Wildlife by Fiona Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved all the contrasts made between Strangers and Friends. Of Best friends and Maybe friends. Then the choices on who they were versus those on what they could be. Then options against perception. On belief in self versus contentment in the same. One of them in her comfort zone and then later the same exploring other ones. So, there’s what makes them “them” versus the paths that lead elsewhere. So, Changes (changes. CHANGES!) on one hand, and then Grief (Grief. GRIEF!) on the other. But mostly, it’s them being not-so great then wait a beat and it’s them being just that; it’s the ordinary feel they all bring to each their stories that I loved.
So, flashback to what I loved in SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS: a lot about Dan and Jane and definitely a little bit because Fred and then forward to WILDLIFE- less the sweet and happy in the possibilities from the first, and more with the real and the really SAD. In other word: emotion.
Enter, LOU and Syb.
Lou is the object of much affection from me. Her moving her way through all the things she’s feeling and SIMULTANEOUSLY being the observer sets her apart. It’s the last that allows for two things to happen: we know her but we also see what she sees. And it’s In knowing her that we feel for her (and frankly, already five percent, I was already teary over all the things she was saying and more importantly- not saying.)
With each moment of her feeling what she was, it’s made clear things are not easy for her (for any of them really.). There’s no easy fix for her because the good doesn’t come in a snap. It’s in working through that, that we get to KNOW her. On the other hand, there’s Lou as observer: we see what she does. It’s in this that a more complete picture of how the others could be is made. There’s a stripped down and more accurate version of Syb offered up as a consequence. She’s less the good girl going with the flow, because flaws are made obvious in this one; flaws not limited to the Mean Girls present in this one either.
And Speak of flaws: we have Syb. I love that she’s different: aware of who she was and how she could be “better” but not bothering to move toward the same because knowing who she was that there’s this lack of drama from her (for the most part.) Or more apt: there’s drama but not much of her being dragged down by the same. I just love that. In the face of all things going on- she could be regular kid, not needing to be the best thing or the greatest thing; happy to have things unfold as they were. Yet, it’s in not-acting , this always reactive stance she has that makes her even more real for me.
It’s a love story. It’s a love between me and this book, rather than one between any one of the characters. Because I loved this. And I loved them.
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