[Read] ➵ Wild Things By Clay Carmichael – Cheapnikeshoes.co

4.5 stars If I ever do write a book, it will have elements of this one An appreciation for nature, a child in trouble that finds her way with the help of a caring adult, extended family with lots of quirks, parts of the book from the point of view of a cat, parts that make you laugh while others make you cry..this one has it all Not to be missed It s far harder to explain why you LIKE a book than why you DON T.And I really like this one.I could pick holes in some of the plot some of it just doesn t work the way it should I could find several of the plot twists a bit too much and a few of the characters less than believable.And I could wonder if my 10 year old or my 14 year old would read this and delight in it the way their mother does And I do.But Zoe pulled me into her story from page 1 The sections from Mr C Mere did too as a cat lover myself, I liked Carmichael s attempt to get as far inside a cat s head as a human can, and I think it enhanced the story.So 4 stars it gets And I hope that it finds the audience that it deserves. Stubborn, Self Reliant Eleven Year Old Zoe, Recently Orphaned, Is Forced To Move To The Country To Live With Her Strange And Bad Tempered Uncle Zoe Could Care Less That He S A Famous Doctor And Sculptor All She Knows Is That He Is Impossible To Understand The Only Interesting Thing On The Farm Is A Feral Cat Who Won T Let Zoe Near Together, Zoe And Her Uncle Learn About Trust And The Strength Of Family Ties In This Moving Coming Of Age Novel, Zoe Comes To Understand What It Means To Love And Be Loved, Uncovers A Long Kept Secret, And Finds Family Where She Least Expects It Includes An Interview With The Author And A Reading Group GuideNamed ALA Notable Children S Book Award Bank Street College Of Education Best Children S Books Of The Year NCTE Notable Children S Books In The Language Arts Kirkus Reviews Best Children S Book Dear Ms Clay Carmichael if you re reading this, please consider writing another children s novel, preferably with some of these same characters Of course, I understand that Wild Things took you five years to complete, and that any hypothetical sequel or other work I would accept an unrelated story as well might conceivably take just as long, but I know it will be worth the wait Thank you.I cannot recall the last time I encountered a character with as distinctive and winsome a voice as Zo Royster, the eleven year old heroine of Clay Carmichael s middle grade children s novel, Wild Things Just as memorable is Mr C mere, the feral cat whose own narration is intermingled with Zo s, and whose observations of human behavior left me shaken with laughter, with anger, and with sorrow The following two opening lines, from these two distrustful souls, each of whom has learned to keep the world at a distanceHumans were diggers and buriers, the cat thought, like dogs I d hoped for better, Henry s being a heart doctor A job like that, you d think he might actually have a heart both grabbed hold of me, dragging me wily nily into the story, instantly involving me in each narrator s life I hadn t read than a few pages, when I knew that here were characters I cared about By the end of the first chapter, I knew I loved them, and was feverishly racing ahead, hoping for that moment when each wild things in their different ways allowed themselves to be, not domesticated, but befriended.This is the story of a precocious young girl who is sent to live with the half uncle she never knew an irritable former heart surgeon, and current world renowned metal sculptor after the death of her neglectful and mentally ill mother Having learned by hard experience that adults don t stick, Zo is on the look out for signs that Henry is looking for the exit signs What she discovers instead, is a kindred spirit a man who loves books as much as she does, who is as prickly as she is, and who understands her need for time and space of her own A person who encourages her to be who she is, but also provides companionship, some minimal structure, and the protection she needs from some of the dangers of the adult world In short she discovers the parent she never knew she wanted.But as much as Wild Things is Zo s story, it is also the story of Mr C mere, an aging cat who has turned his back on human love, after witnessing one too many acts of violence and neglect A cat who observes the humans around him, with a mixture of puzzlement and perceptive understanding that is by turns amusing and heartbreaking In short, a cat who is Zo s feline doppelganger There are many wild things in this story, as it happens, from Zo and Mr C mere, to Henry s sculptures and Henry himself, not to mention Sister and Wil, whose identity once it was revealed felt so right to me, that I didn t even mind that I had guessed it, some time before.There are moments of absolute, fall down laughing hilarity here as in the episode in which Mr C mere, convinced that the hosing off of the plastic flowers at the graveyard, after he urinates on them, indicates an effort to mark territory, proceeds to urinate on them all the and there are moments of stomach clenching tragedy, from the death of loved ones, to the death of not so loved ones Carmichael s prose is beautifully expressive, whether in girl or feline form, and she has the occasional turn of phrase Mr C mere s description of the newborn orphan Wil, howling in his father s arms, as aninconsolable noise,Zo s observation, watching Henry and Fred at a funeral, thatthough I didn t