Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review - Wild

I don't usually post book reviews and don't participate in book clubs (not even Oprah's), but am going to give this a try.

I downloaded the Oprah bookclub version onto my Nook.  One of the first things I noticed as I read through it was highlights done by Oprah.  Okay - so these statements/passages were interesting to her or caught her attention, but the heavy highlighting came through as nearly black on my Nook (I have the 1st generation).  Lately I sometimes need reading glasses to help me see the words, and with the "highlighting" - it was difficult - even with the glasses (just a personal pet peeve).. probably on a tablet it came through differently.

As to the book itself - overall I enjoyed it.  I knew it wasn't going to be humorous like Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods", but also didn't expect her to be a heroin user and at times sex seemed to be the only thought she had - including while she was on the trail (although I do understand she had just experienced the death of her mother - just didn't expect those thoughts while on the trail though).  The book begins at a very sad point in her life & I cried right along with her.  I did like how she named her pack Monster - that pack was a challenge of its own.  There were a couple of places that I totally skipped (Lady's death) just because I didn't want to cry again.  Throughout the hike she realizes how unprepared she was for that undertaking (which is an understatement) - she was extremely lucky several times throughout that summer to receive help from kind strangers & even avoided being possibly molested (being a woman alone on the trail was good/bad in her case); I was surprised how she thought $20 would last her from point A to point B - I don't go on those types of hikes, and knew she underestimated her needs.  I really thought at one point she would stop in one of the small towns for a while & work as a waitress to get her a few more dollars in her pocket.

I'm glad it was a positive life experience for her & she went on to live a good life, find love & be able to reflect back on the experience to write the book.  There were a few things I wished she would have included more of/better descriptions: 
- ability to see the other hikers in my mind's eye (her descriptions of them were lacking a bit, or maybe I was reading too quickly)
- she carried her camera all those miles, what/who did she take pictures of? I would have liked to have seen some of those included in the book
- she carried a notebook/journal - some of those actual pages would have been interesting to see - her raw feelings of the day
- did her feet ever recover completely?  (Trivial I know - but at times it was the trail vs her feet)
- did her & her siblings ever grow close again?  what about Paul whom she felt was her best friend?

(Book cover image lifted from internet)

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading the book and frankly, I was disappointed. I REALLY didn't enjoy reading about her drug addiction AT ALL. And, yes, I would have liked the book more if it had info about other hikers. She must have walked the trail with her head down because there were few descriptions of the geography and geology. I mean, if you are hiking the PCT, shouldn't you look up at least ONCE and admire the view? I'm now reading "A Blistered Kind of Love", also about the PCT and it is a MUCH more enjoyable book! If you want to read a more lighthearted book, read "A Blistered Kind of Love". I also read "SkyWalker" and I learned more info about the dropping off points like Lone Pine and Independence from his book. By the way, we are currently in the Sierra Nevada and we did see several PCT hikers in both Lone Pine and Bishop. They are midway right about now and are coming down into the towns for resupplies and mail and hot showers. I actually met a couple at the JC Penney in Bishop. They were looking for a bus to take them out of the Sierra...Frankly, I'm not impressed with Oprah's book choices. I didn't even know she had chosen Strayed's book. I found it at COSTCO.