars.

I started out loving this book, but maybe that is because I'm an adult living with a couple of kids. Of course I'm looking for solid explanations for inexplicable behavior and emotional current.

I didn't know where to situate myself in this book. As an adult, as Max, as a Wild Thing? I loved the real-world depiction of Max and his family, but it was difficult slogging through the reality of the Wild Things. Now that I think of it - I guess I still don't personally understand what the Wild Things are FOR. What they mean.

I get them as metaphor. I get their jobs as family stand-ins, as Max's attempt to exercise some measure of control over his surroundings.

I think many people automatically get what the Wild Things are for - and that's why the children's book was so wildly popular. I think I was looking for explanation in Eggers' book, and remains a mystery. ( )
1 vote usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
There are seven Wild Things all told, and getting to know them all within a 2-hour film is made easy by the fact that they are so broadly drawn. They have the lively, well-traveled banter of a family, making fun of each other’s quirks and accommodating them at the same time. It helps a lot that they’re cute. But they crowd the story in Eggers’ novel. Their family bickering, which is quick and witty in the film, makes for pages of dialogue in the novel, during which I frequently lost track and who was who. Max’s personal journey starts out as a basic hero’s quest from home to unknown, at which point it breaks down into seven different quests as Max works out his personal issues with each of the Wild Things. If this sounds like pop-psych jargon, it’s because that’s what the weakest parts of the novel remind you of.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eggers, DaveAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sendak, MauriceCreatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonze, SpikeOriginal Worksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sumpter, RachelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Maurice Sendak, an unspeakably brave and beautiful man
First words
Matching Stumpy pant for pant, Max chased his cloud-white dog through the upstairs hallway, down the wooden stairs, and into the cold open foyer.
Quotations
'I made a surprise for you. Your first royal meal.'

Max could smell something put under his nose. His body shook involuntarily. It was the most potent and wretched smell he had ever encountered. It was like a thousand long-dead fish soaked in gasoline and eggs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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During a fight at home, young Max flees and runs away into the woods. He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown. He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon he becomes their king. But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them. Based loosely on the storybook by Maurice Sendak and the screenplay co-written with Spike Jonze.… (more)

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