Wild, A Memoir

Photo credits: Judy Lee
Photo credits: Judy Lee

‘Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are’ PULL UP. ‘Show me the books you read and I will tell you who you are.’

Now that I have cleared that cliche quote out of my in-tray we can get right into the meat of this post which starts with Oprah book club and ends with a box of handkerchiefs.

I like Oprah, she’s a self-made boss who exudes character traits that I admire. She also runs this thing called the Oprah book club which I thought was about women getting together and drinking tea from small fancy cups while gossiping till recently after an acquaintance recommended James Frey’s, A million little pieces and I saw the club in a whole different light.

After ravenously devouring Frey’s, A Million Little Pieces (which is now on my top five must read recommendations) I went looking for another book that would fill the void it left and while on the club’s site I came across Wild by Cheryl.

Wild is the kind of book that knocks the wind out of your sail (I said we’ll be using neat phrases like this for our middle class peeps in the about of the blog, I hope I’m not disappointing, guys). Wild is about this woman who walks 1,100 miles through deserts, forests, mountains and snow with a monstrosity of a bag to try and find her true north after her mother’s passing.

You get to look at mothers differently after picking up Wild. It’s weird how we see mothers as wives, as caregivers, as these invincible people who should be there for us for eternity. We never pause and see them as mortal human beings. People with their own desires and ambitions. People who want other things in life besides mothering us.

I’d hate to imagine what happens when you loose your mother, especially because I have taken mine for granted all along. And its the little things like refusing to pick her calls or worse forgetting to reply them. Being an asshole to her beacuse you’ve fallen victim to the notion that mothers are immortal superheros who will be there tomorrow to be taken for granted.

A mothers passing I’d imagine brings alot of memories and emotions flooding back and it can sometimes plunge a hole in you. A hole that can never be filled by any amount of alcohol nor covered by any amount of reckless drug abuse or sexual escapades.

Photo credits: Wild, the movie
Photo credits: Wild, the movie

Cheryl, Wild is one of the few books I have come across that tries to unpack the love of a mother and what the void she leaves behind does to you long after she’s gone.

Cheryl will probe you to be kinder to the people you love. She’ll probe you to meet the obstacles in your life head on because in this life nothing is impossible unless you decide it is. But most importantly, she will entertain you with her honesty, and her storytelling gift that ebbs effortlessly throughout the book. If you’re the sentimental kind you might shade a tear or two so just have a box of handkerchiefs nearby when you pick her up.

Other books by Cheryl Strayed include, Brave Enough, Torch and Tiny Little Things from her column Dear sugar on The Rumpus.

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