Friday, June 22, 2012

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is the non-fiction account of Strayed's own journey of coming to grips with her grief, life failings, and her self. Strayed hiked the 2,663 miles by herself (with a few companions from time to time) in the summer of 1995.

Although I got tired of Strayed's flash backs of her relationship with her mother, I was fascinated by the physical and mental endurance that was needed to make it on such a long trek. I was equally entranced by the fact that this woman had grown up in very hippy-like circumstances (no running water, no bathroom, no electricity) in Minnesota. I kept thinking that she probably was raised in ways that prepared her for this hike. At the same time, she obviously was not prepared for her journey. She was never able to get her pack at an acceptable weight – hers weighed more than anyone else's she encountered and she had the blisters to prove it. She also had not saved and sent enough money to each post office station on the trail. However, strangers were remarkably giving and friendly toward her with the exception of two instances.

I did struggle with many of the life choices that Strayed made. These included marrying too young, divorcing for no good reason, infidelity, unprotected and promiscuous sexual behavior, abortion, and drug use. The only issues that she really struggled with during the book were her marriage and divorce. The others were mentioned but she never gave voice to her emotions or seemed to be remorseful at all.

Strayed did talk about her own faith. That is where my thoughts on faith came in. She had prayed to God when her mother was dying but, because her mother died, she came away thinking that God was a ruthless witch (with a capital b). When she was on the trail, she mentioned in her diary that she was as good as a non believer as she was a believer. She seemed to be searching for something but she didn't know what. She was a skeptic as much as a seeker. She even doubted those things that could be proved. Everyone suggested that she simply needed therapy (you can easily pick that up by reading the book) and I really agree. For me, she seemed like someone who was still lost and would not be found for a long time. Perhaps today, after writing this book, she might find her faith. I remember my own time of seeking and finding. I also realize that everyone must do this at their own pace and time. That is why, I think, God has give us free will.

I recommend Wild. Made me want to go hiking!

Happy reading!


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