Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5: Back to Gloomy

Saturday morning: I'm about to head out for a run, so the current drizzle will probably beef itself up to a downpour just in time! Ah well. Not much snow, so A's and my loose cruise can still happen, I think, and Spring does seem to be coming still.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gobbled this book down, even though I was skeptical about it at first. As I just said to my dear friend (whose taste in books is such that we often hate what the other one loves), I found the book very interesting and readable, but I wouldn't say, "Oh, it was really good!" or "I loved it!" I felt about Wild and Strayed herself (yes, she picked her own last name; it's no coincidence) the way I feel about strong personalities that I may work with or meet at a dinner party or something: they may be deeply involving and fascinating, but I know that there are many things that would drive me crazy if we spent too much time together.

Overall, two things about the book made it interesting: first, one of the reviews hit a huge truth (and I wondered if it was written by Anne Lamott, in fact): "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 many ways that many books about 'finding oneself' . . . do not." Strayed, before she became "Strayed," suffered some devastating losses, and her story about recovering from them and putting herself back together is deeply human and moving in many ways.

In addition, Strayed doesn't make a lot of apologies for what she does or did. Heroin, infidelity, sins of omission or commission. . . she just states what unfolded and leaves it there. I would imagine that some people might find that approach hard to take (and I did notice that her concern about her relatives' drug use seemed a little misplaced when she was a fairly regular heroin user there for a while), her matter-of-fact retelling worked for me. "This is what I did. This is why it seemed right at the time. I can't really explain the logic from where I am now, but. . . . " That philosophy, in her case at least, worked for me, keeping the memoir interesting and helping me to withhold judgment.

However, I'm not ready to rush out and read her novel, which seems like a thinly fictionalized version of her autobiography (which, in some ways also reminds me of Anne Lamott!). Still, I'm hoping several friends read Wild so we can discuss it. I'm curious what other people think!

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