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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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Sep 09, 2012

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed, 22, had strayed from her marriage, lost her young mother to cancer, strayed into drugs, changed her last name to reflect this state of her life, and decided to embark alone on a 1100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Her book “Wild” relates her story, the mental and physical pain she endures, counting lost toenails along the way. She brings with her, Adrienne Rich’s “The Dream of a Common Language”, her favorite book of poetry. The poem, “Power” inspired her to make a deal with herself to not allow fear to overtake her. Cheryl states, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power.
As she traveled, she chanted the lines of memorized poems often not knowing exactly what they meant, “yet there was another way in which I knew their meaning entirely, as if it were all before me and yet out of my grasp, their meaning like a fish just beneath the surface of the water that I tried to catch with my bare hands, so close and present and belonging to me until I reached for it and it flashed away.” The meaning behind her journey, she determines, was like seeing the fish below the surface and not having to reach for it anymore.
Safe and comfortable in my cushy armchair, I enjoyed reading about Cheryl’s encounters with daily challenges, and her strength and determination to succeed. It definitely gave me an appreciation of those things one takes for granted: a loving family, plenty of food and drink, and a soft bed to sleep in every night!
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