Jaimee Wriston Colbert has created an incredible connection between the endangered nature of humans and the environment around them. Wild Things is a collection of linked stories that showcase desperation and heartbreak felt by both humans and animals, and the landscape they are all trying to survive in. Colbert crafts a world all readers will be able to vividly picture, and that's if they haven't already experienced the all too true reality in each of the stories.
In “Wild Things-1,” Jones’s dark childhood is brought to light, and, with the addition of this knowledge, the reader is forced to look at both the pros and cons of the hostage situation going on in his home. “She liked the buzzing, electric feel of her skin when she smoked, how it made her feel happy and excited like something good was coming her way—like Christmas morning.” Louie is a sweet girl, but her search for a temporary happiness lands her in the wrong crowd. Jones notices a man giving her drugs and forcing himself on her, so he steps in to help. Unfortunately, his version of help is keeping her tied up in a house forever. In alternating point of views, the reader is exposed to the dark world these two characters inhabit. Maybe, just maybe, it would be better if humans disappeared and the world was left once again to the wild.
“A Kind of Extinction” highlights the back home, rural life that many of these characters live in. “‘You're a Big Girl!’ Mum says when Fortune comes wailing into their room at night after one of her bad dreams, ‘Go back to bed.’ Like size has anything to do with being afraid.” Fortune’s mother has better things to do than comfort her big, little girl. Like debunking global warming as a hoax, but, if it’s real, then great because, “that's where the yuppies and liberals live.” Fortune is denied love and attention from her parents, so she takes up spying on the neighbors instead. It’s on these spy missions that she discovers the girl tied up in a man’s house, but because her parents don't care enough to talk to her, she never tells anyone her secret.
“What is the line for this, where on one side of it we hold forth, soldier on; step over it we slit our wrists.” “This Is a Success Story” is anything but a success. Monty’s mother killed herself, her numerous boyfriends used and abused her, and she lost custody of her son. These issues are ignored for too long, and eventually they manifest in an attraction to young boys and an obsession with diseases. “It was Freddy’s hands . . . I put mine over his and felt that sixteen-year-old fire.” Monty knows she's doomed, but she can’t help but act on her desires. Freddy is the son that was taken from her, and they bond over their knowledge of wildlife.
Wild Things explores the vast human condition while mirroring the ecological issues going on in the world around us. The stories are mesmerizing, and their connection is masterfully done. Jaimee Wriston Colbert has succeeded in writing multidimensional characters who find peace from their crumbling lives, in the wild things that surround them.