Book Club discussion

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
This topic is about Wild
September 2012 > Discussion space for anyone who went ahead and read Wild anyway.

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Jill G. Wild people! Talk (if you want)!

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments I'm currently reading "Wild" having already read "Tipping the Velvet." I am having a bit of trouble reconciling all of the emotions this book envokes in me. First, and mostly really, I don't see Cheryl as a very likable person. That may say more about me than anything else. But many of the situations she finds herself in just exaserbate me, because of her poor planning, etc. Some of the choices she has made during her past have also annoyed me, even though I can totally see the justification in those choices. While I read, I suppose I mostly have to remind myself that everyone does have a story to tell and the right to, even if I don't particularly like them.
Having said all of this, I am still enjoying the book very much. Even though I catch myself tsk tsking Cheryl on a regular basis.
I'd love to hear other people's thoughts as well. I am trying to stay away from spoilers, too, for anyone who may be interested in reading this book later.

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments Oh, and, thanks Jill for adding this space!

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments I'm not sure is any Wild people are reading these posts...

But I just finished today and did enjoy the book, very much. Even though I do still have issues with Cheryl.
While reading I was interested in what Cheryl chose to read during her hike. I think it would be really fun to "read along" with Cheryl on her journey; read the same books she chose to. If anyone agrees, let me know!

message 5: by Zoe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zoe | 2 comments Cheryl frustrated me so much! It wasn’t until about a month into her walk that the desire to rip her from the pages of the book and shake some sense into her abated.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I liked learning about the people Cheryl met along the way and especially liked reading about how she overcame some of the difficulties she encountered on the trail.

message 6: by Joy (last edited Sep 25, 2012 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Hoppenot I'm reading comments! Just a bit behind in reading the book, but I'm still under the wire. ;) So far, I'm really liking the book, although I'm finding some of the transitions between the trail and her past life a little jarring. I am in awe of how honest Cheryl is about her life and her shortcomings. Even though I kind of want to shout at her to not do it [whatever she's about to do in that part], it feels like part of the entertainment, kind of how I like to yell at the girl in the horror movie just before she does that thing that's about to get her axe murdered. (Not a spoiler, at least as far as I've read!) I also have to laugh at some of her foibles because I got myself into some crazy urban danger and outdoor scrapes while not dealing well with my issues I was in my 20s, too. Didn't do it up quite as dramatically as Cheryl, but I figure a memoirist (is that a word?) is entitled to her drama. Also, I wish I had some of her moxie.

Baby | 9 comments Hi all, just commenting based on my memory (I read the book a couple months ago). I totally get why Folkpants and Zoe would be frustrated by the Cheryl of that time. I'm an impatient person, and if I interacted with that Cheryl in real life I would most probably think not very good thoughts about her. However, in the book Cheryl's voice is so compelling and so clear-eyed (she knew she was majorly fu*^ing up even as she was doing so) that I. must. read on. Just powerful writing.

Folkpants, I like your idea of reading along with Cheryl (now I have to look up the books she read again), though the Adrienne Rich book is the one she kept, correct?

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments Baby,
Yes, I think it was the Adrienne Rich book she kept. I, too, would have to look up the books having "read" Wild on an audioCD while driving and not having the chance to jot down titles. It just seemed like a interesting/fun idea.

I agree with your comments about Cheryl as well. As much as young Cheryl annoyed me, I could not stop reading. And crying. And feeling. It is indeed powerful.

Baby | 9 comments Folkpants,
So interesting that you listened to Wild. When I used to have a 40-min driving commute I listened to a lot of books. Did you like the reader? Who is it?

I thought I could cheat and google all the books in Wild, but no such luck. Maybe tonight I can look up those books.

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments Baby,
Ha, I tried to google the books, too, with no luck. I didn't really like the reader, and maybe that added to my frustrations. She made Cheryl sound more flippant about some things. Sorry, I don't remember who it was.
I have a two hour commute each day and am trying to take advantage of it via audiobooks!

message 11: by Baby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baby | 9 comments Well, at least there's an actual list at the end of the book, so I don't have to "flip" through my e-book. A partial one I found online (5 of 11):

Dubliners by James Joyce;
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov;
The Novel by James Michener (ugh, don't know if I want to tackle this one);
The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California and Volume 2: Oregon and Washington

Of course, the one she kept is The Dream of a Common Language, by Adrienne Rich.

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments Also,
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Complete Works of Flannery O'Connor I think?
The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout
And wasn't there a Kate Chopin? The Awakening maybe?

I'm going to a bookstore later today. I'll try to flip through a copy.
(I don't think I will include the PCT guide book, although that was her most important read!)

message 13: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Hoppenot Love the idea of a book club within the book! I did that once exchanging letters with all the books the protagonist reads in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Cheryl referenced The Awakening and The Optimist's Daughter as shared favorites of hers and her mother's that she tried to read aloud to her in the hospital but couldn't manage.

And you're right, Folkpants, the O'Connor was The Complete Stories. I just read the part where she trades it for the Michener, so it's fresh in my mind. :)

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments I found the complete list of Cheryl's readings on the trail if anyone is interested.

The Pacific Crest Trail Vol. 1: California
The Pacific Crest Trail Vol. 2: Oregon and Washington
by Jeffrey P. Schaffer, Thomas Winnett, Ben
Schifrin, Andy Selters & Ruby Jenkins
Staying Found: The Complete Map and Compass Handbook
by June Fleming
The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich (Carried the whole trail)
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (traded, not burned)
The Novel by James Michener
A Summer Bird-Cage by Margaret Drabble
Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov
Dubliners by James Joyce
Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
The Best American Essays 1991 edited by Robert Arwan and Joyce Carol Oates
The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout

message 15: by Baby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baby | 9 comments Thanks! (I also looked it up last night) Time to do a search for those books, though I want to buy Adrienne Rich's.

message 16: by Baby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baby | 9 comments Bought the Coetzee one from my local bookstore. It's a slim little book.

Amy (folkpants) (folkpants) | 50 comments Yes. Actually, I've read that one as well as a few others on the list. Off topic, but one of my favorite Coetzee books is Disgrace.
I ordered The Ten Thousand Things from Amazon a few days ago!
Now, however, I'm waiting for the October pick. This book club and it's discussions have become one of my favorite things!

message 18: by Baby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baby | 9 comments Disgrace is the only Coetzee I've read so far. Now I just need to find some time to read all these books.

message 19: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley (littlewonder2) | 1 comments Baby wrote: "Well, at least there's an actual list at the end of the book, so I don't have to "flip" through my e-book. A partial one I found online (5 of 11):

Dubliners by James Joyce;
Lolita by Vladimir Nab..."

I've actually read Lolita! I quite enjoyed it, actually. I've been told by someone that they felt the narrator was unlikable, and I can sort of understand why, but I don't really hate him.

Personally, in Wild, I love Cheryl despite all her mistakes. Probably because, despite certain differences between me and her, there's something in her voice that sounds like me.

And as for reading along with Cheryl - I wondered about eventually doing that from the moment she started listing off books in her memoir. I always figured I could come back later.

And then, of course, there are her mother's books, for those who are interested in her past... That's another possibility, I suppose.

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