Home » Books » Book (and movie) Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Book (and movie) Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Well it took a little longer than expected to see the movie as it was sold out the first time I tried to see it.  Do you know that you have to go online and reserve your seat number now? And at the concessions, they give you an empty soda cup that you fill up at a Coke computer with thousands of flavors? This is too much advanced technology for this Granny. But anyhow….!

I did eventually see the movie and I have to say it faired pretty well all things considered. Usually the movie adaptations of books fail to translate for me, but overall I really enjoyed it. But before we get to the movie let me tell you about the book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a memoir about the author’s hike (literally) to self-discovery. Consumed by the loss of her mother while she is still in college, Cheryl’s life starts to spiral out of control as she drops out of school, derails her marriage, and starts abusing heroine. It is not until she finds herself having to terminate a pregnancy from a drug induced one night stand, that Cheryl realizes she has reached rock bottom. In a twist of events she then discovers the Pacific Coast Trail, and decides she must “walk herself back to the woman her mother wanted her to be.”

The Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) stretches from Mexico through California, and up into Canada.  Cheryl sets out to conquer 2,600 miles of it. With no hiking experience and no idea of what the trail will bring, Cheryl sets out on the journey of a lifetime.

A story of someone hiking for 2,600 miles could be as long and as dry as the deserts the author passes through. But,  Strayed does a good job of interweaving her hiking adventures with stories of what lead her to the trail. I did feel though that at some points she did repeat herself too much, retelling the same scene more than once. This really only happened in the first few chapters, so if you can get past that small hiccup, the book is very enjoyable. I would give it 4 stars.

The movie stars Reese Witherspoon (how can you go wrong?) as Cheryl. It did a good job of integrating her stories of her past without focusing to heavily on this aspect, allowing the viewer to enjoy the struggles and triumphs of Cheryl hiking the trail. This impressively did not cause the movie to lack the substance that the book had.

Overall both the book and the movie are worth the read and worth the view.

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