Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed took on a new name the day she divorced her husband.    Strayed came to her and it stuck…….. “It’s layered definitions spoke directly to my life and also struck a poetic chord:  to wander from the proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild, to be without a mother or father, to be without a home, to move about aimlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress.”

The new name embodied her crippling grief and despair over losing her mother, family and marriage in quick succession and is why she chose, in one impulsive moment, to walk eleven hundred miles of the west coast of America and do it alone.   With zero knowledge of the wilderness and no experience, Cheryl Strayed walked the long line on a map in the hope each step would rebuild and mend her.

She was a mess and Wild is her story.

Not surprising, this book is everywhere courtesy of the movie adaptation staring Reese Witherspoon. I’ve read the book and I’ve seen the movie and I suggest you do too.  Doesn’t matter really which one you do first – you’ll love them both.    It’s a win-win.

When I picked up Wild from the shelf, I was ready to throw myself into someone else’s life.   Desperately in need of a heroine, I wanted to  feel close to a brave-heart daring to conquer her world.  I wanted a jolly good read full of inspiration and bravado. What I got with Wild was a long walk alongside someone so beaten and shattered by life that by page 13, I was weeping.

But Cheryl Strayed is gutsy so I found my hero.  I got the inspiration and bravado in spades too.  I don’t think I could do what she did and I hope  I am never so broken that I feel the need to find out.  I was, and still am, consumed by her story and I inhaled the book in a matter of hours.  I miss her raw, emotional storytelling and keep the book by my bed to flick through it from time to time to read the beautiful quotes she scattered through the pages.

I have not picked up another book since so, quite frankly,  I had best get my inner Cheryl Strayed on and get over myself.

But that is just my 2 cents worth.