Geschreven bij Wild
This book really resonated with me. I felt in the beginning almost as if it were my story. Not the hiking, or the drugs or the promiscuity, but the emotions and the sort of downward spiral in her early 20s. The feelings she expressed about her mother's decline, the anger at her siblings, the need for her mother's recognition, etc...it could have been me. Like Cheryl, I grew up poor, watching other kids get boom-boxes and toys for Christmas while we struggled to afford necessities and my mother did any number of odd jobs to earn a living. And my mother used to say basically the same thing as Cheryl's did...that we might be poor in pocket-book, but we were rich in love. We didn't live quite as hard as her family...we actually had a table, and we had a toilet, but in a town full of very comfortable families, we were the "have nots" and we stood out for that reason. So I understood that from her...all the things she learned about saving, about living on nothing. And then there's losing her mother to cancer when she was still too young to be motherless. Like Bobbi (Cheryl's mother), my mom had to be both parents to us. My dad wasn't always around and he was unreliable at best. To lose the one person you have always depended on, and to watch the strong become weak and dependent is almost unbearable. Everything Cheryl was saying about her feelings during that time, I found myself nodding in agreement. Yes, I felt that, too! I was fortunate that I had already gotten through the falling apart stage before my mom got sick...the part where my relationship cratered and I went looking for who I was...that was a lot less dramatic for me than for Cheryl, and by the time my mom died, I was happily married and through that rebellious phase and was really able to lean on my husband rather than turn away from him. So maybe the story is a bit mixed up, but her story touches something in me because I went through so much of what she did. Like recognizes like. I can't exactly relate to the hiking over 1000 miles with a monster pack on my back, though I can relate to the basic need to get away...I moved to a different continent...also a sort of journey, albeit one with more creature comforts. And I love the people she encountered...I love that, when she had all this happen to her, when her life spiraled and she was in a very vulnerable position, people didn't take advantage of it, but instead helped her. I kept thinking...wow, these hikers are all the very best sort of people! And if I wasn't such a wuss, I might consider making just such a trip in hopes of meeting some of these people, or people like them.
Plot: Cheryl's life spirals out of control with the death of her mother. Her family falls apart, her marriage dissolves, she's lost. Inspired by a guidebook she sees on the shelf in a store, she decides to hike from California to Oregon on the Pacific Crest trail. She sees it as a chance to be alone with her thoughts and to learn to be independent and strong. She has rather underestimated the difficulties of this journey and finds herself giving up when she finally encounters other hikers and her purpose is somewhat renewed. She meets a variety of different people on the trail who become a kind of lifeline on this journey.