How you feel about the movie adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are will doppelganger how you feel about this book, I almost guarantee. If what you hated about the movie was that it was on film then hey, this version of the movie is made of paper, so knock yourself out. If what you hated, on the other hand, was the direction Eggers and Jonze took, Eggers takes the exact same direction with maybe two or three side paths. Consider yourself braced.
The Wild Things want to eat him, as Wild Things are wont to do, but he outwits them and becomes their king and makes everything good for everyone always, except that it’s hard to make everything good for everyone always (especially when Things are prone to gnawing on other Things and when two of the Things appear to have a romantic past and one of the Things probably needs counselling) and Max learns some valuable lessons about Responsibility.
And I love it. I love how EggersJonze imbue the original book with backstory and motivation and give a fascinatingly weird story some flesh. I see this as analogous to fairy tale retellings, where what is usually quite a spare little tale is expanded and re-imagined and tricked out in fancy dress, and JonzeEggers’ Wild Things is no more authoritative than Disney’s The Little Mermaid (except that Maurice Sendack is still alive and had some say, whereas Hans Christian Anderson has been rolling in his grave for centuries and I don’t think Walt shot him a memo) but this refurbishing means that our favorite stories will never die.
Ok but what think you? About the adaptations of this one? About fairy tale adaptations altogether? Is this the start of an onslaught of Children’s Books 2.0, in which we’ll be seeing a film version of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (which I would totally see because the pigeon is very persuasive)?
Thanks to RandomHouse for the review copy, even though it wasn’t the furry one.
I give this one eight caterpillars (wild ones).