Today's Book Recommendation is Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
Its begins in the middle of the Pacific Coast Trail with Cheryl taking off her hiking boot only to loose it down the side of the mountain that she has taken respite on. As she watches the boot tumble down the side of the ravine she takes her other one, chucks into the oblivion, and yells a defiant "Fuck You!" to the universe.
Four years prior to this moment Cheryl Strayed lost her mother. The woman who was her best friend and proclaimed love of her life. this sends Cheryl on a destructive course of drugs, sex, and eventually divorce. So, in a moment of bleakness she makes a decision. With no experience, no training, and completely alone she will hike the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave desert up into Washington State. Thus begins a beautiful, biting, and reformative journey through the American wilderness.
Told in both the present of the hike and memories of the years after her mother's death you are given a complete look at one woman's grief and eventual salvation. Along the trail she meets men and women who share a passion that she has only begun to tap into. While facing the dangers of wildlife, dehydration, and even some rapid weather changes Cheryl finds that she is stronger than she thought she was. Ultimately this is a story of healing and finding yourself. Proof that even when you have nothing to loose you can find something to gain.
I read this book in one day. While sitting on set I was enthralled by Ms. Strayed's story. It had me wishing that I hadn't been ill when she visited my graduate program. This is a woman that I hope to one day meet. the book it a brutally honest portrait of the hike that she took in her early twenties. the prose that she describes her adventures is beautiful and paints a perfect picture of the experiences. While she simultaneously isn't afraid to delve into the ugly moments of her life.
I had the opportunity to see the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon this past spring and I thought the film really did the book justice. Although, I recommend reading the novel before seeing the film. As always.
There is part of me that wants to do this very same hike now. Granted I already have a slight fascination with hiking and a girlfriend who wants to do it as well. I guess we shall see if I have a little Wild in me. I think this a book that all mothers and daughters should read. Perhaps we need a mother daughter book club?