Time to Grow Up



Recently, I realized that it won’t be long until I’ll have two decades worth of memories. It’s a scary thought. I won’t be a teenager anymore. I’m on my own… I’ll be alive for two decades already. It’ll be some time until then, but when has one year or two years been a long time? Time goes by quickly. With each passing year, I’ll grow older, accumulate more memories and read more books.

In an effort to get myself interested in books again, I requested a memoir. I needed to read something else than fiction for a while. I sent a request and soon after, I completely forgot that I had done so.
A package from Knopf was at my doorstep. I opened it, and discovered Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. This was the book I had read about in Vogue (March 2012 issue). Was that why I sent a request out? Anyways, when did I send a request out, anyways?

Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, an 11,000-mile hike, alone after her mother’s death when Strayed was still in college. It was her way to deal with the grief of becoming motherless and an orphan.
The book was soothing in a way. Loss is an awkward topic. It becomes too easily cliché or sappy. However, the memories of Cheryl’s mother made me sympathize. I had lost a relative, while not my mom; it was similar in many ways.

I had lost interest in the book after Cheryl started hiking. It’s an extreme way to deal with grief, seeing how Strayed never went backpacking in her life. However, Strayed never had the typical childhood. She spent high school “playing the dumb blond so [she] wouldn’t be socially ostracized… [she] lived in a house with a honey bucket for a toilet and a woodstove for heat.” Her stepfather drove around in a “pickup truck he’d made himself, with a blowtorch, a chain saw, and a few two-by-fours.”

The narrative of a twenty-something who goes on a trail to deal with grief seemed interesting, or so it seemed. Sixty pages into the trail, I got bored. I cannot stand stories drawn out descriptions of nature. Nature stories bore me, especially Thoreau’s essays about nature. One of his essays about nature was assigned as summer work and it was so painful, I wanted to go and cry. That essay was twenty pages. This book is 311 pages.

There’s always going to be the question of why I even requested the book, if I don’t like nature. The reason is this, I had experienced loss and I’m still trying to come to terms with it. The promise of an adventure to deal with grief was interesting. I liked when Strayed talked about her memories of her mother. I really did.
The book details the places and sights that Strayed saw. It was all a foreign language to me. I had no clue where the places were, and I had no desire to keep flipping to the front of the book to look at the map of the trail every time a place was mentioned.

I think I would’ve enjoyed this book more if I had an interest in nature stories. However, there was one thing that I liked. I liked how Strayed was frank about her loss and grief. This wasn’t some mopey and cliché BS about how she was going to deal. Strayed was frank about her emotions, anger, hurt, loss, and the things she did to try to deal with her grief.

Pub date: March 20th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Price: $25.95 (USD)

alice-jane

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Maira Gall