My book club chose Wild by Cheryl Strayed as a recent read. While I'd heard plenty about it and usually enjoy outdoor adventure stories, I hadn't been interested enough in it to want to read it.
But, I found it on my library's ebook selection so I checked it out.
The first bit was kinda painful. Strayed spends a great deal of time talking about what led her to take off on her crazy journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. She fell apart when her mother died and started making really bad decisions: cheating on her husband, doing heroin, etc. With her divorce finalized and the rest of her life in shambles, she heads off to hike the PCT for months.
When she started, she hardly had any business being on the trail. She was ill prepared and had a very tough time. As she continued on her trip, she learned from other hikers and became fairly adept at backpacking. She met friends along the way and sorted out her emotional issues.
I ended up liking the book more by the end. However, if it was not a book club read, I wouldn't have picked it up in the first place, nor would I have finished it. I'm glad I finished it, but if I'd been reading it on my own I wouldn't have made it. I just couldn't empathize with her in the beginning. I didn't want to read about someone whose life had gotten so awful in part because of her really poor life choices.
Obviously Strayed has moved on from her low points and there's redemption in that. As an adventure story, it isn't as exciting as I was hoping. There's lots of other books about being outdoors that are much more upbeat. If you are looking for one, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is great. It's humorous so it's coming from a different place, but covers the same ground about a clueless hiker.