BBGMBC Discussion Question #1 for Wild by Cheryl Strayed

by @thewritermama on April 1, 2012 · 41 comments

Welcome to the first book discussion of the Beyond Busy Global Monthly Book Club.

Today, April 1st, we begin our global discussion of Wild, From Lost To Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf March 2012).

No fooling!

In the true “beyond busy” spirit, I finished the book at about 8:30 pm on the last day of March, just in time to begin this discussion on April 1st.

If you have not finished the book yet yourself, you might want to steer clear of these posts until you have finished reading, as they may contain spoilers.

All book discussion posts are clearly marked with the abbreviation, “BBGMBC,” to set them apart from other posts.

BBGMBC=Beyond Busy Global Monthly Book Club (Can also be used as a tag on Twitter: #BBGMBC)

I will be asking one discussion question per day in this blog for seven days each month. Anyone can join the club (sign up in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/257596150995443/).

In the Facebook group we can easily introduce ourselves and share our enthusiasm for the books without spoilers. But here in this blog, we can share, in more detail, what we think about the book and want to express to others about our experience as readers.

If you are new to the book club, just jump in and start reading and join us as soon as you finish the book. I respectfully ask only those who have finished the book to participate in the discussion.

And don’t worry, if you need more time, you can always finish up the book at your own pace and then jump in and answer these questions at any time.

For those of us who wish to participate in real time (the 1st – the 7th of the month), having a deadline is good motivation to finish selected books by the first of each month.

Before I ask our first discussion question, I just want to say that there is no right/wrong way to answer these questions. You can answer off the cuff with plenty of typos in your response because the baby needs to be fed and this is all the time you have. Or you can carefully mull over your response and run it through spell check in Microsoft Word first before you carefully edit and post your thoughts. You do not need to have a PhD to be in this book club. Nobody is going to judge you. How could they after reading such a book as Wild?

As the club creator and host, all I ask is three things:

No self-promotion, no judging/condemning the author, other group members or me, and please keep responses rated PG.

Our primary purpose is to enjoy sharing our thoughts and opinions about the book and to try and make sure that everyone has a good time discussing the book. So without further ado, let the book club discussion begin!

Our first question to the book club members is a simple, personal one:

What was your favorite passage or scene in the book and why?

Please describe the passage or scene in your own words.

Why did you pick this particular moment in the book?

What made this scene meaningful to you?

If not a particular scene, per se, feel free to mention an aspect of the book or of your experience reading the book that was personally meaningful or enriching to you and tell us why.

Thanks for sharing. Please limit discussion question responses in the comments here to 300 words or less.

If you find yourself wanting to say more, consider answering the question in a Word document and then cutting down your response before you paste it in the comments.

You are also welcome to respond to book club discussion questions in your own blog and link your posts back to question posts.

Obviously there is no word-count if you post in your own blog, but keep in mind that members of the club are already “beyond busy.” We can do each other a favor by keeping our comments thoughtful and concise.

Have fun sharing what you loved most about our first discussion book, Cheryl Strayed’s wonderful memoir, Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail!

We are making up the guidelines as we go along, and naturally, they will evolve as the club evolves. Thanks for being patient with the process. 🙂

Every so often I will ask for member feedback. I hope you enjoy the discussion!

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  • Victoria Ryan

    Can’t get rid of image of mother being dragged down street or of ranger or of sandy-haired man. Loved “sick of myself” and “disappointed she wasn’t more like me and my friends.” I miss my own mother terribly now. Didn’t think I’d like book but got hooked and so glad I read it.

  • I ripped through this book. Read a hundred pages the first night, couldn’t wait to see what happened. I loved that I got to “experience” the world as a young woman through Cheryl’s words. I’m 58 so it was fun to go back in my mind to when I was 28. To have taken this risky journey, her young body sleeping on the ground each night with just a thin layer of nylon between her and potential attackers – that was something I would have done back then (stupidly.) These days, I would need a wheelchair after one night on the ground. I only camp in hotels, but I remember being a kid and doing it every summer with my family.

