So my book club finished with this memoir over 2 months ago. And I read it along with them, after picking it up in an airport shop. (I know, how much more cliche could I get?) But despite the enormous amount of time it took me to finish Wild, and the lag time between then and now, it still resonates with me, which I think really says something about how good it is.
If you haven’t seen the Reese Witherspoon movie version (and I haven’t), the general story is this: Girl loses mom. Girl loses husband. Girl starts on a self-destructive spiral. Girl randomly decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, thousands of miles from the California desert up through the rainy Northwest. Girl faces numerous “are you kidding me?” obstacles and cheats death multiple times. And as you’d guess, girl discovers along the way why she is making this journey, and where it will lead her.
I didn’t want to get too specific because there are so many gems of moments and vignettes along the way. What I can expound upon is the quality of the writing. Since Hollywood had co-opted the book, I figured it was probably just pulp nonfiction. So I was amazed by how well-crafted it is—not just the storytelling, though that is excellent too (save for the ending, which felt rather flaccid and tacked-on to me). It’s just as much the words Cheryl Strayed chooses, and the way she weaves them into a splendid tapestry. I really respected her as a writer, and part of the reason I dragged my feet (no pun intended) was that I truly didn’t want the book to end.
Lots of things in life are like that. But sometimes they slip away, despite our best efforts. And we struggle to make what meaning we can of them.
Not all of us are going to hike a long and unforgiving trail to find our path in life. But we change, and we can all benefit, every now and then, from time away from our reality and our obligations. So yes, Blog 5B is going on hiatus. (What, you mean it wasn’t already on hiatus, given the ridic length of time between posts?) But I may jump back on the trail again, when I feel ready and if I have something worth saying. If I do, I hope to share the walk with you again.