Monday, November 25, 2013

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

While I've been disappeared from the internet, I actually have been doing some reading. Wild is one of those books that I'm horribly ashamed to admit that I had built up prejudice against without knowing a single thing about it. That was mostly due to the Oprah sticker on the cover. I could really write a post on the psychology behind this and perhaps I should....because I inherently don't have anything against Oprah nor the books she picks to read for her book club. I've actually liked all of the books that I've read that she's picked for her book club! I think it comes down to wanting your books to be special to you and kept all to yourself like a dearly beloved charm while at the same time singing it's praises and wanting the whole world to read can't have it both ways. I'm the same way with my favorite bands. I don't want them to be "Top 40 bands" but at the same time I wish everyone listened to them and that they had success. Where's Freud when you need him?

Ana was my Freud for this book. And she broke the spell by basically writing a review that said "just read it" (it said oh so much more than that but there was no other option in my head after reading her review :p). And read it I did. And I fell in love with it from the very first page, down to the last sentence which is a sentence that will stick with me forever, being so poignant and profound for my current state in life right now. When I got to that sentence I found myself reading it over and over and over again, falling more in love with it and making it my new mantra. But you'll have to read the book to get to that last sentence.

Wild is all about journeys. It's Cheryl Strayed's memoir of hiking over 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail following the death of her mother from cancer, the end of her marriage, and just a general time of her being at a place where she needed to find herself. My life circumstances right now aren't near as drastic as Strayed's, but I find myself at that crossroads right now too....a place where redefinition is called for. Not that I want to change who I am in the least bit, but perhaps some outlooks need to be adjusted.

This book is just as much about Strayed's physical journey on the trail as it is about her emotional journey and her past, and both are remarkable. They're both terrifying at times, painful at times, but there are moments that are truly priceless and things that one wouldn't give up for the world. Things that won't ever be experienced again. This book made me want to go buy a backpack and a pair of boots and head for the Pacific Crest Trail with just me and my thoughts until I reminded myself of the wear and tear on Strayed's body and unpreparedness that she herself had, though she had enormous kindness along the way. But it did leave me thinking that this is something that I do want to do one day.

More than anything this is a book that felt like a gift and something I absolutely loved and cherished and I have to say thank you to Ana, because I really never would've read this book if it weren't for her.


Debi said...

OMG, I so love what you said about simultaneously wanting to keep books to yourself and wanting the whole world to read them! It's so true! But you know, I think even if the whole world is in love with a book, everyone's love is unique to them. So much of oneself goes into the experience of reading a book that even though we appreciate so many of the same things about it, it's still going to be at its core a very personal, very individual reaction.

Beth F said...

Well shoot. I had written this one off because I read a few negative reviews from fellow bloggers. Now you and Ana are making me think that I should dig it out again. I think I need to know which side of the scale I'm on.

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

You're most welcome, my dear. Now you need to read Tiny Beautiful Things, which is even better. That book was a life saviour for me this year, and I say this with no amount of hyperbole.

Susan said...

Wow, I've been meaning to pick this book up, but somehow it gets left aside. No longer! lol good review, and it really got you where you needed it,didn't it? I love it when books do that, when they reach in and give us that wisdom/magic touch, aha! moment.

I like her idea of walking that trail, and in another alternate universe I'd do it. Or if I were 20 years younger.