Author: Cheryl Strayed
Publisher: Vintage Books (Random House Canada)
Age: Adult 18+
I started reading this book for my 2017 Book Challenge Group for the book to movie category. This is the first book I’ve been able to successfully finish since I read Empire of Storms back in December. Needless to say this is one of the worst, if not THE worst book I’ve ever read.
We all know the story of Cheryl Strayed & how her mother was killed in her battle with cancer, then her marriage fell apart & she started cheating on her husband & doing drugs. After her divorce she decided to start hiking on the PCT.
I saw the movie with Reese Witherspoon when it came out & really enjoyed it. It was funny & reflective with a few dark patches of her past, but overall a great story. So naturally I thought that I would enjoy the book too.
For me the book spent too much time on the past & how it just crippled her. Don’t get me wrong I would be lost without my own mother & I know that losing someone close to you is hard. I guess my biggest problem is I don’t understand how hiking across the country fixes that. I also don’t understand why someone who is young & inexperienced in the outdoors thinks hiking thousands of miles will help get her life back on track. I kept thinking can’t she just drink a lot & sleep it off to fix her problems like normal people do? Or have a fling, or move to a new city, or get a new job so she could meet new people. It also kind of bothers me that she never finished getting her degree even years later. She will be paying for that for the rest of her life & she can’t really do anything with it because it’s incomplete.
It seems that Cheryl has her little adventure then her life does get better which is the most important part of the story. Lesson learned, tragedy over, moving on with life in the best way possible.
Likes: I did like the parts on the trail especially meeting all of the cool people along the way. I think the various stops she made were my favorite. Getting to interact with new people & hear about their stories is always a fun experience.
I also liked learning about the trail & the various landscapes.
Dislikes: I didn’t like all of the flashbacks, her reliving the past is part of healing but some of them were very sad & I liked that the movie didn’t relive ALL of them. I would have rather gotten the whole story up front then moved along to the trail.
I also did not approve of her being so half hazard about sleeping with men & doing drugs. It didn’t bother me that she had an abortion because I would have done the same thing. But you would think she’d be a little more careful in the future.