Monday, July 27, 2015

Book & Movie Review: Wild

sigh, I guess I should try to get in a better, more regular habit of writing.  Instead of writing, I've been reading more lately, and it's been really great. Hands-on, holding a big ol' book in my hands, staying up late to "just finish this one chapter" and remembering how much I love a good escape.

Last Friday I took the train to Manhattan and was sad to leave my book behind when it would have been great for the hour-plus ride to the city.  But I was in the middle of Killing Kennedy (and I giggle every time I think/say/write that phrase) and it's a hefty book that I didn't feel like toting around the city while I explored Chelsea.  Plus I had a bit of trepidation of how New Yorkers would respond to seeing Bill O'Reilly's name in my hands :P  Instead I was forced to read off of my phone, while trying to keep the battery above 50%.  #firstworldproblems?

Anyway, now I'm diving feet first into Wild by Cheryl Stayed.  This is probably the closest I've come to a "trendy" read of something that was published in the last five years and already enjoyed by book clubs, etc. And I committed the Number One sin by - gasp! - watching the movie before checking out the book.  But this is one of those rare cases where I think the movie helped me with visualizing the scenery of the book, and I'm glad I saw it first.  Plus, I highly doubt I would have given the book a second glance if I hadn't seen the movie beforehand.

Now, as to my "review".  The movie has Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses.  I loved her in Walk the Line, and even appreciated Four Christmases.  Recently Kamil and I literally LOL'd at Hot Pursuit in theaters, which was a rare occasion of me watching a comedy on the big screen.

However, from what I could tell about Wild, it seemed very serious and Sundance-film-festival-esque and not something I would normally go to.  It was something I picked up to watch during Kamil's night rotation a few weeks back.  And my overall impression? INTENSE. Like, I had to stay up another hour and a half watching replays of "America's Got Talent" to get it out of my system.  Because some of the more graphic sex & drug scenes were a bit much. (and side note, do any of you wonder about these celebrities' kids? like, how do they explain to their children the kind of roles they take on?)

Yet something about the story encouraged me to not completely reject Cheryl Stayed.  Because, in a less destructive way, I can relate to the desire to escape and get within oneself.  I did a long road trip on my own in the summer of 2009 while I was in grad school and experienced a bit of that similar longing to be alone and discover the world as a single young woman.  And right now, with all the transitions happening this summer, a part of me longs for that time.  Which I think is something a lot of folks can also appreciate.

Stayed also reminds me of the book Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon.  I was assigned a portion of the book in an awesome 20th century history class in grad school, and soon read the whole book on my own.  It too follows a young American's unconventional journey around the country seeking to learn more about himself.  And I'm sure there are other books in this trend (On the Road comes to mind, though I haven't read that one), and it seems to be its own kind of genre.  This longing to get out and do something, and since doing something seems to be impossible to understand, many take to travel as a means to feel a pull towards a greater action.

This is getting long so I'm trying to wrap things up.  I'm halfway through the book Wild and it's an enjoyable read.  It's heartbreaking, and I'm grateful for my life a little more (which makes me sound like a huge snob and whatnot), and I appreciate Stayed's candor and honesty.  I like the balance of the stories of life on the trail versus her life before the trail, and all she learns in between.  And now I'm wanting to see parts of the Pacific Crest Trail the next time I get to California ;)

So, here's hoping y'all find it or a similar treasure to read as July wraps up!



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