Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying that I strongly recommend that you read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar BEFORE you read this one ... a friends suggested that to me and she was spot on! If you enjoy Cheryl's voice in Tiny Beautiful Things, then Wild is likely to really resonate with you.
So, a book that centers around hiking really didn't seem like a memoir that I'd have any interest in reading. I read it primarily because I loved Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and thought even Cheryl Strayed could probably make hiking interesting to me. And was I right! This is a beautifully written memoir that is about so much more than hiking. It's worth every moment to experience this book!
Cheryl's voice isn't for everyone - she's a very complicated, flawed woman but I just love her voice. It speaks to me, resonates with me. I wish that I had an in real life friend like her. She has insight and a view of life that I really find compelling. I know that others have complained of the use of the f-word but that doesn't bother me a bit. In fact, it's a word that I believe is the best word for certain situations so I was fine with that aspect of the book. Is she self-indulgent? Perhaps but, honestly, most of us are. And I appreciate her honesty about even the ugliest aspects of her life and experiences. She doesn't shirk from the truth regardless of how it might make her 'look' to others. I respect that and think the world might be a better place if more of us lived authentically and didn't lie to ourselves about what we've done or what we want.
There is so much here that goes beyond hiking - the mother/daughter relationship, family dynamics, love, friendship, divorce, finding yourself, and owning your mistakes. I found all of it to be inspiring and honest and at times difficult to read. But, in the end, I feel like I'm a better person for having read this memoir ... and I am so glad that she was willing to show the world her true self - her mistakes, her monumentally flawed thinking (at times), her growth, and her journey to find herself and the life she wants. I found that inspiring, particularly since I'm in a place in my life where I'm doing some personal growth work.
Anyway, this is definitely a memoir that I recommend but know that it's not going to resonate with everyone. And, again, I recommend that you read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar before you read this one. If her voice speaks to you in that one, then this just might be a book you'll appreciate as much as I did!
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