    She was able to live so minimally, and almost with monk-like purity. Cheryl took off without proper preparation (shooting heroin the night before!?!) or assessing the risks, but it worked out. In the process she was healed. I so admire her spirit. Loved the descriptions of the California part of the trail. I’m a native, in love with the Sierras. I’ve seen those PCT trailheads all my life and wondered,  what it would be like to have such solitude and serenity – but in truth I’d be afraid to do it, so that was another thing I loved about this story. I’m rambling but I totally recommend this book. Thanks, Christina, for suggesting it. I wouldn’t have known of it otherwise (although I just saw that it was featured in April’s O Magazine.)

  • christinakatz

     Thanks, Lynne. This is another good example for folks. Just give a list of everything you liked about the book. That’s kinda what I want to do too. 🙂

  • Trail Magic 

    While I am a motherless daughter and there was SO much in the beginning of this book I could identify with…in the end, I chose a different passage further in the book as my favorite:

    “As difficult and maddening as the trail could be, there was hardly a day that passed that didn’t offer up some form of what was called trail magic…the unexpected and sweet happenings that stand out in stark relief to the challenges of the trail…” (pg 232 print copy)

    This passage stuck with me because I am an eternal optimist. I don’t have bad days, only less than stellar moments.  Every day there are good things happening and it is those moments I choose to focus on…these moments of joy can be called by many names, from now on I think it shall be ‘trail magic’…so fitting.

  • christinakatz

    There are several things I loved about Cheryl’s book, that stand out among all the other things I also loved. But I’ll try to be brief.

    1. The writing was completely devoid of self-indulgence. This was so important to this book (and to me as a reader). And there wasn’t an ounce of self-consciousness in the work at all. As a writing teacher, I can say to others who aspire to publish in memoir, that they should study this book to understand how a memoir can be about storytelling, not self-indulging.

    2. It was the story of a woman’s healing journey. In college I took a number of women’s studies classes and I’m here to tell you that there were no women’s healing journeys taught in those classes. At the end of many of the books, the women were dead. I can’t think of a type of book that the world needs more than a woman’s healing journey. This book is not only a masterful story by a clearly dedicated writer, it’s an important piece of American Literature. I hope it will be treated that way.

    3. And then we come to the storytelling. I was keenly aware of the way the story was told throughout the book. The introduction and the story arc were so cinematic for me. I have no doubt that this book will be made into a very successful movie. But more than anything I was aware of the conscious choices that the writer made in telling the story. What to tell. What not to tell. What to wait to tell. Brilliantly done.

    There is so much more that I loved. But I’m going to trust that it will come in the rest of the discussion. 🙂

  • The entire book was magnificent and it’s really hard for me to choose what stuck out at me. However, my mind keeps floating back to the part (page 280) where she talks about growing up with no money is actually what made her strong enough to go on this crazy awesome adventure. She admits that if she did grow up with money she probably wouldn’t have done it. through the whole book I’m sweating with her about whether or not she’s going to be able to eat that burger or drink the Snapple or afford a shower or a place to sleep. She got lucky throughout most of the book but I really, really, really respected her that much more knowing that Monster and the money in her boxes was really all she had and she was on this brave adventure because it was the right thing for her. I don’t know if I would have respected her as much as I do if she was rolling in money and it wasn’t issue. I think it added to the charm of WHY this hiking trip was so important. She literally had nothing to lose yet, she gained so much- emotionally and most importantly mentally. Great book, thanks for recommending it. I will probably read it it again in a few years because my state of mind throughout the book and immediately after was bold and adventurous and I like that. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I cant do things. Thank you Cheryl. Thank you Christina. Looking forward to book #2 🙂

  • Your first point really made this book work for me. It is in stark contrast to “Eat, Pray, Love” — which I was one of the few on the planet to despise. And it was because of this very issue: self-indulgence. 

    I’ll be back with some more thoughts later. They are all on my Kindle app and the 4 year old is in the midst of Angry Birds!!

    I finished at 1am today and am bleary-eyed. But the deadline was very effective at keeping me on track.

  • I loved every minute I spent reading Wild. The details are as stunning as the story as a whole. My mind continues to wander back to the family’s ten dollar dining room table. As a detail in the story, it becomes heavily meaningful as a symbol, a huge multifaceted
    symbol of all that weighed her down emotionally. When she is led by her brother to see the table’s horrid state, she can only shout, “Stop it! That table is…” and cannot finish the sentence. The scene is crushing. The book is loaded with details like this, and I think, that is my favorite thing about it. The symbols are so perfectly honed.

