Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Really Hated It

Wild, a book by Cheryl Strayed, loved by many, made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, supposed to be great book.  Well I hated it for so many reasons.  Not the least is the fact that even though it's supposed to be nonfiction I believe she made most of it up.
Let's start at the beginning, this book tells the story of Cheryl Strayed (took that name after her divorce because she'd strayed) who upon the early death of her beloved Mother (lung cancer in her early 40's) more or less has a break down.  She starts cheating on her husband, the love of her life,  with various and assorted people, decides she has to tell him what she's done, may or may not divorce him, doesn't finish college, goes off to Oregon/Washington, gets involved with another guy, starts doing heroin, sees a brochure about the Pacific Crest Trail and decides to walk it ( it's about 2600 miles long and she plans on doing about 1,000 miles of it, on her own) and turn her life around.
Has this lady ever done any long distance hiking, NO.  Does this lady try out her equipment before going, NO.  Does this lady talk with anyone who's ever done this trail, No.  Does this lady train for this walk, No.  Is this lady a complete idiot, YES.
Her story is not the least credible.  I'm supposed to believe she carried a pack that most of the men she met had trouble lifting, that with little or no orientating skills she managed to use a compass and not get lost, that every time she used up her money, and she was stupid about her money, others helped her out.  Of course being blonde and female everyone wanted to help her out.  We won't even go into her sexual reaction to everyone she met, too, too cliched.
In fact a good bit of the book was cliched and repetitive.  She's supposed to be a good writer, but I didn't like her writing style at all.
At the end (spoiler alert) she tells how now all that is behind her, no more sleeping around, no more doing heroin, no more wild adventures, yeah right, I'll bet she's  still the mess she  when she walked the Trail.
I didn't read a lot of reviews of this book until I finished it and I would say that those who liked it, really liked it and those who didn't like it, like me, really didn't like it.  Some complained that there wasn't enough about the Trail itself, but I was ok with that, I realized the story was of her personal journey, not the Trail.  But it wasn't even that, it was, as others have said, a long, boring whine fest.  I'm sorry she lost her Mother, she's not the first, won't be that last.  I say she was a mess long  before her Mother died, and in fact I wonder about her Mother-- she'd left her abusive husband, was scrambling to support herself and her 3 kids when she decided she had to buy a horse, give me a break.
So glad I checked this book out of the library and didn't waste any money buying it.


  1. Well after that review... I really hate it too. Glad you didn't spend money on it.

    That's why I get a lot of my books at the Good Will for 25 cents... if I don't like them...haven't wasted much.

    Thanks for a honest look!

  2. I watched the film recently and thought the same things, I'm just glad I didn't waste time reading the book x

  3. There is an awful lot of slush getting published these days.

  4. Great review and you are quite right no one could complete that walk without much preparation.

  5. I haven't read the book or seen the movie, so this is just a general remark. I do know people who do wild, stupid things, are rescued timed and again by the kindness of strangers or friends and continue on their self-centered ways. And the rest of us slog on like the citizens we were raised to be.

  6. I don't think I could write a better comment than @Joanne Noragon.
    I have backpacked when I was younger and had knees all around the Sierra Mountains It is hard work.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. I read the book when it first came out and can't remember my impression so I'm guessing it was not very memorable. Thanks for your review -- I won't waste time on the movie.

  8. Well, I won't pick this book up! It is not my kind of reading anyway. I mostly find "autobiographical" stuff self indulgent. Hope you have a better book lined up. x

  9. Interesting. I've seen the title, both of the book as well as the movie and it didn't seem very alluring to me, glad you cleared up that my instincts were correct.

    Thanks and have a nice day.

    Marianne from Let's Read


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