Click image to see flyleaf.
Cheryl Strayed. Never heard of her. But WILD came my way and her writing blew me acrosss the room with its power, beauty and honesty. I don’t think I’ve read a book of this quality since Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird. (I’m glad I didn’t let Oprah’s Book Club recommendation put me off.)
When I began, if I had known what was between the covers, I would have held on more tightly. Cheryl wastes no time. Chapter one: ‘Ten Thousand Things’ is written with surgical precision. The throbbing intensity grows with each page until it must be fed. It must be bled for. Sobbed for until gasps replace breathing, until unconciousness provides a drop of relief. There is power in pain. The words vibrate with accuracy. Each one perfectly chosen for one particular place on the page. Doubtless she is her own editor, tirelessly playing each refrain until it is without flaw. The mechanics are perfect. Every word fits, every phrase passes smoothly to the next, every page builds the story, the book, the journey. But….wait until you get caught up in the content.
Not many years ago, Chery’s mother died. Cheryl’s inner void filled with despair and it grew. Getting off track took time and getting back on track would be no different. The first few chapters set the stage. The remaining chapters journey along the Pacific Crest Trail telling a bittersweet personal story, unusually raw, always focused. Hiking toward a better place: Oregon. The Columbia River. The Bridge of the Gods.
WILD must be your next read. It is Steak Tartare for the reader, Caviar for the soul.
Not particularly maritime related, but a salty journey, nonetheless. And as Melville wrote in Moby Dick: “Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete”.
A little taste by way of a few vids. Now what is she going to do for an encore?
Vid-1 Vid-2 Vid-3 Vid-4