A voice that stands out in the Memoir realm is Cheryl Strayed. Her novel, Wild is now a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. The journey Strayed takes the reader on is extraordinary and incredibly moving. Throughout the novel, you become acquainted with her story in such a way that you feel as if you’re almost reading letters directly from her. The friendship that forms between book and reader is one of a kind.
New York Times Novel Critic Dwight Garner wrote of Wild:
“Cheryl Strayed’s new memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” however, pretty much obliterated me. I was reduced, during her book’s final third, to puddle-eyed cretinism. I like to read in coffee shops, and I began to receive concerned glances from matronly women, the kind of looks that said, “Oh, honey.” It was a humiliation.
To mention all this does Ms. Strayed a bit of a disservice, because there’s nothing cloying about “Wild.” It’s uplifting, but not in the way of many memoirs, where the uplift makes you feel that you’re committing mental suicide.”
This remarkable review gives the memoir the credence it deserves. The emotion isn’t terribly dramatic, with a heartbreaking love scene and the typical rom-com feel. It makes you question the things in life that you didn’t think you would need to. She puts the mirror out and shows us the reflections of ourselves; leaving us to ponder if we have what it takes to brave the mighty PCT.
Inexperienced and living on blind faith, Strayed packs up her life and hits the wilderness with a pack that weighs almost as much as she does. She walks, making each step count, driving herself on. At the end of the novel the reader feels what Cheryl feels, knows what Cheryl knows, and hopes what Cheryl hopes. Masterfully written, she guides the reader to tears of joy, fullness, and sorrow; while breaking for laughter, happiness, and hope.