hear them exchange twenty words, I understood whole conversations taking place in the silence between themthat stayed in mind long after I had finished reading.With a feisty heroine who isn t afraid to say what s on her mind, regardless of the audienceI focused all my energies on giving the Padre s Lord God Almighty, reportedly in Heaven, a piece of my agitated minda cast of fascinating secondary characters, a feline that would win any reasonable person s heart, and many affectionate references to works of children s literature particularly The Boy Who Drew Cats , Wild Things is a superb story I am so very grateful to the Children s Fiction Club to which I belong, for making this our December selection, as I might not otherwise have picked it up Truly, this is a little masterpiece I m waiting on Carmichael s next effort with barely restrained impatience After the death of her mother, Zoe is sent to live with her reclusive uncle, Henry, whom she has never met Zoe has had a life of misfortune with a mentally unstable mother and her plethora of loser boyfriends She doesn t expect Henry to stick around for long, after all no one else ever has, so why should he be any different As the months go by, though, she begins to learn that Henry may be worth trusting, as well as some of the other people who live nearby.Ugh I really wanted to like this book, I really did, but it fell short for me First, too much was unbelievable Zoe is a genius who tests out of her grade level but has never gone to school Really There s a wild boy living in the woods that no one knows about And he keeps company with a white deer that every hunter would want to get there hands on Yep, sure Also, there are characters then in a Russian Novel, and they re near impossible to tell apart The villains in the book are painfully two dimensional, an evil mayor who will have that white deer s head on his wall for his son, who s really a budding artist which is unacceptable to the evil mayor And the cat What the hell is that cat talking about That cat almost makes me not like cats and I keep company with two of them And perhaps the worst part, there is just too much conflict This book could have centered on just Zoe learning to trust Henry, but the author has too keep bringing in and conflict in an attempt to keep the plot rolling I guess It s not just Henry and Zoe opening up and learning to trust, it s Henry s snotty gallery owner demanding that Henry have a show, it s Zoe s mothers estranged boyfriends showing up unannounced, it s the poor lady next door and her oh so weak heart Ugh I think this book has ADD If you adored Wendy reading to the Lost Boys if you were tickled by Opal s collection of misfit friends in Because of Winn Dixie if you remember how Spyri s Heidi won over her stern grandfather then you will welcome the loving vision behind this middle grade gem No character here is easily pegged or one dimensional, least of all Mr C Mere, the cat who narrates inter chapters and is featured in the author s beautiful pen and ink drawings throughout the book WILD THINGS is about finding home but keeping your freedom, a consummation devoutly to be wished And savored. I just really like the writing The purity The absence of dumbness. I know what you are thinking, Do I really need to read another children s book about orphans, wise cats, surviving in the wilderness, dysfunctional families, brooding artists, small town life, or death If I promised that Clay Carmichael turned these tropes into something magical, would you travel that well worn road again With pitch perfect prose, characters you fall in love with even the bad ones , and a three hanky resolution, Wild Things is a book I will recommend to many readers young and not so. I like children s books that touch you without pandering at the same time I like books that make you cry, but don t bend over backwards to make you think that they re sob worthy Basically, I like books that can get at the heart of a story the old fashioned way Through plain good writing Now I don t know this Clay Carmichael character According to her bio she s a resident of Carrboro, North Carolina She s written three picture books in the past, making this book Wild Things her first novel As a kid, if you d tried to sell me on this tale by calling it a coming of age story I would have gagged right then and there If, on the other hand, you d said that this was a book about a kid who has practically lived on her own her entire life, goes off to live with her potentially crazy uncle, finds a cat in need of taming, and stumbles on a denizen of the woods who may or may not want to be found now THAT s a novel I could get behind Forget that coming of age jargon What you ve got here is a story about freedom and learning to trust people You ll find that there s a reason this book begins with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges that reads, Love is a religion with a fallible god.The wild things They re critters and creatures and people who can t be tamed, but can with patience be coaxed Eleven year old Zoe is wise beyond her years She s had to be Until now she s been taking care of her mama, a woman who runs hot and cold by turns Now mama is dead and Zoe s living with her Uncle Henry, an unpredictable character at times Growing accustomed to his ways and his sculpture creations , Zoe finds a family with the people who surround her uncle She even makes the acquaintance of a local wild cat But who in the blue blazes is that strange wild boy with the white doe that