Monday, August 12, 2013


By Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed though she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most implusive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise. But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.


Wow. This book really has me reeling. Not a good reeling either.  There was so much that really frustrated me and left me so angry that I wanted to yell and cry at the same time. I will say this much for the author: she knows how to work emotion. I had the same problem I always have with memoir: my beliefs mess with my ability to be objective.  Her life was a big huge mess, and I congratulate her on being so open and honest, that can be really hard, I know. Grief affects everyone differently and this is just one woman’s reaction and subsequent descent into madness and eventual realization. Her life was riddled with sex and drugs, and she doesn’t skirt around the fact that she enjoyed it, though it was all “recreational”. Just one point of the book and message that I was upset about and completely and strongly disagreed with; she cheated on her husband because her mother died and she was missing something. Again, everyone deals with, or doesn’t deal with, grief in their own way. Another thing, warning there are probably over a hundred instances of the f-word in this book, a point which had me reeling (in the bad way) wondering if anybody really said it with that much frequency and without batting an eyelash about it. Wow. But honestly, the one thing in the entire book that had me hating it was the offhand way the author addressed the fact that her heroine buddy had gotten her pregnant and she just automatically got an abortion. I think in the entire book it comprised 3 sentences. I was taken aback by how easy that decision was for her. Being very strongly against abortion, this not only upset me, but I was downright livid, an emotion I don’t often find myself feeling. I tried to work my way past it and enjoy her story of hiking, but I got tangled up in my own opinion and just couldn’t get past it. I can’t give this book any sort of good rating because it seemingly promotes terrible lifestyle choices like drugs and one night stands by making them seem normal and commonplace, and in the end, not really of that great of importance. I believe that the more that certain things are talked of, the more they gain power, words are powerful and I don’t like the fact that a vast majority of this book is profane and dealing with unsavory life choices. I have nothing against the author, this just wasn’t for me.


I give it a 1 ½ out of 5 because it was well-written and formatted and had interesting information on long-distance hiking and those who experience it.

No comments:

Post a Comment