We made it to book number 2! It was another choice from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and unsurprisingly, it did not disappoint. Wild by Cheryl Strayed proved to be an inspirational story about a woman who had lost her way in life and found herself during her hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.
I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to do…I could only choose between the bull that would take me back and the bull that would take me forward. And so I walked on. (page 69)
In such a simple way, this quote captures what it means to live. The challenges we face in life are often unpleasant and terrifying but to get past them you have to keep moving forward, even though you don’t know what lies ahead. The book is written in such a fantastic way that you feel like you are on the trail with Cheryl; what she feels – her pain, her anger, her accomplishments – you feel them with her. When I closed the book, I felt proud of her for accomplishing such a feat and honored that she had shared the journey.
Although I will never hike for 100 days straight, this story is hugely motivational in terms of overcoming obstacles and the ability to find yourself when you’ve hit rock bottom. Life can throw you curve balls and be unfair but how you react can change the life path you are on, and you have the power to choose which path that is. It reminds you to keeping moving forward and that in the end it will all be worth it.
There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course. (page 304)
The other key theme that we took away from the book is Cheryl becoming an independent person as she realizes she can’t rely on anyone but herself to survive out on the PCT. She doesn’t have her mom, her husband Paul, her heroine friend Joe, or anyone else to comfort and guide her. As she lets go of her anger towards her mom and the guilty feelings from her marriage she grows stronger as a person and maybe learns that everything wasn’t her fault but its how she reacts to it that is going to make a difference. The book finishes with a line that sums up what she ultimately learned as she fought for her survival while hiking: “How wild it was, to let it be.” (page 311)
What did you think of the book?