I’ve been able to avoid Wild for quite some time now, but after the Gilmore Girls revival, one of my book club friends decided that we should read it. My own personal experiences and Cheryl’s cloud my judgement on whether or not it was a good book. Strayed lost her mother to cancer in her mid twenties, I lost my dad to a motorcycle accident when I was 23. Both of us lost our center and while I had a support system (who was also grieving), Strayed didn’t. Both of us turned to self-destructive behaviors (although, I never went so far as doing heroin) and both of us realized we needed to come to terms with ourselves and figure out what to do next. That’s where we separate. I went back to school and became a teacher. She decided to hike the Pacific CrestTrail and find herself; but before she does, she destroys her marriage, gets involved with a heroin addict, and becomes one herself (although it’s kind of breezily touched on, like she just did some heroin when she felt like it…maybe…but unlikely).
I think that the book was fine, if not a little (a lot monotonous). We get descriptions of views, we get descriptions of camaraderie on the trail, we get how hard it was and how she clearly wasn’t prepared for the undertaking (this BOTHERED me so much. She was so flippant about not having prepared and it drove me absolutely insane)… we get lots of stuff–but I don’t know if it’s the stuff I wanted. Well, I didn’t want to read the book in the first place. People said it was kind of like Eat, Pray, Love except with hiking…I couldn’t stand the author of Eat, Pray, Love and quite frankly, I wonder how long Cheryl Strayed and I could be in a room together without me rolling my eyes at her or thinking that she was pretentious. I think that it was really awesome that she was able to complete her hike and that she was able to grieve and get to the bottom of her pain, eventually being able to move on and have (what appears to be) a really good life.
So yeah, this review just wiffle waffles around because the book was a quick read and I was able to relate to Strayed early on but then we quickly deviated. I couldn’t help groaning over her “new” last name, every time she was down to two pennies, any time she drank all of her water without knowing that there was more available. I think if they made a drinking game about how bad she was as a hiker, we’d all die of alcohol poisoning…
But then my opinion doesn’t really matter to that end because she accomplished what she set out to do and I know in my heart of hearts that I would’ve bagged it early on if I experienced the setbacks, pain and just doing it on her own. In fact, it would’ve never crossed my mind to ever want to hike over 1,000 miles. So, read it if you want. I’m not recommending it to my friends (they probably all already read it), but it’s not a bad book…it just seems to be missing really crucial parts that would allow you to understand how Strayed ticks and I wondered as I read whether or not that was by design.