By Ekta R. Garg
February 24, 2016
Rated: Bordering on Bypass it
Two women encounter the Colorado wilderness on a course to each other. As they move forward on their individual paths, they must each deal with the people and situations that have hurt them in the past and find the mental and emotional fortitude to bring a positive outcome to the future. Author Diane Les Becquets shares with readers her first novel for adults in the well-intentioned but ultimately faulty novel Breaking Wild.
Amy Raye Latour sets out alone early in the morning during a hunting trip with two friends. An experienced hunter, Amy Raye clears the solo expedition with her friends ahead of time and prepares for her side excursion with all of the necessary equipment. Along with everything else, she carries the burdens of her past. A horrific childhood experience has set her on a path of self-destruction, and Amy Raye struggles with the temptation to continue on that path. Coming to the quiet of the woods helps keep her focused on the right choice.
In her pursuit of the elk, Amy Raye gets injured and lost. Things start to get worse when the weather turns and snow becomes imminent. What should have taken hours turns into a much longer time frame, and now all Amy Raye Latour wants is to go home to the husband who loves her despite her past.
Pru Hathaway, an experienced ranger, gets the call that Amy Raye is lost. She sets out with Kona, her rescue dog, by her side and leads a team to look for the lost hunter. The weather turns them back much sooner than they want, however; despite all of the experience and team members in the area willing to look for Amy Raye, they must pull back to keep themselves safe so they can begin searching again as soon as the weather breaks.
As she does her best to balance her work with life as a single mother, Pru can’t help but think about Amy Raye. The arrival of Amy Raye’s husband intensifies Pru’s desire to find the hunter. The circumstances and lapse of time start pointing to the need for a mission of recovery of a body as opposed to rescue of a missing person, but Pru can’t—or won’t; she can’t decide—let it go. One way or the other, she’s determined to find Amy Raye.
Author Diane Les Becquets gives readers her first adult novel in Breaking Wild. She’s written young adult books before Breaking Wild, and in some ways her adult debut contains a simplistic setup reminiscent of YA fare. Amy Raye and Pru don’t meet for most of the book, their stories running parallel until the climax. Their meeting, while important, doesn’t ultimately change either character. The approach of this emotionally charged story may leave readers with the feeling that Pru and Amy Raye didn’t necessarily need one another for emotional healing; they would have achieved it eventually, independently.
The book’s description of the harsh Colorado landscape will draw readers into the story, although the portions dealing with Amy Raye’s methods for hunting and Pru’s approach to her rescue work do become weighed down by too many details. Les Becquets errs on the side of information dumps so often that as the book progresses readers could skim whole sections and still glean the major points of the story. She teases out whether Amy Raye will be rescued alive or dead until the last few pages, and readers will stop caring about the minutiae of hunting and rescue missions in order to find out whether Amy Raye survives.
I recommend Borrowing Breaking Wild for those who enjoy stories where a character’s physical surroundings transform into a life metaphor. Other readers might find Amy Raye’s history slightly disturbing and downright sad. Pru’s nobility might have saved the book, but with Amy Raye as the other protagonist readers might consider Bypassing Breaking Wild.