This was a book club pick, but book club is no more, because three members moved away. But I decided to give this book a shot anyway. And I'm glad I did!
As I was reading it, I couldn't help making parallels to Eat, Pray, Love. Mainly, that those books were striving for the same catharsis - shitty things happen, so a woman goes on her own sort of walkabout to get shit straightened out. But while EPL was a self-indulgent memoir written by a rich lady who goes on to patronize brown people the world over, Wild is something much more relatable, and much better written. Strayed makes no bones about her imperfections and describes in detail her numerous fuck-ups both on and off the trail. And her journey isn't about finding meaning in the exotic culture or relgion of some far off population - it's about testing herself physically and mentally, on her own.
Her memories of her mother are heartwrenching but beautiful. You see her come to terms with her mother's life and death, flaws and all. And that's a theme that pervades - at the end of the book, Strayed is accepting of flaws and strengths at the same time - hers, her mother's everybody's.
The descriptions of the trail itself are beautiful. I'd love to go there.
Also - she's a feminist English major from Minnesota, who brought William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor on the trail with her. YESSSS!!!