Wild

wildThe book Wild by Cheryl Strayed is the next book for my work book group and I had been wanting to see what all the hype was about, so I dutifully checked it out of the library and read it in 3 days.

Wild is the story of Cheryl’s life and her hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.

First, what I enjoyed about this book.  Wild takes you on a journey within a journey, an outside observer watching Cheryl overcome obstacles and finish her hike.  You felt like you were with her on the trail (but without the blisters).  Somehow you start feeling drawn to your local REI.  It’s very easy to get caught up in this book.

There is plenty of adventure in the journey.  Strayed was clearly unprepared for what she was getting herself into and you are constantly wondering how she will get herself out of the latest mess.

Now, the things I didn’t like about this book.  I didn’t really like Cheryl.  That may be a small thing, but when a book is about one woman’s journey to overcome the odds and you’re not really pulling for that one woman….  She seemed very full of herself.  The flashbacks to her life before the Trail make her seem like a not very good person.  I’m not being judgemental, but when one of her complaints early on is about the bruising around her ankle due to the last time she shot up heroin, I really can’t relate to her.

A lot of the drama in the book seems a little overdrawn.  That’s not to say that I don’t think a 100 day hike through the wilderness, alone and with very little money doesn’t have a lot of drama.  It just seemed that things were a little pumped up to sell books.  The opening scene of loosing one of her boots makes it seem like she will be walking the whole trail barefoot, when, in reality (spoiler alert) she’s not far from the post office where a brand new pair of boots await.

This is an interesting book for those who love the sad story meets adversity and finds happy story kind of memoirs.  I’m not sure why it has had the mass appeal that it has though.

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