In the Books: Wild

Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

Bad pun time: I am positively wild about “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.

Earlier in the semester, I wrote a review about the movie “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon. Curious about the real story, I bought the book the movie is based on.

Obviously, book-to-film adaptations will have a lot of changes, mostly so the movie won’t be too long. I was expecting the movie to have really strayed (last pun, I swear) from the book.

I was half correct.

There were some parts of the book that were brand new to me while others seemed verbatim.

One of my big questions was whether she really just decided one day to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, then set out like it was portrayed in the movie. She really did decide one day to “hike [herself] back to the woman her mother thought she was.”

However, she spent a lot of time preparing for the grueling trip.

The real Cheryl met several more people on the trail than what was portrayed in the movie, again, for timing purposes.

All of the people she met were kind-hearted and helped her with her journey. The ones who did make it into the movie were played perfectly.

Ed, the man who cleaned out her backpack at the first stop, was one of my favorite people to read about. He stayed at Kennedy Meadows during the summer to meet various hikers. He helped Cheryl keep going even though she wanted to quit.

Strayed’s voice in her writing is something made of beauty. Her words seemed to reach out to me from the pages.

She made me long for the trail. I longed for the life-changing and life-affirming world of hiking.

I could feel the tension she faced when she met certain shady people. I could feel her joy when she reached the next post office. The way she wrote, it’s almost as if my emotions were what kept her going.

If I stopped reading, then she would stop walking.

There are some graphic moments of the book. Strayed talked in detail of having to kill her mother’s horse. While it was the humane thing to do, it wasn’t easy reading about it. Another moment that needs caution is the fact that she ate her mother’s ashes.

The meaning behind this was somewhat beautiful, but it was a little disgusting.

One of the huge differences between the book and the movie was Cheryl herself. In the movie, Cheryl was angrier. No doubt the real Cheryl was angry about her mother dying, but in the movie, she seemed aggressive.

In the book, we saw her anger as more of a reflection of the time rather than a current emotion. Most of the book was written with a tone of acceptance and happiness. I think I preferred the voice of Cheryl in the book over the movie.

This makes a perfect book to pick up during the summer. I promise, you will devour every word just as I did.