BOOK REVIEW Wild Things by Laura Kay

March 5, 2024

Wild Things

Laura Kay

Review by Eric Page

El Evans is stuck in a dead-end job, hopelessly in unrequited love with her best friend, Ray, and in need of a major life change.

After a New Year’s resolution to ‘Be More Wild’, El is soon in possession of one tattoo, one  hangover and memories of one, very disappointing threesome,  but she’s trying and surely it can only get better?

Setting off with three friends; Ray the DIY expert, heartbroken Will and Instagram darling Jamie to do a ‘wild thing’ and fix up a dilapidated house on Instagram in a small country village El worries and reflects on her lost time &  her love life, grappling with a monumental all-consuming crush on her housemate Ray. Author Kays’ wonderful prose, picks up small, delightful moments of El’s life to sustain, embellish and empower living communally. Teasing us with the throbbing crush, stolen looks and burning touches of will they, won’t they possibilities of passion. There’s no surprises in what happens here, but that doesn’t diminish the narrative allure of its unfolding.

Living so close offers the opportunity to discover more about the others, their heartbreaks, their online influencing, and the reasons that brought them all together in the first place. Kay explores the dynamics of Queer chosen families with care, teasing out how trust, unconditional acceptance and daft Queer Joy can be ties that bind. These queer friendship are accepting, warm, messy, and believable and the interactions between these delightful characters made me laugh out loud, with some gloriously camp comedy touches and perfect timing folded in. The chickens & hens they adopt deserve a book of their own! The wider outside village life – its gossip, drama and interests, is an appealing foil to the emotional journeys of the housemates.

There’s a goofy joyful quality to this book, and to our charming protagonist El, she’s fumbling, but clever, astute but slightly shy, confident but unsure and blissfully unaware of some of the deeper feelings of the people around her, leading to plenty of humour and sensitive explorations of managing friendships and your own expectations of life.  The tremulous knowledge of being so close to her heart’s desire and having to the daily struggle of household tasks and chores is handled with a deft warmth that reminded me of how lovely author Kay’s writing can be. Kay is touch perfect with their throwaways, deeply insightful personal observations, and the small sentences we use on ourselves to keep our chins up.

It’s a frightfully British adventure, with an eye on the American market, but there’s no artifice here, in the same way that Tales of the City is intrinsically American, so Wild Things wears it’s small b britishness on it’s perfectly knitted sleeve.

An entrancing, delightful book about listening to your inner voice (and its deeper under currents of desire) and choosing the path less trodden, being impulsive, following your dreams and finding yourself out there, wild and energised. Left me smiling and warm, a real treasure of a Queer Rom Com.

Out now £9.99 ( Paperback)

For more info or to order the book see the publisher’s website here: