Home > 2010, 21st Century, American Literature, Bradbury Jamey, Gallmeister, Nature Writing, Novel, Thriller > The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury – Born to be wild

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury – Born to be wild

November 28, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury (2018) French title Sauvage. Translated by Jacques Mailhos.

Jamey Bradbury was born in 1979 in the Midwest and Alaska has been her home for fifteen years. The Wild Inside is her debut novel.

Tracy is seventeen years old and lives in Alaska with her younger brother Scott and her father Bill. Her mom died about a year ago and the three of them had to adjust and go on with their lives as best as they can. Bill is a musher, he used to compete in the Iditarod race and his wife was his partner in this. She helped preparing and training the dogs. Everything fell apart when she died. Bill had to find other ways to support his family, to raise his children alone and to cope with his grief.

This is the background story of Tracy. High school is not her cup of tea. She loves nothing more than hunting and racing with her dogs in the Alaskan wilderness. She sets traps in the forest to catch animals. She stays outdoor for hours, with her sleigh and her dogs. It is vital for her. She’s restless if she can’t hike in the forest everyday. She competes in the Junior Iditarod and she’s passionate about her sport.

Like her mother, Tracy has a special way to connect with animals and the wilderness around her. She relies on instinct, on a unique way to plug her brain to the nature around her, to be attuned to it the way animals are.

Tracy struggles with this new life. She misses her mother and even more since she was the only one who knew and understood Tracy’s gift. She doesn’t like her father’s choices: she wants to compete again, to train the dogs but they can’t afford to hire staff to take over her mother’s workload. Bill doesn’t want her to spend so much time in the wilderness hunting with the dogs. Whatever. Tracy will wait for him to sleep like a log to go out at night.

Tracy’s life changes when a man attacks her in the forest and she wakes up with blood on her. She’s certain that she has fatally injured him. Actually, Tom Hatch, her victim came to their house and her father took him to the ER. She knows he has survived but does he know that she kept his backpack with all his money? Will he come back for her? This possibility is constantly on her mind, fear impairing her thought process.

A short while later, a young man arrives at their property. Jesse saw the ad that Bill put up to rent a cabin on their land, in order to make a bit of money. Jesse proposes to trade work against rent and utilities. He soon makes himself indispensable to Bill and is a game changer in the family’s dynamics.

The Wild Inside is part thriller, part horror, part coming-of-age novel, a risky mix that Jamey Bradbury pulls off with the ease of an experienced writer. We wonder if Tracy is really in danger or if she’s so stressed about Tom Hatch that she makes up problems where there aren’t. I won’t say anything about the horror element as it would spoil the novel for a new reader. It was disturbing and unsettling, I didn’t know what to do with what I was reading. Jamey Bradbury kept me on my toes.

And along with the thriller/horror side, she manages to explore the quest of identity of the characters. Bill is trying to build a new life without his wife. Scott doesn’t find a comfortable place between his sister and his father as he doesn’t share their love for the outdoors. Tracy struggles to understand who she is, how to handle her gift. Her attraction to Jesse leads to an unsuspected surprise. Who is he? Where does he really come from and what brought him to Alaska?

The décor of the book is the incredible beauty of Alaska. I know that writers don’t have to write about something they know to picture it properly. However, I think that life in extreme conditions like Alaska or Wyoming winters are best described by writers who actually live there. They have a sense of the place, a knowledge of the climate and the wilderness that runs in their blood and seeps on the page. Jamey Bradbury makes you armchair travel to Alaska with Tracy and her dogs.

The Wild Inside came with my Kube subscription and I’ve never read anything like it. I had to put it down because I felt spooked by what I was reading. I was so unsettled at times that I almost abandoned it but I couldn’t. I had to know how things would end. One of my friends read it too and had the same reading experience. Unease, compulsion to finish and awe. What a book!

  1. Vishy
    November 28, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Loved your review, Emma! I’ve heard of Ray Bradbury and Malcolm Bradbury. It is nice to see a new Bradbury in town 😊 This book looks fascinating. It looks like the book brings alive the Alaskan landscape. The story looks gripping. The way Tracey and her mother connect with animals makes me think of Amy and her mother in the TV series ‘Heartland’ who have a similar gift. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 30, 2021 at 10:56 pm

      There was definitely enough space for such an excellent additional Bradbury!
      The landscape enhances the book and the story couldn’t be the same without Tracy’s runs in the wilderness.

      Like

  2. November 29, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    A fabulous review, this sounds very atmospheric and creepy and a real sense of place evoked. When you combine this kind of atmosphere with an avid reader imagination, I’m not not surprised you got spooked!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 30, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks Claire. That’s another great find by Gallmeister and yes, I was spooked at time. It’s a very original story.

      Like

  3. November 29, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    An Alaska setting can be so effective as a location especially for a story of psychological dread. Even some of the people who live there can evoke that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 30, 2021 at 10:54 pm

      I’m fascinated about living in such a cold environment. I can’t imagine how it is.

      Like

  4. December 4, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t read horror at all but this does appeal! It sounds a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 5, 2021 at 8:17 am

      Very atmospheric and totally unusual (at least to me)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. December 27, 2021 at 4:24 am

    You make this sound really enticing. And I *do* have a penchant for snowy tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 27, 2021 at 10:22 am

      It’s an unusual book.
      If you want to read about snow, there’s Encyclopaedia of Snow by Sarah Emily Miano.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. December 31, 2021 at 1:43 am

    Sadly because covid I cant do my hobby 😦

    Like

  1. January 8, 2022 at 7:40 pm

I love to hear your thoughts, thanks for commenting. Comments in French are welcome

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