The Critics: ‘‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 04.05.12 | 10:39 AM ET
Strayed’s memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail while reflecting on her life, including the death of her mother, is getting rave reviews.
This is a long way from Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” Apparently it’s no “Eat, Pray, Love,” either.
By laying bare a great unspoken truth of adulthood—that many things in life don’t turn out the way you want them to, and that you can and must live through them anyway—Wild feels real in ways that many books about “finding oneself,” including Eat, Pray, Love and all its imitators, do not. The hike, rewarding though it is, doesn’t heal Strayed. “I’d thought I’d weep tears of cathartic sorrow and restorative joy each day of my journey,” she writes. “Instead, I only moaned, and not because my heart ached. It was because my feet did and my back did and so did the still-open [pack] wounds around my hips.”
I’m a big fan of Brad Listi’s Other People podcasts, featuring wide-ranging, hour-long conversations with authors. He spoke with Strayed in February: