wild

My daughter brought me this book at the hospital and I read it over the final day of my stay there. (She had ordered and read it out of a review in Elle…) As I first supposed it was about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT), I was quite eager to hear about the beauty of the mountains and the challenges of the long distance trail. However, wild is much more about the psychological problems and the troubled childhood of the author, Cheryl Strayed (a self-chosen post-divorce name), the trek being undertaken as a cathartic therapy to overcome her mother’s death and to fight the ensuing self-destructive tendencies… The most amazing thing in this autobiography is that the author managed to survive a trek of this magnitude, given that she had no preparation and no training and that she had to face heat, lack of water, cold, snow, wild animals, wilder men, and this with hardly any money. She starts in the Mojave desert with a backpack weighting half her weight (soon called the Monster) and is lucky enough to avoid dehydration, snake bites, wrong trails, falls, hypothermia, &tc. Great for her and thanks to the fellow hikers who helped her building some experience, but I cannot feel much of a connection with the author. In short, she often sounds like a complete idiot, e.g. starving most of the trail only to spend the few dollars she sent herself at each postal relay in junk food and sodas. I actually wonder at the level of authenticity of this unpreparedness: I find it very hard to believe she had never considered the weight of her back before leaving when this is one of the first things you read in any book about hiking. When considering she had planned a complex delivery of supplies all along the trail, apparently missing none of them. The character of Cheryl Strayed is not as annoying as the “hero” of Into the Wild, but I do not buy the whole story. Great cover, by the way!

One Response to “wild”

  1. And now “they” have a movie out of the book… As put by the NYT article, its “task is not to make us like Cheryl,”

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