Reading Wild

I recently heard an interview with the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail on the Diane Rehm show. I’m a sucker for a memoir; I love to peek into the lives of others, partly because I am nosy and partly to glean something from someone else’s life experience. So I added the book to my “to read” list and devoured it this past weekend.

Cheryl Strayed did not disappoint me. I’m not giving away anything that isn’t on the book jacket when I say that her life hit amazing lows in the four years after the death of her mother, which occurred when she was 22 years old. In an attempt to reclaim herself, Cheryl decided to hike 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. By herself.  With no backpacking experience.

The writing is entertaining, raw, funny, and lyrical. The story has been percolating inside Strayed in the 20 years since she took the hike. She wrote the memoir using her journal and the recollections of people she met along the way. She acknowledges that her memories of events might represent only one possible version of how the events actually occurred, and I believe the story is also influenced by the person and writer she has become since then.

I am impressed by the personal journey of Cheryl Strayed. She undertook her hike in the days before cell phones and iPods. Her days were filled with her own thoughts, pain, joy, and boredom. I think you would have to make a more conscious effort to take such a trip today.

After reading Wild, I am adding Strayed’s other works to my “to read” list: Torch, and the Dear Sugar column.

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