I may be a little behind the hype on this one, since the book was published in 2012 and the film has already been released on DVD, but I recently read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and found it deeply moving so I want to share my review in case it catches the eye of anyone who is on the fence about it. In my opinion, all the publicity surrounding this book is well deserved
As a reader, I appreciated that Cheryl Strayed seemed very honest. She did not paint a portrait of herself as some trail goddess, effortlessly stomping past the nay-sayers. Instead, she allowed an intimate and unashamed glimpse into her mishaps on the trail as well as her past, choosing not to exclude her failures. The book bounces back and forth in time, between the author's family history and coming of age to her epic quest on the the Pacific Crest Trail. This format made for a quick plot and a nice mixture of adventure and backstory.
The plot gathered so much momentum that I started the book in audio format and had to switch midway through because I wanted to soak up the details faster than the narrator was giving them to me. With the book in my hands, I tore through the pages to see if Strayed would make it to the "finish line" before having her will shattered by the various obstacles she encountered during her trek. The hike easily materialized in my imagination with detailed descriptions of the ways she dealt with the loneliness of the trail, singing folk songs aloud during the day and clinging to the comfort of books in the evenings.
I watched the movie shortly after completing the book, and I loved the experience of seeing the whole story come to life without being butchered by Hollywood. The soundtrack is fantastic, and Nick Hornby did a superb job writing a screenplay that stayed fairly true to the book. I will not soon forget this unflinching portrayal of one woman's rock-bottom and her inspiring quest to reshape her life.