I like fiction, I like to lose myself in a good story, to fall in love and/or hate with great characters, to escape, however fleetingly, into another world.
There’s enough reality in my own life, thank you very much, I don’t want it in my books.
Although every now and then, a non-fiction offering will garner such praise and attention that even I can’t ignore it, and will (after a last couple of good hits of fantasy) delve into someone else’s reality. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is one such book.
At 26 Cheryl Strayed is lost. The death of her mother four years prior, the subsequent scattering of her siblings and stepfather, and her own destruction of her marriage have left her a deeply unsatisfied waitress dabbling in casual sex and heroin.
On a whim, in an effort to put her life back together, she decides to hike 1,100 miles in three months on the Pacific Coast Trail, alone. With a backpack so enormous she literally cannot lift it at first, Cheryl “hunching in a remotely upright position”, begins her trek. We are quick to learn that her dismal lack of hiking experience is counterbalanced only by her astonishing determination.
As Cheryl encounters rattlesnakes and bears, loses toenails, fights both extreme heat and record snowfalls, she muses on the life events which brought her to the hike.
The backstory provides plenty of insight into her character and, as we grow to know her more and more, we begin to understand how, despite her lack of experience, she can withstand the hardships of the trail.
Cheryl may be a woman lost, but she is not a woman beaten. She has strength in spades, and while she started out as somewhat of a joke to the other hikers she encounters, with her too-big backpack and too-small boots, she eventually becomes a friend and inspiration.
Strayed writes powerfully and purposefully; in a voice at turns brutally honest or achingly philosophical.
While other books about “finding one’s self” can often strike me as cloying and over sentimental, Wild balances humor, truth, and substance beautifully. The book itself unfolds like Cheryl’s hike, constant ups and downs without the traditional rising action, climax, and resolution we expect from good fiction; then again this isn’t good fiction, but it is good non-fiction.
This is where I usually tell you to come in and check it out, but today there’s twist, you can’t, Wild is not in the Lewisporte Public Library. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the Inter-Library Loans, anything not in our local library can be ordered in from another library in the province. So please come on in and take advantage of this fabulous service.
This month at the library, we have our new Early Learning Program for 0-3 year olds on Wednesday mornings at 10 am, our new Pokémon Club Wednesday evenings at 6:45 pm, our annual Halloween party will be Saturday, Oct. 25,at 2 pm, and our monthly senior’s games afternoons will be resuming Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 2 pm. Happy reading!
Come get your free library card and check it out at Lewisporte Public Library. Our hours are:
Tuesday: 10-12 1:30-5
Wednesday: 1:30-5 6:30 – 8:30
Thursday: 10 – 12 1:30 – 5
Friday: 10 – 12 1:30 – 5
Saturday: 12 – 4