Monday, August 20, 2012

Cheryl Strayed, WILD: Not a Mystery -- but ...

I won't post a full review of WILD here -- the book by Cheryl Strayed that's taken its author into collaboration with Oprah Winfrey. But it was my summer "non-mystery" treat to myself, so Dave listened to me move from exasperated exclamations of "This woman is SO dumb!" in the opening chapters (I couldn't put the book down for long, though), to muttered acknowledgments of "Worth reading" by midpoint, to satisfied sighs as the book wrapped up.

Strayed wrote the hiking memoir (set on the Pacific Crest Trail) some 15 years after her long-distance hike of suffering and gradual self-acceptance. Her writing skills stand out most clearly to me in her ability to absolutely convey the naiveté, risk-taking, and yes, stupidity of her younger self at the start of the 1100-mile hike, and the convincing growth of experience and ability to think things through that piles up to a believable wrap-up. This is also a good book for exploring the side of the West Coast that doesn't arrive in bags of coffee or on music DVDs or in the morning news. And it's a well-written portrayal of how a person can climb out of a very bad place, onto a ledge where joy and achievement become likely.

I was glad that I made time to read this.

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