Book Review: Wild

I’m a little behind in sharing my latest reads with you – this one I actually read during the Christmas holidays. But, I wanted to share it with you because I really enjoyed it and thought it worth passing along as a recommendation.

What were you doing at twenty-two?

I know what I was NOT doing at that age – and that was contemplating taking off anywhere on my own for any length of time. Much less changing my name, leaving behind all that was familiar to me, and striking off on a hike ALONE along the Pacific Coast Trail.

But that is exactly what Cheryl Strayed did.

And then, eventually, chronicled the entire experience into this story – Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail.

The book is really, at its essence, a story about overcoming tragic circumstances and finding at the core of oneself strength and peace.

At times the book was difficult to read – “watching” the self-destructive behavior of a person who was lost and searching – reading about the pain and heartbreak of her mother’s death and the disintegration of her marriage and family afterwards – the mother in me wanted to comfort the girl-child in the book and tell her it would all be okay.  Strayed’s brutal honesty with her emotions, her actions, and her motivations both enthralled me and broke my heart.

And yet, there were parts that were charming and I cheered her on as she found her inner strength, learned to survive along the trail and even found peace and solace from her solitary journey.  In some ways, I envied that journey of discovery – when you’re left with nothing but yourself to rely on and your own mind to spur you on.

I can’t say that I ever considered hiking a trail (not even the Appalachian, which is close to home) with anyone, much less all alone.  And most definitely not at twenty-two years old. The extremity of what Strayed did was in proportion to the misery that she was in – finding herself all alone with ties to her life severed – partly out of her control and partly of her own choosing.  That she was able to complete the journey, physically and metaphorically, speaks to her strength and tenacity.  That she’s taken the story and turned it into a best seller speaks to her savvy.

Bottom line –

Would I recommend it? Most definitely.  Not my normal genre to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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