Cheryl Strayed must have a damn submarine full of rabbit's feet hidden somewhere; it is absolutely unbelievable how lucky she was -- as a totally unprepared hiking noob -- on this trip, how much good fortune she fell into along the way. Sure, her feet were temporarily destroyed because she didn't bother to take her boots on a trial run to make sure they fit okay (!!!), but it could have been so much worse.
I enjoyed Strayed's writing style, and I think it elevated the book, and I probably would have gotten stalled halfway through if it weren't for the turns of phrase that kept me hooked. I'm also a sucker for people reading/recommending books WITHIN books, and Wild
has that going for it, too. And I can't help but admire Strayed for finishing a trip I'd probably never have the nerve to start, even if parts of her trail experience were slogged through because the only way out was up.
That said, I don't know what inspiration I should draw from this book, although it seems like the kind of book that's looking to inspire. Maybe if I had more in common with Strayed it would be easier to see some shining light, but as it is Wild
is roughly 50% a story about hiking the PCT and 50% a mildly eye-roll-inducing story about a self-involved young woman who chooses the TOTALLY WRONG WAY to deal with Life Crap and gets away with it without too many repercussions. It is a memoir, so I guess it's fair that the focus of the book is what's going on inside Strayed's head, but I think I would have preferred more of an 75/25 split.
CONCLUSION! I would have liked more hike and less reflection, but the reflections were written prettily enough that I didn't mind too much. Also, I think a better name for Strayed's story would be Lucky
-- too bad that's already taken.