Author: Visit ‘s Cheryl Strayed Page ISBN: 0307476073
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Paperback: 315 pagesPublisher: Vintage Books; 1st edition (March 26, 2013)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0307476073ISBN-13: 978-0307476074 Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies) Best Sellers Rank: #505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #2 in Books > Sports & Outdoors > Hiking & Camping > Excursion Guides #2 in Books > travel > United States > West > Pacific #2 in Books > Sports & Outdoors > Nature Travel > Adventure
There is a vast amount of trail literature, a type of writing that is uniquely American. I am not aware of any other book in this genre, however, that has received the public acclaim accorded to Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s recent memoir of her life on and before her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is one of the top selling books of the year and will become a classic of trail literature in the future.
But why is Wild so successful? It helps, of course, that Strayed is already a critically acclaimed author. A grant from the Oregon Arts commission to write the book certainly improved the text. Unlike many trail memoirs, this is a polished affair and clearly not composed as an afterthought to the day’s work. But the main reason this book is so successful is the story of redemption it tells. Strayed’s life fell apart when her mother died while she was in her early 20s. Unable to deal with the grief, she first cheated on then divorced her husband (I was unable to stop feeling bad for Paul throughout the book), took heroin, and went through some gut wrenching events while slowly trying to self destruct. But when she began to hike, her life began to change. She forced all her material concerns out of her life, helped in part by two overaged boy scouts who removed many items from her pack, and focused on the immediate activities that allowed her to survive in harsh conditions. And conditions were tough in 1995. My wife and I began hiking the trail together that same year and like Strayed, we made the decision to avoid certain sections. But Strayed perserved and by the end of the trail was a changed, more confident person. She went on to start writing, got married and had children.
I had mixed reactions to this book.
As a disclaimer, I would like to point out that I am not in the target audience for this book. I am 58 and male. I read the book because I am a backpacker. The book sells mostly to young, slim (probably athletic) women. Why do I make this assertion? I went to Cheryl Strayed’s event and book-signing. 95% of the large audience (Ms. Strayed is a rock star) fit this target market. The other 5% probably came for the electronic, new-age musician.
If I were in the target market, if I had identified more strongly with Ms. Strayed (or her 24-year old self), I would probably have loved this book. If you can identify with Cheryl Strayed, then you may love this book.
If you cannot form this bond, you may dislike the book because of the follow reasons:
1. The language and metaphors are fairly pedestrian. I kept thinking, I have heard that analogy or phrIDg in many books (often self-help books, no accident that Ms. Strayed was a self-help columnist). The author usually avoids obvious cliches, but if you reflect upon media discussions that focus on personal growth, you will recognize most of the language. For example, the author loves the adverb, “profoundly.” She also uses some obvious tricks to make the writing seem compelling: sexual obscenities (not an objection for me, but more of an author tic) and exaggerating verbs — “destroyed” for tired and “shattered” for distraught or depressed. Not terrible, but not Joan Didion or Dave Eggers.
2. Cheryl Strayed likes metaphor as the primary tool in story-telling (call it approach A). She made this comment in the event that I attended. Many authors, however, focus upon precise, sensory detail to show depth of character, point of view, voice and story development.
I lost most of my respect for Oprah Winfrey years ago, but I was thrilled two years ago when I learned that she was starting up her “Book Club” again. I haven’t read all of the books she’s picked over the years, but the ones I have I’ve very much enjoyed, and she’s brought a lot of attention to some contemporary authors I respect and admire. When I learned that Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Winfrey’s first pick for her “Book Club 2.0,” was being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, it moved quickly to the top of my reading list.
I’m not going to abandon my faith in Winfrey’s literary tastes over one lousy selection, but it’s fair to say that “Wild” represents everything I loathe about the Cult of Oprah, full of a feel-good narcissistic spirituality in which genuine introspection is sacrificed on the altar of self-esteem. “Wild” isn’t content merely to inspire its readers to adopt Strayed’s entitled brand of faux empowerment, however – this book could get someone killed one of these days.
When Strayed was 22, her mother was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. A few weeks later, she was dead: so begins “Wild.” They’d been close, and I accept that grief does strange things to people, but Strayed uses the loss of her mother to justify giving in to every self-destructive hedonistic impulse that crosses her mind over the next four years. (I’ve known people who lost a *child* and fell apart less.) She compulsively sneaks around behind the back of her kind, devoted husband. Even after she confesses her affairs, he remains loving and supportive, and she still loves him but decides to go through with a divorce anyway because, I dunno, *reasons*. She flirts lightly with heroin addiction (is that even possible?
Wild 2014 IMDb Directed by Jean Marc Vall e With Reese Witherspoon Laura Dern Gaby Hoffmann Michiel Huisman A chronicle of one woman s 1 100 mile solo hike undertaken as a Minnesota Wild Official Site Official site featuring news a schedule tickets merchandise and team information Wild Fox Searchlight In Wild director Jean Marc Vallee Dallas Buyers Club Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon Walk the Line and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick WILD Cheryl Strayed This web site is maintained by Cheryl Strayed the author of Wild Tiny Beautiful Things Torch and Brave Enough Wild Definition of Wild by Merriam Webster wild places high in the mountains I felt a wild rage He was wild with anger The crowd went wild when the band took the stage
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