The novel is told through the eyes of 11 year-old spitfire Zoë Royster, who now has to live with her uncle after the untimely death of her mother. From the beginning of the story, however, Zoë shows that her life up until then has been anything but a fairy tale. Her negligent mother battled mental illness for most of young Zoë’s life, leaving her in the hands of a steady stream of boyfriends, ranging from the helpless to the evil. As a result, Zoë has had to figure out matters on her own. She aims to show her Uncle Henry that she can manage her own life just fine, especially since she figures he will abandon her like everyone else has.
A respected doctor turned celebrated sculptor, Uncle Henry has his own problems and Zoë just might be the person he needs to add a little cheer to his existence. Of course, extraordinary things begin to happen when Zoë’s curious nature leads her on an adventure that uncovers some “wild things.” Towards the end of the novel, the mayor’s son, a deer, Henry’s diverse group of friends, and a special cat are among the many things thrown into the mix as the mystery identity of the “wild thing” in the woods is revealed.
Overall, Wild Things is a good read. I liked how the author weaved the principle of respect for the environment into the story. The main character had a folksy charm, though the way that adults deferred to her throughout the novel sometimes came off a bit unrealistic.
Verdict: Lags in some parts, but a worthwhile read