  • Sue G

    I found the flashbacks the most startling and revealing.  All of them.  But if forced to choose one, I would pick the scene where she and her brother kill her mother’s horse — probably because I am such an animal lover and cannot bear the thought of putting a beloved animal to death, let alone doing it myself.  What a courageous and loving thing to do — while horrible and heart-wrenching at the same time.

  • I loved her transparency in relating her woundedness from her mother’s death and her not-so-stellar choices when she was “lost.” I also loved the grace she offered herself as she tried to find herself again, knowing all along  she wasn’t meant to be a loser in life.

    My favorite scene was as she started the PCT and talked herself out of having any fear. “I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”    Love that passage.

    I was thankful for the ending so we could know that she did marry again and allow herself the experience of motherhood. All in all, a great book!

  • Bhawes99

    Oh the pain this girl had in her heart- it still grips me, so much so I feel as if I should go on my own outward bound (but it’s not gonna happen, I just had double bunionectomy!) and all the “bandaids” she was putting on those hurts- the sex, heroin, etc she compares it to cutting “trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.” Oddly, a scene which sticks with me, and there were so many more poignant than this, was when she was in Minneapolis and is “preparing” for her trip and she writes,’ I got an abortion and learned how to make dehydrated tuna flakes and turkey jerky…..and practiced using my water purifier in my kitchen sink.’ it’s like one of those pictures in a magazine that says find the object that doesn’t fit. Abortion, tuna flakes, and turkey jerky. And that she had to change- not to a different person, but back to the strong person she once was. And that the PCT was going to get herself back. I don’t know, I just loved this.

  • Deb

    Strayed prepares us for disasters and difficulty in the prologue when she drops her punishing too-small boot into the ravine. We expect problems in first chapter where she describes staying and doing it in spite of rattlesnakes and blisters, monotony, deprivation, thirst, cold, and ghosts. This passage transported the narrative from the angst over her past, her childhood, her marriage, the drugs and sex, and – most important – the loss of her mother, into the immediate reality of her decision to walk the PCT. 

    As a reader, I felt fear for her as she faced mountains and desert realizing she didn’t know what a mountain was, couldn’t imagine the reality of a desert; I felt pain as she described her bleeding shoulders, hips, and tailbone; and I felt excitement as she recognized that she would undergo a transformation, having left all that was familiar behind. 

    This moment echoes experiences I have had, where all that I have been or done has brought me to a moment where there was no going back, and the path before me opened into an unknowable future.

  • The chapter Mazama was an incredible turning point in the story and powerful metaphor for her own state. The last paragraph describes Crater Lake, and exemplifies everything I love about her direct, unsentimental style:
    “This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t see them in my mind’s eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. They simply were not there anymore. There was only stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”

    BAM.

  • Mary Drw

    Reading Wild, I loved Cheryl Strayed’s stunning voice. It was sweet and fierce, loving and brutal. She talked about praying, and then called God a ruthless bitch.  The imagery was:  “Tree-bark-plucked-dead-chicken-flesh” hips, bloody, blistering feet, being thirsty enough to drink muddy sludge.

    The first chapter about her mother was devastating. Describing her mother’s newly dead body, and burying her face in her mother’s still warm stomach; how can anyone possibly live this life? “The wanting was a wilderness and I had to find my own way out of the woods,” she decided. And so she did.

    Wild achieves an intimacy that shows us what memoir needs to be. I felt her physical and emotional pain as if it were my own, then I realized it was my own, and that’s how a book gets inside of us.  A sentence or phrase would astonish me with the understanding that yes, someone else had felt this feeling or had an experience like mine. Particular and universal both; isn’t that the function of art?

    What made the story so real and personal was the close attention to detail; Cheryl’s painful, blistered feet; her voracious hunger; despite diligent preparations buying the wrong size shoe and not sending herself enough money. Who among us hasn’t made similar mistakes?  The determination to do something right, followed by the realization that you have messed up yet again. And Mom is not here to listen or help or give advice. You have to do it for yourself.

    That is a life lesson we all learn.  Or we don’t, and our lives are the poorer for it.

    Cheryl went through fire, and she took us with her, cheering her on all the way, and I for one feel cleansed.

