I’ve always been such a huge fan of Oprah, she’s never steered me wrong when it comes to her favorite things… I’ve tried $100 lotion she’s recommended, I’ve even bought colored uggs. But one of my favorite things about Oprah is that she reads and recommends great literature. That’s why when she brought back her Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 with a fabulous memoir by Cheryl Strayed’s titled Wild, I knew I’d be jumping back on the Oprah recommendation train.
In this video Oprah exclaims that she was “on the edge of her seat reading this book” and after finishing this book, I tend to agree with the queen of daytime; this book will having you ponder what you would do when your Mother dies and your marriage is slowly crumbling around you. Would you lose yourself in drugs? Would you use sex as a scapegoat? Well in Cheryl Strayed’s case, she did both those things, knowing it was wrong. There comes a point in the early stages of this memoir that she hits a wall (metaphorically of course) that makes her wake up and see that she’s traveling down the wrong path.
By the time I arrived in the town of Mojave, California on the night before I began hiking on the PCT, I’d shot out of Minnesota for the last time. I’d even told my mother that, not that she could hear. I’d sat in the flowerbed in the woods on our land, where Eddie, Paul, my siblings and I had mixed her ashes in with the dirt and laid a tombstone, and explained to her that I wasn’t going to be around to tend her grave anymore. Which meant that no one would. I finally had no choice but to leave her grave to go back to the weeds and blown-down tree branches and fallen pinecones. To snow and whatever the ants and deer and black bears and ground wasps wanted to do with her. I lay down in the mother ash dirt among the crocuses and told her it was okay. That I’d surrendered. That since she died, everything had changed. Things she couldn’t have imagined and wouldn’t have guessed. My words came out low and steadfast. I was so sad it felt as if someone was choking me, and yet it seemed my whole life depended on my getting those words out. She would always be my mother, I told her, but I had to go. She wasn’t there for me in that flowerbed anymore anyway, I explained. I’d put her somewhere else. The only place I could reach her. In me.
The next day I left Minnesota forever. I was going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
The year was 1995 and Cheryl Strayed was 26 years old. In an effort to help shape her into the woman she knew she was capable of being, she decided to that hiking the PCT would help make her brave and she’d be able to prove to herself that she could achieve greatness. She packed a backpack filled with camping gear, packaged food and books. Of course, having never hiked before, she didn’t realize that the her backpack would be that heavy, it was then aptly named “Monster”.
Throughout her 1100 mile journey, she meets people that help her see the world a little differently, she has experiences that some people will never have the pleasure of experiencing, but most of all, her voyage helps her to rediscover that life is precious and you should enjoy every minute of every day.
This memoir is an uphill climb (literally) of self discovery. There are moments where you will cry, there are moments you’ll gasp, you’ll even chuckle a couple of times, but most of all you’ll breeze through this wonderful memoir of a girl becoming a woman while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.