Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review - Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This week my new book club gathered for the second time. My friend Ana was a wonderful host and we ate, drank, and chatted Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
I chose this image because I hate when they
put movie pictures on book covers.
So here's the original.

The actual full title of this book is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I picked this book up a while before my book club decided to read it. I think I was drawn to it because I have imagined that some of my life actions, while significantly less dramatic, have been taken as some sort of self-reinvention. Cheryl had an abusive father, she grew up in poverty, her mother dies, she is unfaithful to her husband, they divorce, she takes on another unhealthy relationship, does heroin. Okay, I may have just felt like moving to China, changing careers, and running a marathon out of boredom. But I think every person has things in their life that they need to work through and can thus connect with this story.

I flew through this book. Despite what I said in the last paragraph, I thought this book might be a little bit like Eat Pray Love in that I just might not feel empathy for the character. But nope, while Elizabeth Gilbert elicited from me a mild disdain (because of her clear creation of her own problems) to straight up jealousy (Hello? eating in Italy for four months straight!), Cheryl Strayed is a person you can feel for.

There were so many parts of this book that made me so emotional. Immediately I was excited that the story originated in Minnesota. This is not really a big part of the story, but us Minnesotans don't get to recognize names of cities, streets, and of course lakes very often in the books we read.  It's up and down throughout the story-line as it goes back and forth from her hike to her life in general.  I triumphed with her when she was able to physically and metaphorically leave behind the things she was carrying. I felt her sorrow of feeling like a failed partner. And there was a scene with a horse (I hate horses) that wrecked me. Like, really, don't read that part in public.

After reading the book I became a little obsessed with the author. I'm now completely hooked on her podcast, Dear Sugar Radio, which she hosts with Steve Almond. It is basically an advice column and they address listener questions compassionately and completely without judgement. I also read an article by Cheryl Strayed in which she said something to the effect of, "I didn't hike the Pacific Crest Trail so that I could write a book about it. I wrote about about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail because I am a writer." I was like, "Aha! Yes!" No need for adventure! I can write about the mundane details of my life...

Anyway, the book soon became a movie, starring Reese Witherspoon.

I am not a big fan of Reese. I can mostly only see her as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or Melanie Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama. I'm sure Reese is not pleased about that as an actor. Also, her behavior when she got pulled over and argued with a cop put a bad taste in my mouth. But I guess we all have bad days? One of my friends from book club's sister was actually an extra in the movie Wild, when they are in a bar in Oregon and she had to sign something saying she wouldn't even look at Reese. But then again, maybe that's standard on movie sets. I can't say I'm well versed in those procedures. Despite all of my preconceived notions, I really enjoyed the movie. The scenery is gorgeous and it stayed pretty true to the book.

Finally, what is a book club without wine? That's right, nothing. So here's what we drank:

Excuse the crappy picture and already empty bottle. I could not find an image online for the life of me! This rosé was on sale at my Trader Joe's this week and was pretty good! Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Wild - and I'm not against or for Reese really (love Sweet home Alabama, hate how she was rude and whatnot with the cop) but I might just watch the movie. I'm not sure this book is my jam. Maybe. I don't know. I also think I'm the only person in the world who liked eat, pray, love. I listened to it and it was before blogging & goodreads, maybe if i read it now, i would have changed my mind haha