My Heart is a Little Wild Thing - Book Review
Teenaged Patrick is growing up in the 1980s, under the shadow of the deadly virus, AIDS, and the knowledge that revealing his true self to his well-to-do, strait-laced family is simply not an option. And so, to make himself acceptable to both his family and the world at large, Patrick hides the growing attraction he feels toward other boys.
The youngest of three siblings, Patrick’s relationship with his mother becomes more intense, as his much elder brother and sister begin to spread their wings and move away. A sensitive child, Patrick craves approval, and learns to acquiesce even the least of his needs and desires in favour of those of his cold, patrician mother.
As time goes by and his mother’s needs increase, good son, Patrick, finds himself becoming her full-time carer. As his siblings move to far-flung locations and start families of their own, Patrick becomes her only support, both emotionally and in a practical sense. His own life becomes severely compromised and the strain of constant repression and sacrifice culminates in an uncharacteristic act of violence.
Nigel Featherstone’s easy, conversational style draws you into the story like a fireside chat. The intimate, confessional tone carries you into Patrick’s world, with his love of nature, his deep connection to family and his secret desires. As the story unfolds, Patrick begins to glimpse the possibilities beyond his circumscribed existence, and his wild little heart can no longer be denied.
My Heart is a Little Wild Thing is a beautifully written and powerful story about the importance of being true to yourself and honouring that which is most essential to your nature. It is a cautionary tale about living your life to please other people, and the inevitability that eventually the truth will out.
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