Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#20: Wild (Cheryl Strayed)

on July 10, 2012

Wild is not my typical reading fare.  Why did I pick it up, then?  It was the first selection of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, the re-invention of the program that truly ignited my passion for reading as a teen.  I suppose you might say I read the book out of loyalty.

The memoir tells of Cheryl Strayed’s adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail as she hiked alone from southern California to the Oregon/Washington border.  Her lone journey allows her the opportunity to come to grips (finally) with her mother’s death, her failed marriage, and her life that is in shambles.  Facing one hardship after another, Strayed must come to terms with the truth that there are often situations for which she was not prepared.  The challenges of attempting to carry too heavy of a load, ill-fitting shoes, snow-packed paths, and muscle fatigue almost serve as symbols for the greater crises occurring in her life.

I read Wild as I began my own journey to personal fitness.  As I journeyed with Strayed on the pages of the book, I found myself encouraged as she overcame various challenges.  I was also enthralled as I realized that any journey worth taking brought with it struggle, uncertainty, pain, and fear.  Cheryl’s courage to push through those emotions while keeping her eyes focused on the goal that lay before her became my personal push to see things through as well.

Would I have normally enjoyed Wild?  Probably not.  I found myself getting bored with the descriptions of the scenery of the PCT (as beautiful as it was) and annoyed with some of the lengthy flashbacks.  Memoirs rarely feel as though they are entertaining reads.  Given my current life, however, I am happy to say I have read the book and believe that I will be better because of it.

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