Christina Katz's Reviews > Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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Jun 05, 12

Read in April, 2012

The Archetypal Heroine's Journey of the 21st Century For Every Woman, Young or Old: WILD by Cheryl Strayed is the story of a woman's healing journey, and yet the memoir is so artfully written as to be completely devoid of self-indulgence. The introduction and the story arc are so cinematic that I have no doubt that this book will be made into a successful movie.

More than anything I was aware of the conscious choices that the writer made in telling the story. What to tell. What not to tell. What to wait to tell. The tale is brilliantly told in poetic detail with palpable restraint.

I feel that this story of a woman learning to mother herself and heal the hole in her heart after the loss of her mother and a period of self-destructiveness is deserving of a place in the cannon of literature. We need more books about the heroine's journey. Especially those where the heroine does not die. We need about ten thousand of those to make up for some lost time.

Nature is a major player in WILD. Nature is big and alive and teeming with possibility, danger, and despair in this book. Along the journey, the storyteller encounters nature over and over. She encounters actual nature: a fox, a bull, a bear, frogs, and many others. She has a unforgettably tragic encounter with a horse. She also encounters her own nature, quite squarely.

Strayed had to become empty before she could become full. She took us with her on this journey. When she ached, we ached. When she exulted, we exulted. You almost get the sense, as a reader, that this archetypal journey could happen again or is always happening and is, perhaps, a necessary pattern for living.

To become empty and then to become full is a natural part of the growing and healing journey. Strayed was starved but now she's found. She blinded herself, but ultimately gave herself back the eyes to see.

Thank you, Cheryl Strayed for the gift of a terrible story beautifully told with a modern fairy tale ending, where a woman comes to her senses and therefore to her own rescue.
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