Audiobook Review: What Should Be Wild
What Should Be Wild
by Julia Fine, Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Rebecca Gibel
Published May 8th 2018 by HarperCollins
Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in the family's manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie's father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie that local villagers talk of men disappearing inside this dark wood; when they return, their minds are addled, their stories strange. What he has not told her is that for centuries, her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge.But one day Maisie's father disappears and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the woods for the very first time, she encounters a strange and terrifying world filled with love, excitement, and dark human forces. Yet the further she strays, the more the wood calls to her. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.
The first sentence in What Should Be Wild intrigued me. "They grew me inside of my mother," which was unusual, because she was dead. It was as if Julia Fine pulled up a chair next to me and said, "Let me tell you a story ..."
Maisie Cothay was cursed even before she was born. She has the power to kill or resurrect with just a small touch. She grows up in her family's old manor that is surrounded by a curious forest with an interesting past. Nobody, except a few people, know of Maisie's existence. She grows up never knowing the feel of human flesh, no hugs, no goodnight kisses. And despite the lengths her father goes to to make sure she's safe, I think he does more harm than good.
What Should Be Wild is a coming-of-age story about a girl who has to break the rules to learn how to live. The story is told from Maisie's perspective intermingled with some of her female ancestors, who in their own ways have been repressed. Maisie's isolation lends to her naïvety and some stupid decisions when her father goes missing, and she had to rely on a stranger, who may not be all that he seems.
This book is the quintessential dark fairy tale that explores the subjugation of women over the ages. What Should Be Wild truly is a fascinating tale that will have you glued to the pages or earbuds. I listened to this book on audio. It has two narrators: Cassandra Cambell and Rebecca Gibel. They both did a superb job of making this audiobook an adventure.
Julia Fine's debut novel is a unique story that will leave you waiting impatiently to see what she writes about next.
*My thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy. While I am extremely grateful to them for the opportunity to read and review this book, it in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.