A Feisty 12 Year Old
I must say that Wild Things by Clay Carmichael was an unexpected reading pleasure. It is the story of Zoe who is forced to move to Sugar Hill, North Carolina to live with an uncle she has never met, Uncle Henry, after her mother dies. Zoe has been pretty much on her own from a young age as her mother ran through a bunch of boyfriends, hospital stays and the ups and downs of drugs. She is self sufficient and does not need an adult, who she undoubtedly cannot trust, to oversee her life.
Zoe has an animal sense about her and senses that a cat is living around Uncle Henrys house&a cat that nobody noticed before. She bets Uncle Henry $50 that the cat exists&and wins the bet. She spends some time trying to entice the cat (aptly named Cmere) to trust her. Uncle Henry is a cardiologist turned sculptor and spends much of his time in his studio adjoining the house. This leaves plenty of time for Zoe to explore. As she wanders the woods near Uncle Henrys house, she spies a white doe and tries following it, to avail. It is too fast for her. She stumbles on an old cabin, which she tries to clean up and make her own.
The start of school is no joyous event. Although she wasnt formally schooled, Zoe is a great reader, from which she has absorbed a great deal of knowledge. So school itself and mingling with children her own age, which she had not done, is stressful and at times boring. Especially when Hargrove Peters keeps staring at her in class.
Wild Things is a coming of age story about Zoe (and Cmere) learning to trust and coming to love the adults around her. It is beautifully written. It is populated by wonderful characters including Uncle Henry, both rough and tender, his assistant Fred and Freds wife Bessie, sources of company, wisdom and love, and Maud who turns out to be Zoes grandmother and an avid friend of animals. What caught me at the start was the first chapter was told by Cmere who reminisces about the various previous occupants of the house. Interspersed with Zoes story are Cmeres musing, thoughts and feelings. Wild Things has everything a good book needs&action, great characters, happiness, sadness and wonderful writing. Treat yourself to Wild Things by Clay Carmichael.