Monday, September 16, 2013

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

When Cheryl Strayed finally reached the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River, ending her trek up the Pacific Crest Trail, she was both happy with her accomplishment and sad that her adventure was at an end. She had found strength that she did not know she had, survived dangerous situations, and encountered a great variety of people, many of whom helped her reach her destination. Her feet were sore, and she relished the idea of eating well again, but she wondered what she would do with her life, still almost penniless and without a plan.

I too am a bit happy and sad having now finished her book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I knew that she would survive and was pretty sure that she reached her goal by the fact that she had written her book, but I was still relieved to get to witness her completion. I hoped as I read that she would remake her life, associate with more sensible people for a change, overcome addictions, and find meaning in her life. But I will miss her story telling, which made me long to take off on such a trip myself, despite the heat, cold, hunger, and sheer difficulty of the hike. That's not to say I would do things her way. I'd have funds to eat better when I got to the "resorts." But she did not have that luxury.

I listened to Wild read by the winner of 2009 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense, Bernadette Dunne. Luckily for me, I had much late season gardening and a fairly long drive to attend a meeting, so I could finish the eleven discs in six days.

Though she finishes with a quick what-has-happened-to-me-since, I think she may have a good story about how she got on with her life. It might be harder to write and not as easy to sell to the reading public, but little was really resolved just by the hike. There must be more. Her collection of essays Tiny Beautiful Things might suffice in the meantime.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 315p. ISBN 9780307592736.


laura said...

Her novel Torch is also quite wonderful, and it was recently reissued as a trade paperback.

I remember reading Strayed's essays in literary magazines years and years ago. It's been great to see her make the bigtime.

ricklibrarian said...

Thanks, Laura. I understand that her novel is based on her mother's story, which of course is part of this story in a way.