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Wild Words

Hello and welcome to Wordy Wednesday!

Open journal overlapping the book Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Today’s words come from the memoir Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur.

Brodeur came to know the value of intentionally expanding one's vocabulary as an adult when she became an avid reader and pushed herself to “learn what words meant and how to deploy them” (211). She writes,

“The more words I had, the more precisely I could communicate my feelings” (211).

She expresses herself both precisely and eloquently in the telling of her relationship with her mother Malabar starting in her teen years. When Brodeur is just fourteen, Malabar makes a decision that alters the trajectory of their connection and shapes Brodeur as an adult across all of her relationships. 

This memoir reads like a thriller. I could hardly believe this was someone’s actual life—an absurd, tense soap opera of drama, secrets, and lies. Yet it’s also understated. Brodeur resists melodrama, instead speaking with the wisdom of hindsight and life experience, offering empathy and discernment in her discussion of the actions of the people around her as well as the behavior of her younger self. Brodeur teases out the forces at play in her bond with her mother and who she chooses to become as a result. 

Below are three words I found in Wild Game along with the sentences in which they were found, their Oxford definitions, and sentences of my own using the words. 


“They would have dismissed the novel as puritanical schlock” (151).

Noun: cheap or inferior goods or material; trash. 

Wading through the storage unit’s contents he wondered why anyone would save this schlock


“By the time I arrived, the two couples were usually soused” (38).

Verb: soak or drench with liquid

Noun: drunkard

The ice bucket challenge involves sousing oneself in ice water to raise money for ALS research.


“He disliked his job, but luckily for him, his passion for archaeology offered solace from this stultifying fate” (41).

Verb: (usually as adjective stultifying) cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of a tedious or restrictive routine.

The once-rewarding job of teaching becomes stultifying when restricted to online formats. 

Have a good memoir to recommend? Share in the comments!

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