Cheryl Strayed’s auto-biography Wild is a painfully honest account of how she processed the death of her mother and confronted her own shattered sense of self. Using her remarkable solo hike on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) as the central image, she confronts her fears, loss and short-comings with a relentlessly detailed and direct manner. I dreamed of my mother incessantly. In the dreams I was always with her when she died…I tied her to a tree in our front yard and poured gasoline over her head, then lit her on fire.
Strayed’s honesty is striking, tearing herself apart, not only reflecting on her loss but also her isolation and her sexuality. My hands running slowly up into his curly hair and down to his brawny back, holding his gorgeous male body against mine. There hasn’t been a time that I’ve done that that I haven’t remembered all over again how much I love men. Because of the consistently self-reflective approach, Strayed’s book does read long, conveying the relentless aspect of the trail she hiked and the problems she faced with perhaps excessive detail.
For a glimpse into the unforgiving style – and soul – of Ms. Strayed, her autobiographical essay, The Love of My Life is a stunning piece.