Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Patricia Gaffney - Wild at Heart

They called him the "lost man." Raised in the wood, without speech, without civilization, he was beautifully, wonderfully wild. And when he was captured and locked away to be studied by scientists, he was treated more like an animal than a human being.
Only Sydney, daughter of a renowned anthropologist, looked beyond the wildness to see the man. Something in his fierce loneliness called to her, imploring her to help him, to save him, to make him her friend. But the world was not nearly so understanding. And soon, still haunted by the mysterious tragedy of his past, he wanted more from her than friendship. He wanted all of her -- her love, her heart, and her soul...

Comment: I've had this book in the pile for a long time but it's one of those that arrives and stays there for a good while before it finally gets picked...unfortunately, this happens with my poor books, but well, better late than never. I was curious to read this book because it had a sort of Tarzan vibe and I'm gad I did because I really liked it.
In this book we follow the story of Michael, a man rescued from the wilderness in Canada and brought to stay at an anthropologist's house because he wanted to study him as a man who never had human contact. The scientists want to know how growing up alone would affect Michael's behavior but their exams turn out to be pointless when they realize he had had a family until a certain age.
In the house lives Sidney, the anthropologist's daughter, recently widowed and the person who mostly wants Michael to remember his life, his family bonds and she tries to help him read, write, paint...the connection between then grows and they become more than friends. But he's just a wild man, isn't he?
I truly liked this story. I think the romance was a sweet, heartfelt bond between two characters I grew up to care about while reading. The author really hit it off with this story by presenting two good characters whose romance I was so happy to see develop.
Michael is a man rescued from the wilderness and thought to be a wild man, someone without human contact throughout his whole life and scientist seem to think he is a good case study, they try to study if he really had no human stimuli and how that would affect his behavior and reactions to not only humans, but society in general. They try to read his behavior and present him with tests to determine how his brain works. At some point things change but not before Michael and Sidney start to develop a slow but steady romance.
I liked this story and how we are presented to Michael, the possibilities of someone living or existing like him and then being confronted to a big city, many people, situations where he would be uncomfortable or put aside. It was an interesting idea and certainly valid among scientists. Of course, the best part was to see how Michael would react being in contact with others, his specific responses to different people and his growing feelings towards Sidney. It was particularly interesting to know his thoughts about mundane things and realize the simplicity of many things that we choose to complicate.
Michael has hidden depths and a very human past which makes him not as amazing as the doctor who takes him up to study thought he was. But Michael's way of thinking is unique and that makes his heart special as well. I really liked him and how sweet, fair and dedicated he was to those he cherished.
Sidney is the heroine. I confess I wasn't very fond of her at first, but as time went by and she grew to love and care for Michael, she started to look nicer to me and worthy of being with someone as wonderful as Michael. I think she obviously is the embodiment of reality, a conscious person to be the opposite of almost dreamy Michael, but I liked the contrast between them, their developing romance, the way their relationship was balanced and based on trust and real feelings.
The book is good for me. I think it was a bit more fantasy-like than one could expect but always based on quite believable ideas and concepts, after all everything was possible...maybe except the zoo scene but the way things ended was so sweet, so perfect, so romantic that it does give hope to all dreamers out there that sometimes it's good to wish for better, special things. I know some readers might consider it too sugary, too unrealistic, but the fantasy part of t is precisely that.
I really liked to spend time in such a place and just let myself go within the story and not think about reality. In this aspect, the book totally worked out for me and it's a good reason to consider it a success.
Grade: 9/10

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