I’m still kind of amazed that I accomplished the feat of reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and also seeing the movie in less than two months. Amazed because since having my son (now 21 months), I’ve watched maybe five movies in the theater and my voracious reading habit has turned into the crumbs of words I can snatch at night before sleep overtakes me.
I read the book over the four weeks my husband, son and I spent traveling to/from/around England visiting my in-laws. I watched the movie while on a weekend holiday to Edgefield with a group of friends. I recommend all of the above: traveling, reading the book and seeing the movie. While I didn’t come away with a burning desire to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, I did appreciate a true life story so beautifully told. The honesty so unflinchingly revealed by the author was enhanced by the flow of the narrative, at turns exciting and introspective with a thread of dark humor to sew things together. The movie, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby, takes all the right pieces from the book and provides a viewing experience that neither relies on the book nor discounts it. The movie is whole on its own, but having read the book made it even more of an event.
Also making it an event was the theater, a small little thing on a property known as “Disneyland for Grownups.” If you aren’t familiar with the McMenamins properties, this is the essence: take a nursing home/school/convent and turn it into a funky hotel with pubs, bars, restaurants and soaking pools. The theater on this particular property had seats like lounge chairs, tables for the refreshments you ordered prior to the show, and a cozy balcony.
Cheryl’s accomplishment of hiking the PCT on her own may be more impressive than my accomplishment of taking in the movie alone, but it felt like a big deal to me. There are journeys and there are journeys, and we each take them our own way. Step by step, page by page, frame by frame.
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The link to “Wild” is an affiliate link.