It has taken me a good few months to finish Wild and that’s not to say that it’s a bad read, because it’s far from it; it’s a fantastic book. When I started it back at the beginning of the year I knew I would struggle with it. Right from the moment I read the blurb on the back which told me that Cheryl had lost her mother to cancer very rapidly and everything had fallen apart from there, I knew. This would be tough to get through because I’m still dealing with the same issue, 10 years after my own mum died.
I celebrated making it through the first chapter, put the book down and didn’t pick it up again until a few months later. To be honest, it frightened me that what I’d find inside these 300 or so pages would tear me open again and it did. But the beauty of this book for me was that I no longer felt alone. As emotionally difficult as this was to read for me, there were many times that Cheryl was speaking my life and my feelings on to the pages.
There is a section where Cheryl feels anger towards her mum for dying and she so succinctly put into words what I have never been able to, feelings I didn’t even know I felt…
“It was wrong. It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me. I couldn’t even hate her properly. I didn’t get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about all the things I wish she’d done differently and then get older and understand that she had done the best she could and realize that she had done pretty damn good and take her fully back into my arms again. Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance. It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever as a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we’d left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.” – Wild, Cheryl Strayed
What I love about the book is that I feel a huge connection with the story. It seems so similar to mine, you know apart from the affairs and heroin… Having hiked a little myself, I enjoyed following the author along the trail, being as relieved as she was to get to the box at the end of each few hundred miles and, having never experienced it or even knowing it is, I now crave Snapple like there’s no tomorrow! As I finished reading it was as if I’d hiked the PCT myself only I, thankfully, still have all my toenails in tact.
Read it. Please.
Have you read Wild? What are your thoughts on it?