After much contemplation, I picked my favorite five books that I read in 2013 (not necessarily published in 2013) and posted one review per week until we got to the top. So far, I have posted…
- #5 What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
- #4 The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
- #3 Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
- #2 The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
And now it’s time… my favorite book that I read last year is Wild by Cheryl Stayed. I loved it because I’m an adventurer at heart and it was more than inspiring. It put me back on a memoir streak, too.
5 of 5 stars!
My original review:
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. -John Muir
Tell me, what it is you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life. -Mary Oliver
This book is phenomenal.. I mean freaking AMAZING. Everyone should read it. Even if you aren’t super outdoorsy and could never see yourself backpacking across 3 states, it still has a great message.
As for me, I’ve always loved to explore the outdoors. I’ve actually never gone full on backpacking though. This book really made me long to get away from life and just be in nature for at least a week – or at least go camping in some cold weather… although, that’s not so easy in Hawaii.
The story starts off with the explanation of Cheryl Strayed’s whole downward spiral after her mother died and how it led her to the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m not going to lie, the first chapter is extremely depressing, especially for anyone close to their mom. It honestly did not give me high hopes for the rest of the book. But the story picks up in the next chapter once she is on the PCT, and the adventure begins.
There are stories of all the awesome people she meets and all the miles she walked alone. There are stories of kindness from strangers. There are stories of beautiful nature experienced in the most serene places. Can you imagine walking thousands of miles by yourself, not knowing what you will run into? Talk about flying by the seat of your pants. Sounds like the ultimate adventure to me. Cheryl Strayed really made me feel like I could if I wanted to.
Mostly, this book is a discovery of self. The author believed that she would leave her life and just be alone in the woods for 3 months to contemplate her life, cry, and get over it. She actually was only able to think about her aching feet and body at first, then was just quiet with nature. What she found instead was the strength within herself that she didn’t know she had – to remember her hard times and still be able to live.
This is a strength that we all have if we only know how to find it. This was truly an inspiring and entertaining story that I could definitely go read again right now.
I have read a lot of reviews of this book that talk about how Cheryl’s selfishness in her marriage after losing her mother or her stupidity with lack of planning for her backpacking trip really annoyed them. I did find myself judging her a little while reading, but I think they add to the lessons that she learned and provide an honesty to the story. After all, it is a true story, an amazing true story of redemption and adventure. I recently purchased this book for a re-read before the movie comes out in September? (I think). I can’t wait to see if Reese Witherspoon does the story justice.