Back when I was in a book club we read, The Glass Castle, I hated it. We also read, A Million Little Pieces, which I not only hated, but knew was a lie before James Frey (the author) did. And then there was Eat, Pray, Love–which was so bad, I couldn’t finish it. I will say, I’ve seen parts of the movie and they were at least ‘watchable.’ (That however, may be due to the fact that I am a Julia Roberts fan.)
This brings me to Wild. I was able to finish it, I didn’t hate it, and I don’t think it’s entirely false. Spoiler alert: But really, you’re so strung out on heroin that you can’t find a vein and you have a bruise on your ankle from shooting up, yet you quit cold turkey with no withdrawal symptoms??? Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment. To top if off, as a woman hiking alone for months, only once did you come across a man who meant to ‘do you harm?’ Gives me new faith in humanity. Maybe I should move out west.
The book may be better appreciated by someone who backpacks and/or hikes, neither of which I do. There were some parts I could relate to, the grief associated with your mother passing away from cancer, as did mine. Or marrying someone too young and subsequently getting divorced–did that too. I don’t even take issue with the other self harming and rather irrational and dangerous things the author does. I give her kudos for actually hiking the Pacific Coast Trail on incredibly limited funds the way she did. And trust me, she is nowhere near as whiny and self-absorbed as the Eat, Pray, Love chick–hence why I could finish this book.
I found the book to be slow and overall, not very engaging. She encountered people on her journey, but we never really got to know any of them well enough to feel connected to them or what happened to them along the way. As a matter of fact, I had trouble keeping track of who was who because I really just didn’t care and they were all so fleeting. Her relationship with her family was sad and dysfunctional, but that too was somewhat confusing. There was a scene with her brother that still confuses me, but again–I just don’t care enough to even try to figure it out.
Yes, the book has an inspirational quality to it, how could it not. A young woman setting off on a hike through several states, alone, discovering herself. Yeah! But the translation fell flat. I honestly just wanted to finish the book to be done. Thankfully, I am. I do give kudos to Cheryl Strayed, the author, for revealing so much personal information. The things she shared, especially her ‘drug use’ and ‘relationships’ with men left her wide open to intense scrutiny and severe judgement by those who read the book–so good for her for having the courage to put her story out there. I do hope it helps someone.