Author Groupie's Reviews > Torch

Torch by Cheryl Strayed
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Jul 02, 12

bookshelves: fiction, favorites
Read from June 25 to July 02, 2012

Having recently inhaled Cheryl Strayed's Wild, I was then eager to read her first novel, Torch. With similar life experiences as the female protagonist Claire- a parent who suffers a gruesome death at the hands of cancer, various familial dysfunction, and a previous longing for the consummate romantic relationship- I bookmarked passage after passage which seemed to have come from my own thought processes during my near-identical life experiences:

Years passed. . . Slowly, stingingly, she forgave them [her parents] without their knowing about it. She accepted the way things were- the way they were- and found that acceptance was not what she'd imagined it would be. It wasn't a room she could lounge in, a field she could run through. It was small and scroungy, in constant need of repair. (52)

Strayed does not romanticize life, but, instead reveals it in all its awkwardness, ugliness, and blessedness.
In addition, Strayed is not only author, but also neologist with the creation of parentified- "' . . . where a child who is still a child doesn't get to be a child entirely because he or she has to take on things that children shouldn't have to take on . . . common in single-parent families- where the child has to look after younger siblings, cook meals, and stuff like that'" (56). Recalling my own childhood, I can easily see how my older sister was definitely parentified, and certainly not of her own volition at the tender age of fourteen.
For the purposes of book club, an assortment of vegetarian dishes in honor of Teresa Rae Wood would be appropriate. Perhaps a scalloped potato casserole with peas along with herbal tea would be ideal items offered at your book club discussion.
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