This week’s Five Star recommendation is Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
Wild was a great read for me because it opened my mind to an experience so different from my own. Strayed is an impulsive, contemplative, observant, and often funny narrator. If you have not yet read her book, perhaps consider this best selling memoire.
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 impusive 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 spleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Being a nonfiction fan and a backpacker, myself, I knew I would like Wild; however, I didn’t know just how powerful a story it would be.
Right from the beginning of the story, Strayed loses her mother to cancer. Her world slowly crumbles before her, destroying her marriage and then her life when she starts using heroin. At last, Strayed has a sobering experience that causes her to change her life course and start anew, beginning with a long treck that will change her life forever.
Strayed runs into many problems though. For one, she has never backpacked before starting this new adventure. Everyone told her how crazy that was, hiking one of the longest, most difficult trails that most people train years to treck. Still, Strayed sets out with no training, only textbook experience. After publishing Wild, Strayed has even been relentlessly criticized by backpackers for her lack of judgement, but in the end, she did it. She makes a lot of mistakes along the way, gets into dangerous situation, but she comes out better for it, and if you read Wild, you will too.
It’s one of those stories that is funny, heart-wrenching, pensive, and stunningly beautiful. Many of the most vivid scenes still stick with me today.
So as the temperature outside drops, try curling up with a cup of tea, a fall candle, and a copy of Wild today!
And if you’ve already read it, you can check out the movie at the library!