Max is a little frustrated – his bigger sister doesn’t have as much time for him as she used to, his mother got separated from his father a while ago and Max really doesn’t like her new boyfriend, and the whole world around him seems to have no room for children, danger or adventure. After a fight with his mother, Max runs away. He finds a boat and sails to a distant island, where he finds a bunch of wild things, beasts who seem mostly lost, but who are still quite a challenge for Max.
I really very much loved The Wild Things. I already loved the book by Sendak and the movie, so I had great expectations – and surprisingly, I was not disappointed. It’s a quick and wonderful read.
Right from the beginning, you’re experiencing Max’ world through Max’ eyes. He cycles over to a friend’s house, who’s basically a neighbour. But when his friend’s mother notices that Max cycled on his own, she opts to accompany him home, scaring the living shit out of Max who feels more threatened by the protectiveness than by the way home alone on his bike.
Interestingly enough, Eggers captures exactly how a child would think but manages to still use a quite adult vocabulary without it seeming out of place. Generally speaking, it’s stylistically wonderful, littered with little phrases like:
He stained any room he spilled himself into.
Which makes for great reading.
And the Wild Things… even though they are not incomprehensible, they remain as alien to the reader as they remain to Max and you keep getting surprised by them. It’s quite a feat to pull off.
The book is again different from the movie and from the original book. But in tone, it’s very similar to the film. So, if you liked Spike Jonze’s version, I can only recommend it.