As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m trying to read the majority of BuzzFeed’s 16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year that I’ve not completed already. And by majority, I mean the ones I actually want to read (and eventually see the movie). I was attempting to go in order of movie release date, but my anticipation got the best of me and patience has never been one of my better virtues, so I jumped ahead to Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This one has actually been on my Amazon wish list for awhile, as it was a top rated book of 2012 by pretty much every website you can imagine (and The Oprah). How I hadn’t read it already I have no clue. Actually I do, I believe books have their time and place in each of our respective lives. They hit our hands or our Kindles exactly when they’re meant to. Even Twilight had its purpose in my life. More on that later.
As for Wild, I have not been this inspired and motivated by a book since I read Eat, Pray, Love. For the most part, those who’ve read EPL either LOVE it or HATE it, there isn’t much in between. I am in the love love love camp, for both the book and movie. And I continue to drink Eilzabeth Gilbert’s Kool-Aid; I can’t stop myself. EPL is actually the main reason I believe books appear in our lives when needed. December of 2008 was a very hard time. I was in LA, going through my divorce and it was my holiday season “single” for quite some time. I’d also been through a handful of other unfortunate encounters with the opposite sex. I don’t know any other way to phrase that other than “encounters”, as describing them as relationships is both an overstatement and much too kind. At the time, one of my then girlfriends worked for the studio that released EPL and she gave me a copy of the book for Christmas. She told me she hadn’t finished it yet herself, but what she had read reminded her of me, what I was going through, and thought I should read it. She was right. There were parts of that book that were extremely painful to read, but it was still therapeutic.
Although I could relate to what Elizabeth Gilbert went through in the beginning of EPL, why she set off on her travels, I will be forthright and say I cannot, at all, relate to what Cheryl Strayed went through that prompted her travels. She lost her mom, very suddenly and tragically to cancer. While not able to empathize, I can certainly sympathize with her unimaginable loss. It threw her into a mad phase of drugs and infidelity, which led to a very painful divorce. Now that I can empathize with. For example, she says that Paul (her husband) and her “fought and cried and shook the car with [their] rage. [They] were monstrous in [their] cruelty…” Although it was me sitting in my car alone, the same ferocious arguments took place over multiple phone calls. I lost my voice on more than one occasion. Cried so much I became dehydrated. Scared multiple people in the parking lot of Westside Pavilion. I never knew how nasty I could be and gosh knows I never want to be that way again. I don’t need time alone in the wilderness to know that.
I don’t think what I posted about and that I finished this book on Tuesday was a coincidence. They’re perfect companions. Everyone is going through something right now, most likely something we don’t want to be going through. And we all deal differently. I’ve dealt with tough times in a variety of ways, both rather toxic and relatively healthy. These days I personally try to turn to my readings, my Gaby and my yoga mat. Cheryl Strayed turned to 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. And I have immense respect for her for doing so. I was proud of myself for just hiking Runyon Canyon when I lived in LA.
As Cheryl more or less says in the book’s trailer and in the last chapter, she truly came out on the other side of her massive hike as a different person, a whole person. As soon as it was over, she realized she had absolutely no idea where her life was going to take her after such a trying journey, she really only knew where she was going to live temporarily, just like we have no clue what is going to happen to us after our tribulations are over. Or really…what is going to happen at all. And that’s absolutely okay.
It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. – Cheryl Strayed
PS for those of you who are fellow fans, Nick Hornby actually wrote the script for the movie!