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Wild

Wild

Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is over a thousand miles, and Cheryl set out to do it alone. I loved every moment of this book. I had seen the movie (2014's Wild) in the fall and fell in love with the soundtrack. My favorite moment was Simon & Garfunkel's "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" playing as Cheryl (played by Reese Witherspoon) finished her hike and crossed the Bridge of the Gods  in Oregon at the end of the PCT. Anyway, having this soundtrack on repeat (and rewatching the movie) convinced me it was time to finally read the memoir it was based off of. And I read it in one sitting. Cheryl Strayed writes beautifully and makes you feel like you're on the trail with her. The memoir opens in the middle of her hike, as she hurls one of her hiking boots off the side of the mountain. It interweaves her life throughout, her relationship with her mother, her struggles with heroin, her divorce... the book was wonderfully crafted. Cheryl wrote an advice column for years, and one of my favorite quotes from this column (thanks to a great article from Vulture)

“I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

This memoir sums up this idea: no regrets on the life you could've had. It is an important concept, and she writes about all the decisions she has made (some bad, some good) led her to where she is now. She reads various books on the trail, and the quotes and reflections interspersed throughout make you want to go on a self-discovery journey of your own (although I probably wouldn't last a day in the wilderness). My favorite, from Emily Dickenson:

If your Nerve, deny you --
Go above your Nerve --

Cheryl did just that. Rating: ★★★★★

The Post Office Girl

The Post Office Girl

My Promised Land

My Promised Land