Alone. When people think of that word, they assume that the feeling lonely comes with it. But for Cheryl Strayed, that wasn’t always the case. In her book, she recalls her solo 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
This memoir focuses around loss, and the ultimate search to be found afterwards. Strayed starts her story with the recalling of her mother’s death. She calls up the irony of her mother being ravaged with lung cancer at such a young age when her mother was somebody who had never smoked, drank, and ate only organic food from their garden in the home they grew up in, in Minnesota.
At the time of her mother’s death, Strayed was married at the age of 22. By the time she would start her hike on the PCT, she would be divorced, near broke, and homeless.
This is an amazing book for somebody going through the loss of a loved one. Not only does Strayed capture the way it feels to lose somebody, she captures with intensity the healing process, the grief, and the anger that comes along with it.
One account in Wild is the day they spread her mother’s ashes. Strayed talks of how she stood with pieces in her hand. “I put her burnt bones into my mouth and swallowed them whole.” While this quote can be taken literally or figuratively, the quote itself is incredibly powerful to any reader. Talking not only about grief, but how the memory of the person can affect you and have a lasting impact.
Not only is this book full of adventure, it is also full of heart. Quite literally, it’s impossible to put down.