it isn't going to change your life or open your eyes to a new way of thinking. it is a well written walk through a woman's life, makes you feel content in the telling and inspired to perhaps take a plunge into a realistic adventure.
This is not a "literary" memoir, but it is well-crafted and compelling. I really appreciate Cheryl Strayed's contemporary take on a young woman healing herself and becoming both integrated and powerful. Her path from the shattering death of her mother to too-young wife of a good man and 20-something with a powerful if non-monogamous sex drive to a brief foray into heroin use at the height of the Grunge movement to a solo march, unprepared and ill-equipped through bad-ass wild territory makes real sense to women who read it. She takes responsibility for herself and though some of her decisions are imperfect, she doesn't stigmatize them. Her take on sexuality, risk, drug use, and physical courage are all both honest and inspiring.
The memoir is also a classic on-the-road (albeit on foot) story, a healing journey, travelogue, and coming-of-age. Strayed weaves all of these elements together with real skill and accessible, simple language. Many feminist English majors will celebrate the reading list she brought with her - her beloved books that were her best companions on the trail. The scene reading Adrienne Rich's "Power" as she comes into herself at the end is remarkable. Readers should get their paws on Rich's poem and read it in tandem with that scene.
The book is far better than the movie; the movie is in real-time, so you never hear the voice of the older Cheryl with all her power and happy ending. You only see the weaker, sicker Cheryl at the beginning of her healing process with tawdry flashbacks. The movie incorporates some gratuitously lurid sex scenes that are not in the book (so we can see Reese Witherspoon all dirty?) and don't convey the sense of power and identity that Strayed found through sex in her young years. (Lots of 20-somethings do - it's part of development into an adult, not disgusting.) Also, because the movie is in real-time, it focuses more on Strayed's flashbacks and less on the trail and the kindness and growth she experiences there - which is more than half the book, and the point, indeed.
I am an elementary teacher. I love to cycle, swim and walk my dog. I enjoy quilting when I can sit still. I'm learning to Scuba Dive.
Yes I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inside someone's head and see how they think. It's a great book.
I loved the shear inspiration this book gave me. Throughout the entire read i was amazed at her perserverance and fight to continue on her journey.
It started off a little slow, but as I got to know Cheryl and began to appreciate her and all of her faults, I became inspired by her. I felt so similar to her in varying ways, I was a little sad for the story to end. I wanted to know more details of her emergence from the old Cheryl into the new. The story made me feel like I should do something daring.....maybe I will....
Thank you Cheryl "Starved"
Editor for over 25 years, for 35 books in the R.E. appraisal area & CEO of my own small biz. Got my MFA in creative writing at age 67. :D
Cheryl Strayed's memoir of her trek alone along the Pacific Coast Trail is a very detailed account of her challenging adventure, taken on following the death of her mother Bobby at the age of 45. The final chapter, and Strayed's notes about her life post-PCT made the long haul worth it, for her and for this reader. I liked it more than Bill Bryson's Walk in the Woods, probably because of the spiritual quest the writer reveals.
loved listening to this fascinating story..it kept me intrigued to find out what would happen next... can't wait to watch the movie!!