Book Review: Wild about ‘Wild’
There are few times while reading a book that I’ve actually derived a bit of enjoyment from seeing the main character suffer. The book “Wild,” a memoir of the rarest kind, digs into a coal mine of mixed emotions and clueless decisions only to pull out a brilliant diamond that I can’t wait to buy and read again.
Author Cheryl Strayed made the self-inflicted suffering of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail dramatically addicting through bleeding blisters and hypothermia, extreme dehydration and bears. Night after night, I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t stop reading of her failed water purifiers, dead toenails and lost Band Aids.
The book begins by describing Strayed’s earlier life. Having grown up in a small Minneapolis town, Strayed found her life in shambles. Seperated from her husband, picking up shifts waitressing at a local eatery and painfully orphaned after her mother died of cancer at 45.
In attempts to shelve these shambles and shake her crippling depression, Strayed decided to hike the 2,663-miles from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon to Washington State along the trail, the PCT.
Throughout the trip, Strayed found herself in some of the worst conditions a human body can withstand. Some of the conditions were mental, others physical. But it wasn’t her case of bad luck, nor her dark view on life-altering events from her past that kept me reading at high speed – it’s the transformation.
Strayed’s unique and brutal transformation is the key to this book – it’s the absolute driving force that comes through so strongly in her quietly riveting writing. She’s unsteady, yet still strong, completely unsure of what she’s gotten herself into, yet still so blindly persistant. Cheryl Strayed and her wrenching story of her experience on the PCT has taught me a new mantra, “blindly persistant,” and has given me a new view on what we can truly be capable of.
This is the perfect book to read in the summer months. “Wild” will, without a doubt, open up a small piece of the adventurer in you. Every chapter will awaken the eyes of the nature-lover that you didn’t know you were. Each page of Wild is like a single step on the gravelly path of the PCT——–— one must come after another and after another.
Chloe Rambo can be reached at email@example.com.