Saturday, April 12, 2014

My first book review: Wild

I've never done a book review in this blog, but have been wanting to for quite some time. An expression of thanks is necessary to my sister, Lisa, who has really opened my world of reading. Reading has always been a hobby, yet finding books and keeping me reading past Chapter 5 was always a challenge. So this summer, when I was miserable in San Antonio - she graciously made me a list of "books to read". That really got me going. My family has started a "Virutal Book Club" - which has also opened me to new reads. And finally, I've started a book club with small & selective group of girlfriends (so far there's only 3 of us...)

"Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed, was given to me as part of my birthday present from a girlfriend, who knew I was getting into backpacking. This book was eye-opening for me, and interesting.

It's about a 26 year-old women, who essentially loses everything. She ruins her marriage through infidelity, she loses her mother to cancer, and with that loses contact with her family. So upon hitting  rock bottom, she makes the decision to quit everything and hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail is a trail that essentially goes from Mexico to Canada. The book tells the story of her journey and treacherous struggles hiking this path. She deals with everything from severe heat, dehydration, snow, rattlesnakes, loneliness, hunger, severe blistering & pain, bear sightings, and potentially dangerous people on the trail. In these struggles, she finds herself again.
There is conflicting views on the character in this story. There were moments in this book that I found myself angry with her. How she irresponsibly would spend her limited funds. She didn't prepare her self for backpacking - and had never hiked prior to trekking across the US. And above all, she lost her husband due to her infidelity and drug abuse. But through her physical struggles on the trail, she worked through the emotional skeletons in her closet.
I tend to be a person who believes that people deserve a second chance and forgiveness. They have to earn it, of course.
This book showed the ugliness in backpacking, but it only made me more excited to do it. I think spending time out in nature really makes one contemplate and reflect on life. There is something very cathartic about being so far from civilization, that there's not a hint of it in sight.
After reading this book, it is definitely on my adventure list to hike a portion of the PCT. Obviously doing the entire trail is not in my it takes months to complete. But I've already started looking into trails that lead to Crater Lake in Oregon.
Do you tend to give people 2nd chances? One of my faults is probably that I can be too forgiving and trusting.  Hence, why I struggle with confrontation - because I assume the fault will fix itself so we can all move on with smiles on our faces.


Marlys said...

I am sure you learned a lot about back-packing from this book! That site looks like an interesting one to backpack on. I hope you and Ryan can soon get into doing those things when he returns!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am glad you enjoyed the book! I liked it a lot but I had huge issues with the choices she made, especially all the cheating and it bothered me that she was so unprepared to hike the PCT. But I did enjoy the book and found it entertaining and am glad I read it. I just didn't have as much sympathy for her as I probably should... I do think people deserve second chances, though...

Awesome review! I am glad you enjoyed the book! I would love to hike part of the PCT. My friend Kyria's parents actually live along it so used to invite weary hikers in for a warm meal. And my friend Lauren who lives in OR has posted photos of crater lake and it looks amazing!!