Short, Simple, No Spoilers
I am probably one of the last people to read and review this book because I tend to shy away from most Oprah selections. Yes, Oprah has inspired thousands to pick up a book who otherwise might not have and catapulted authors into super stardom and for that I applaud her and am thankful. I just tend to stray from over-hyped books at first. There, I said it; please don't hate me.
This selection was wonderful and here is why I enjoyed it. At 26, Cheryl was divorced from a man she loved; lost her supportive mother to cancer; abusive father left around age 6; disconnected from siblings; and was pulling out of a previous spiral into the world of heroin. Finding herself in a dark place, she turned to the guide for hiking the Pacific Coast Trail as many people turn to the Bible or any other source of enlightenment to find themselves.
Strayed shares abundant, almost copious details from her 2 months journey, laying out all the ugly and pretty inbetween with a raw, soul-searching style. You embark on the ill-planned journey of her life in addition to the hiking trip and travel not only through the rough terrain and mishaps, but deep into her soul searching. I don't find her self-involved or Godless, merely honest and I enjoyed each and every step.
Some reviewers disliked the narrator and I admit I wasn't crazy about her voice at first. If Cheryl was 26, I was thrown how the narrator's gravely older voice didn't match. However after the first 30 minutes, was hooked. Grew to think of her as the present day Cheryl recounting the past.
If you read and enjoy this title, download or pick up a copy of Mary Karr's, "Lit."
I was not aware of this South American exploration by former President Roosevelt, and I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative. The author provided very good background information on the historical backdrop of Roosevelt prior to the expedition, on the people, and on the Amazon itself. The narrator also presented the story in a way that kept you listening. Once I started this book, I found it difficult to stop.
The tale will make you think twice if you have ever considered taking part in an Amazon expedition. Let's just say that I will never "relieve myself" in a river again. The unique challenges of an Amazon expedition are described in detail, and these help you understand what a monumental achievement the men accomplished. Roosevelt may not have died in the Amazon, but it's clear he carried the effects with him for his short years afterwards. I also very much liked the addition of an epilogue, which tells what followed in the years after the expedition.
Recommended for anyone who loves a true tale of exploration!