I recently read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I had bought it a while back on Kindle because it was on sale and after I started it I devoured it. And by devoured, I mean that I read it in two days, staying up until 4am to finish it because I just couldn’t put it down.
Admittedly, a book like Wild would speak to me. I do love redemption stories. I love them even more when they’re memoirs of real people.
Wild is about a girl who, after her whole life falls apart (her mom dies from cancer and she gets a divorce—although of course it’s so much more complicated than just that), decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail (or PCT). Now, I had never heard of the PCT, but I’ve heard of the AT and I once led a retreat on the movie The Way, which is about a man on el camino de Santiago (in Spain). I do know something about and love trail stories. I think that there’s just something transformational about that kind of challenge. I’ve always wanted to do a long distance (read: several month long) hike. Cheryl’s story only reiterated all the reasons I want to do so.
There are a few of things about Cheryl’s story that bother me, but there is a lot that I find inspirational. Because it’s a memoir, it’s not as though you can really critique the “plot” (although I will say sometimes I wanted to shake her and tell her to get the f*** over it), but as I was reading I found myself forgiving her stupid decisions because she describes her actions and motivations so clearly. Cheryl is a masterful storyteller and you can very clearly visualize the scenes that she shares, both the ones on the trail and the memories from before that led to her finding herself walking 1,100 miles on a trail she only barely knew about. I was impressed at how openly she shares some very raw, painful moments of her journey, including moments that she obviously regretted later.
This is truly the story of how a woman who was broken and angry with life found healing and peace. I think it’s a book that I will pick up again and again. I definitely recommend it. 5 stars!