The next category I wanted to tackle for my 2017 reading challenge was one I have rarely dabbled in: books that are set in nature. I actually had to google books that are set in nature, that is how far this category is from my normal reading list. I ended up choosing Wild by Cheryl Strayed because of the last episode of the new GIlmore Girls season, when Lorelai tries to recreate the events in this book to find herself. Given my current perspective on my life, it seemed pretty appropriate.
I borrowed this book as an audiobook from Overdrive – My Library’s Online Database, and started it on October 1st. I finished it on October 10th so it only took me a week or so to read.
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In this autobiography, Cheryl finds herself in the crossroads of life. When her mother passes away unexpectedly from cancer, she lashes out in ways that even she can’t explain. She cheats on her husband, gets divorced, and eventually turns to drugs as a way to escape, until she learns she’s pregnant. She decides that now is the time to turn her life around and find the backbone that her mother instilled in her throughout her childhood. And so, she sets out on the Pacific Coast hiking trail with the intent to hike from Mojave Desert to Washington State; alone.
I was very surprised by how much this story spoke to my heart. There were definitely moments when I wanted to yell at the character for making poor decisions, but I felt her emotional and physical struggle every step of the way, and I celebrated her success as well. I’ve read some other reviews that suggest some of this story is slightly fiction, but it all feels very believable. The voice, and storytelling hold you in the moment, even when you have to pause and come back to a section. I found myself debating how I would handle certain situations. What I would have done while facing a bear on a mountain path, or at what point would I have quit and gone home. I don’t think I’ll ever put myself in this situation, but it peaked my interest in hiking at least.
This was a great read. I would highly recommend it for anyone 16 and older, particularly who might be looking for some internal guidance. This would also be a fantastic book club option as there are tons of teachable moments, and things worth discussing that happen throughout the novel.
If you have already read Wild, or read it and find that you really enjoyed it, you may be interested in these titles.
Have you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed or any of these other titles yet? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, or you can e-mail me at Cherrieschocolateanddirt@gmail.com.