Savage Girl


Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman.

It was hard work reading this book. I had to force myself to continue reading to the end. The story didn’t flow for me. There was too much extra information that did not actually contribute to the story. If you’ve ever tried searching for writing tips, one will likely pop out frequently: create a detailed backstory for every character. Its like the author decided to put all the details of the backstory into the book. I don’t understand why. If it was supposed to provide insight into the characters, I don’t think it was much help.

Then there are the characters. The story was overcrowded with characters. I feel like the point of these characters was just to show how great Bronwyn was.

There is Beverly Willets who seems like such a gentleman until he rapes his friend’s ex-fiance, leading to her death.

Song Tu-Li, the maid who stabs a man like she is taking a sip of afternoon tea. What is this woman’s story? You can’t deny there is one after such an action.

The berdache, Tahktoo, he/she seems to exist merely to confound people in the story. He exists to prove a point (that Freddy Delegate likes to collect strange people) but his existence itself seems pointless. Then there is the baseless-unshakable confidence and love he (and Tu-Li) has for Bronwyn. Did I miss something in the story?

Then there is Freddy Delegate and Anna-Maria, the parents of Hugo Delegate and adopted parents of Bronwyn. They are rich. Other than that, I hardly have anything to say for them except that I didn’t like them much.

Hugo Delegate, the protagonist of this story. I would have to say reading this story was mostly like being in his head. It would have been fine if the lawyer had not destroyed it by questioning his story near the end. That threw me off. Clingy, whiny, stalker-ish and his ability to jump to a conclusion so fast he would’ve broken his head is astounding. He did not grow up in the story at all, he did not have a smart moment (at least that I can remember of).

Bronwyn, the savage girl. I find stories in which practically everyone falls in love with the female protagonist unbelievable, hence annoying. I feel like she could have been a wonderful character, but told from Hugo’s perspective (with a mix of his musings), she fell flat.

There was no chemistry between Hugo and Bronwyn. I do not know why she fell in love with Hugo, they rarely spent time together. On Hugo’s part, it just seems like lust.

The author has tied off the story with a neat ending, which honestly seemed hasty and abrupt to me.


Goodreads Insert: Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society.

Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.

Zimmerman’s tale is narrated by the Delegate’s son, a Harvard anatomy student. The tormented, self-dramatizing Hugo Delegate speaks from a prison cell where he is prepared to take the fall for his beloved Savage Girl. This narrative—a love story and a mystery with a powerful sense of fable—is his confession.

Savage Girl
Jean Zimmerman
Published 6th March 2014


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