lives in the woods And what, if anything, is his connection to Zoe Character is hard Stereotype is easy Characters that have been used as stereotypical figures in the past are maybe the hardest of all We re all familiar with the children s books in which a girl makes friends with an older black woman who has an abundant, unending supply of hope and cheer Everything from Because of Winn Dixie to The Secret Life of Bees has gone that route, for better or for worse There is such a woman in Wild Things too named Bessie, but Carmichael keeps a close eye on this character Bessie could easily be a standard saintly speaker of platitudes, but Carmichael gives her a very human wicked streak that stretches a mile long In fact, all of Carmichael s characters are like that They look stock at first The crusty uncle with a heartbroken past who learns to love thanks to a little girl paging The Secret Garden The wild boy who lives by his own rules, but loves to hear stories told by a girl Peter Pan But just using stock characters isn t a problem, it s what you do with them and how you develop them Even J.K Rowling took standard tropes that could have been considered tired and worn, but she made them sparkle with her great writing Carmichael does the same thing on her end, only this time it s with reality pure and strong.She s a writer, that Clay Carmichael Seems to have it in her bones Know how I know She can pull off sentences that a lesser writer couldn t even attempt Read these sentences with me Welds are stronger than glue, as strong as the metal itself Welds bind the steel for skyscrapers and bridges together A good weld almost never breaks I thought of Bessie Too bad a strong weld couldn t fix her heart You see that That shouldn t work Heck, practically the very first sentence OF the book talks about Henry and how he s a heart doctor A heart doctor I think the nice thing about first time novelists is that they re willing to take chances with meaning An author who d been churning out novels for decades wouldn t get near a metaphor as outright obvious as a heart doctor But darned if Ms Carmichael doesn t pull it off Heck, it wasn t until I reread sections of the book that I even noticed what she was doing Kids pick up on sentences that try to tug at the heartstrings without earning the readers trust They won t be picking up on anything of the sort with this novel.There are a couple loose ends that don t quite get tied up at the end of the book, of course We never really find out why Zoe s classmate stares at her continually when she first gets to school though we can probably guess And we don t really know where the mysterious boy in the book has lived for all these years, or his fawn s story But by and large you get to the end of this book with the feeling that all roads have converged, and the story has hit its natural end In spite of the characters still trying to find their way in the world, no one in their right mind would say this book is in need of a sequel No one I know, anyway.I like books that have good hearts Good souls Kids do too when it s done well Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor was discussed in the children s bookgroup I run, and the kids really got into it I ll be testing Wild Things out on them soon This is a book that sucks you in with the storytelling, and doesn t loosen its grip until the very last page Maybe there are elements in it that won t completely work for the child reader, but generally I think there are a lot of kid friendly elements here The headstrong independent girl who can hold her own with adults The wild child, living in the forest with his snow white companion And that sense of finding a home with people of your kind even if they don t look or seem anything like you I don t like to pull out the term a little gem of a book too often, for fear of overusing the phrase, but if ever a title earned it, it s Wild Things by Clay Carmichael Entirely enjoyable for kids and adults alike.Ages 10 and up. Reviewed by Andrew S Cohen for TeensReadToo.comIn WILD THINGS, protagonist Zoe no longer trusts anyone Both her parents have now left her her father left at an early age, and now her mother, an irresponsible mother and slob, has died As a result of her traumatic, unbelievably self sufficient childhood, Zoe trusts only herself.To begin, Zoe goes to live with her uncle, Dr Henry Royster, a surgeon In his house she finds massive sharp metal sculptures dangling in a room, as she finds out her uncle is a famed sculptor Though reluctant to trust Henry because everyone else in her life has failed her, Zoe finds much in common with him, especially their equally broken hearts.All the while, Zoe meets a cast of friendly, curious characters who are loyal to Henry and begin to mend her heart, along with a wise cat and a mystical boy in the nearby forest Zoe s curiosity, as she explores the woods, leads to adventure, heroism, and as she unmasks the boy s identity, defiles a local lie, and through her Wild Spirit The tale of WILD THINGS is a wondrous page turner.What a phenomenal debut book by Ms Carmichael Throughout the story, I was stunned by the depth of the characters, and how I truly connected with many of them My favorite part was the added perspective of the narrative of the wild cat, which adds an excellent dimension to this book Carmichael, inspired by her actual husband, also a metal artist, skillfully weaves this story and interesting characters together to create the masterpiece that is WILD THINGS.A must read for all readers