Book Talk: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“It was a world I’d never been to and yet  had  known was there all along, one I’d staggered to in sorrow and confusion and fear and hope. A world I thought would both make me into the woman I knew I could become and turn me back into the girl I’d once been. A world called the Pacific Crest Trail.” — Cheryl Strayed
‘Wild’ is a memoir of the author’s time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail following the loss of her mother and the breakup of her marriage. At the time of the journey, her life is spinning out of control and she is homeless and orphaned and feeling utterly alone in the world.

“Maybe I was more alone than anyone in the whole wide world. Maybe that was okay.”

While I am a motherless daughter and there was SO much in this book I could identify with, when I gave it some thought, this passage seems to be my most significant takeaway:

“As difficult and maddening as the trail could be, there was hardly a day that passed that didn’t offer up some form of what was called trail magic…the unexpected and sweet happenings that stand out in stark relief to the challenges of the trail…” 

The passage stuck with me because I am an eternal optimist. I don’t have bad days, only less than stellar moments.  Every day there are good things happening and it is those moments I choose to focus on…these moments of joy can be called by many names, trail magic fits.

This memoir is so well told, so descriptive and bluntly emotional–not emotional as in sobbing and sad but raw and honest. The pages practically turned by themselves. Whether you are a motherless daughter or still have your mother in this world, this book is a riveting story of how the author coped with devastating loss and terrifying aloneness, with spiraling out of control yet always knowing that moving forward is key.