I really, really wanted to love this book. I wanted to open the pages and read the same kind of wisdom and deep insight that I found in Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. At first, I thought I would, as I was totally absorbed by the first half of the book, but as I kept reading I was left wanting and disappointed.
After the swift and unexpected death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed, only 22, thought she had lost everything. Spiraling downward in a pattern of self-destruction that included the end of her marriage, sex with strangers, drug abuse and even an abortion, Cheryl finally fixated on the idea of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Deseret through California and Oregon to Washington State — and to do it all alone, with no serious long-distance hiking experience or knowledge of backpacking, all in hopes of finding herself again in the solitude of the trail.
This memoir is beautifully written and surprisingly honest, but I found it lacking in the depth that I expect from such a book. I kept waiting for the breakthrough, for the wisdom and healing, and while it did occur in small degrees, it was mostly her continuing to be selfish and self-destructive. There was no redemption, and that was what I expected.
So, as much as I wanted to love this book, I did not.
Rated: High. Frequent foul language, mostly the f-word; sex scenes and sexual references; author has an abortion and uses drugs, including heroin.