I finished this book in June and it’s still with me. If there was one thing I wasn’t expecting from this read, it was just how inspiring it would be.
After losing her mother, Cheryl Strayed is at a loss of what to do next and decides on impulse, after coming across a guide book at a store, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. With no training and the only the book to guide her, Strayed starts in the Mohave Desert and makes her way through Oregon and to Washington State.
How more inspiring can you get? I wish I could do something as impulsive as just grab a backpack and hike across three states alone. ALONE! Of course, she meets other hikers on the trail and even becomes friends with some of them but most of the trail, she is alone.
What I loved about this book is how Strayed’s journey parallels critical points in her life and thus the reader gets to learn how far she has come while also seeing her grow.
Of course, when Strayed hits an obstacle on the trail, you can’t help but feel anxious for her. She is alone! What if she gets hurt? What if an animal attacks her? How will someone find her? Will someone find her? Yet, I loved being there as she figures it out along the way. I cheered every time she made it to a resupply stop, though at one point I was cringing with every step she took to get there. I was practically counting the steps along with her until she made it.
Strayed’s writing is so vivid I could feel the arid desert, feel the pain as she fell along the trail, gouging her knee. I could see everything our character is seeing as if I was living it with her, a bunch of images crossing my vision.
I think listening to this on audiobook only added to the overall story. While the book was not narrated by the author, it was still captivating. I’m not going to lie, I secretly wished Reese Witherspoon, who played Strayed in the film, had narrated it. Oh well. It still immediately grabbed my attention and held it for the length of my journey. I found myself even sitting in my car after I got to my destination, wanting to continue to listen to her story. I am so glad I have this book on audible, so I can listen to it again.