zaterdag 13 juli 2013

Wild & the Pacific Crest Trail

Reading is very important to me, books are álmost as necessary as the air I breath. Sometimes I read a lot (and quick!), sometimes one book take me weeks, but nevertheless I couldn't do without my most beloved escape. Maybe I'll write a blogpost about it another day... I know there are plenty of book-lovers out there who will get this anyway, and the need for the written word is familiar to many in some form. Often a book triggers new interests that I like to explore further. I love going through reviews before ánd after reading a book, and I'd like to add my own humble opinions to the ever growing digital source of information about old and new books.

Little side note: I've been thinking about my blog a lot lately. I have some changes in mind (or, hopefully, improvements :)). One of them is adding a 'Reading & Watching' section, where I want to review the books I read and movies/series I've watched (or at least the ones worth mentioning, the ones I think éveryone should read/see!). Please bear with me though, I'm not an expert on literature or whatsoever, and my reviews might lack in-depth criticism or professional argumentation regarding my opinion. But, maybe in actually writing down these reviews (instead of only forming them in my head) I can grow a bit in forming better analyses of books in all their aspects. I guess that would result in an even greater appreciation of the written word in it's finest forms! we go, the first book review on Lovalizious (I guess a drumroll is out of place for such an uneventful thing as a review?)... Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. 
Wild is a memoir, written by someone who had quite a messy childhood. Throughout the book are flashbacks, revealing bits of Cheryl's youth. This results in slowly understanding better why she came to the point (at the age of 26) where she decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail (or at least 1700 kilometers of it), a long distance hikimg trail on the east of the United States.
Especially Cheryl's loss of her mom to cancer played a big role. Even though her childhood was difficult and somewhat unusual, her mother's love was one thing she could always count on. After losing her, Cheryl ended up in a downward spiral of divorce, heroin abuse and a dangerous love life. Being headed to nowhere she bumped into a guidebook of the PCT by accidence, and decided she had nothing to loose. So...she sold all she had, scraped what she earned with it together to buy a backpack (affectionately called 'Monster' throughout the book) and some other supplies, and used the rest to make little provisional packages that she'd sent to post-offices along the way ahead of her.Starting her journey still quite unprepared (with a wáy too heavy backpack and not really a clue on how to survive in wilderniss), she slowly adapts to a new rhythm: one of walking endless miles on her own, not seeing a soul for days, preparing her own food and water, sleeping in a little tent at night...only to wake up (with even more muscle soreness) to do the exact same thing over again. In the beginning surviving and walking the necessary miles each day takes all she's got. But after some weeks she starts to get used fo her new, temporary way of life. At this point her mom 'shows up' again. Not literally, of course...but Cheryl still has a lot of processing to do on all that's happened to her in her childhood as well as being a young adult. Things she couldn't deal with before, tried to ignore or buried away deeply by pursuing a lifestyle that brought short term relief, but only more emptiness on the long run.Now don't think think this book is all about emo-babble and psychological stuff. Cheryl is a tough girl and definitely had got balls. She might have been the most unprepared girl in the world who ever walked the PCT, but she did it anyway. She goes on after frightening encounters with bears and snakes, struggles through ice cold snowfields followed by burning hot deserts with Monster on her back and picks herself up again after lonely nights in her small tent. She slowly learns more about surviving in the wilderniss and lives a couple of months with extremely little money. She meets new people when passing resupply points, with whom she spends a shorter or longer time, exchanging experiences and simply enjoying the pleasure of company, finally again. A lot of those people have an impact on Cheryl, who's often touched by their kindness. But nevertheless she always says goodbye, to take on on her own again, adding a new layer of corn to her shoulders, hips and feet. No, she's not the whiney-kind of girl.I looked Cheryl up on google and was directed to her facebook-page. She's a pretty, professional and healthy looking woman now. She got married, got kids and wrote even more books. Honestly, I was happy to find out. She looks happy on the pics and seems to have found more meaning and fullfillment in her life. That's what I hoped for when I finished the book. I also found some pictures on Cheryl's facebook page of her 26-year old self on the PCT. I lóve these! And man, just look at Monster...
'Wild' was an incredible book to read, but also made me notice the existense of the PCT for the very first time. Being curious and also a bit adventurous myself, I did some research on this hike. The full route is 4286 kilometers ling and goes all the way from the border with Mexico in the south up to the border with Canada in the north (or the other way around of course). It passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks, and goes through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains (among some other mountain ranges), resulting in a total height difference of 4000 meter. The resupply points often exist out of nothing more than a couple of houses and a central building which serves as a bar, laundry service, hotel and post office. Now I understand that sounds like a nightmare to a lot of people (or at least many would wonder why in the world you'd voluntary undertake such a thing)...but to me, it sounds like an addition to my bucket list. And I' m pretty serious about that! Luckily the boyfriend turned out to be just as enthusiastic (after a while...not having read the book yet he thought the PCT was - just as another simple hike - something for retired people), so now we have a new shared dream.
One last thing to add: I just found out this week that this book is gonna be turned into a movie! Reese Witherspoon is casted as Cheryl, I'm curious to see how she will do (especially since she often plays such neat, girly characters...which Cheryl is obviously nót). At least I hope they won't undo the story from it's rough edges and turn it into a typical polished Hollywood production...but I definitely will give it a chance. Can't wait!I hope you liked my first book will be the Hunger Games-series, only one more half book to finish. I'll be back to talk about Katniss' adventures!

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Thank you so much for your you know, I purchased it for both my daughter and a kindle version for my's well written and after getting through the emotionally charged first chapter, I am so looking forward to read of Cheryl's adventure. I know my daughter will relate well to her spirit as she is such an adventurer herself. Even as a young girl she boldly went out into the world solo.......while this mother held her breath until she returned safely. One of my favorite photos is one of her sitting on the rocks of the rim of the Grand Canyon........just one of the many journeys she took by herself. xo

    1. Thank yóu Rella for your well thought comment! I'm really happy someone found this review so helpful, it motivates me to do more reviews :)
      Beware with your daughter reading about the PCT, this might become her next destination ;) You must be such a proud (but indeed sometimes also worried) mother!
      If you like, please let me know what you thought of the rest of the book once you finished it! X


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