I read Wild last month for The Chronicles Book Club (feel free to join us!) and there were some parts that I loved and some parts that I didn't love, but overall I enjoyed it. Before we get into that, here is the book synopsis from Goodreads:
"At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought 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 impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her."
What I Loved:
I really loved Cheryl's bravery and independence for setting out on this journey to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own, with absolutely no prior backpacking experience. I know it's not something I would ever be brave enough to try, but I like that she just took charge and decided to do it. She did a lot of research and planned out where to stop and where to send her supplies and it just strikes me as adventurous and ballsy.
I also really enjoyed the friendships she made on the trail. It was cool to see how the shared experience of hiking the trail made them form tight-knit connections.
I appreciated her honesty in some of the extremely difficult moments she shared - her mother's death, the emotional distance of her family, the breakdown of her marriage, drugs, etc. Sharing those moments in her life gives us a glimpse into why she made some of the choices that she did and what was going through her mind at that time.
What I Didn't Love:
Now, I know I just said I appreciated her honesty about the difficult moments, but I think there were some things that I really just couldn't relate to - like her experimentation with drugs and the destruction she caused in her marriage to a man that she admits was wonderful to her. It was hard for me to suppress the urge to shake her and ask her what the hell she was doing. But it's easy to sit on the outside and judge, it's an entirely different thing to experience those moments first hand. So, I stand by my respect for her honesty through her struggles.
- “I didn't feel sad or happy. I didn't feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I'd done wrong, in getting myself here, I'd done right.”
- “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”
- “I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”
- “Within forty minutes, the voice inside my head was screaming, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?"
Have you read Wild? What did you think? And have you seen the movie? I'd love to hear your thoughts!