  • christinakatz

     Yes, direct, unsentimental style pretty much sums it up. Thanks, Michele. 🙂

  • Dona Bumgarner

    My favorite section was when she was in and then leaving Ashland. I felt like that was the turning point in her journey. It is one thing to be on the trail and feel different, but in Ashland she behaved differently than her pre-hike self. She was open to experiences but didn’t let them run away with her. She was offered a drug experience but considered the consequences and declined. And then she returned to the trail. It would have been so easy to quit right there, but instead she continued. But what I liked most about that section was how Strayed told that part of the story so matter-of-factly. Funny, but not self deprecating, and even in illustrating how she had changed, she did not condem any if her previous decisions, or dwell on how she could have been different. Deftly subtle story telling.

  • I noticed that, too, Dona–how she never let herself become overly wracked with guilt or mired in the past.  That’s huge, isn’t it? 

  • Sums it up well–yet there’s so much rich imagery that is sentimental in a particular way. More about the emotions and perceptions than anything, I think…

  • Sue LeBreton

    You mentioned she was not self conscious- I loved that about her writing. And her ability to make this story continually interesting.

    Towards the end as she approaching Portland thinking heroin would be there and she realizes that maybe she never wanted it. “I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way on.” This spoke directly to the hole in my heart.

  • christinakatz

     Thanks, Sahaj. This aspect of the story about money and being enough stood out for me also. Will say more about it in the discussion. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

  • christinakatz

     Thanks, Christina. I thought it was cool how such a mundane object as a kitchen table could become some elevated and remarkable in the storytelling. Kudos to the author and thanks for bringing this up.

  • christinakatz

     Agreed, Sue. This scene was so powerful that I feel that I can’t even really touch it in this discussion and do it justice. Also, I want each reader to discover it for his or her self. So much there!

  • christinakatz

     Yes, thanks for sharing a great passage, Gayla. Glad you liked it. 🙂

  • christinakatz

     I liked that she skipped the details of the abortion story too. There were a lot so very smart choices in this book, of things that were not told in detail that could have been. I wonder how much ended up on the cutting room floor and how much was simply left out on purpose.

  • Dana, I agree. Thanks for the reminder. We should all find “trail magic” in every day. Also, love your attitude. I was golfing yesterday with two women. The first hole was horrible – we all screwed up, badly. One golfer: well, there goes the day. Ruined already. 
    Other golfer: well, now that I have that out of my system, the rest of the day will be better.

  • christinakatz

     I agree, Mary. The image of her mother’s still warm stomach will probably never leave me. The story was both specific and universal, this could not have been easy to accomplish. Yet she sure did it. Agree that it’s all that a memoir needs to be. And I wanted to keep talking about the hunger aspect with “Strayed” vs. starved later in the discussion. So I did!

  • christinakatz

     Great passage. Thanks for sharing, Sue.

  • I thought she deliberately put the abortion in with the other so much less important things (tuna flakes) to tell us that she had to minimize even this most weighty experience – she diminishes the abortion in her mind because she was so desperately in need of the trail and its healing that she couldn’t allow herself to dwell on the abortion. To me, it showed her strength as a writer, and the hell she was going thru at the time.

  • Like, like, like!

  • Pmacott

     I too, thought the part about the table was very powerful. Unexpected, that such a “mundane” object could hold such emotional importance, but that’s exactly how it works, and sometimes it takes us so by surprise. The clarity of how she writes about those kinds of details, I agree, is stunning.

  • Pmacott

     Oh my, that was so unbelievably harsh and raw, and so unexpected a telling, I guess, which made it all the more horrific. But the dream that she had later, with the horse carrying flowers in its mouth, as though to let her know they had, indeed, done the right thing…what a gift.

  • Pmacott

     I agree, though I don’t think the word is sentimental….I think there is a clean and clear emotional telling here…sharp and true and unflinching.  I think of “sentimental” as often being kind of sticky-sweet. She managed to avoid that kind of sentimentality very nicely.

  • Pmacott

    So many favorite parts about this book. But in addition to what’s been already mentioned, there are a couple more that come to mind:  When she makes her decision to bypass the record-snow-covered High Sierras, without it making her feel like she’d “failed” (though she admits to an understandable sadness).  Then, at the same time, acknowledging how nice it was to have the company of Doug and Tom, but that she wasn’t going to accept that comfort and continue to hike with them…”Being near tome and Doug at night kept me from having to say to myself ‘I am not afraid’ whenever I heard a branch snap in the dark…But I wasn’t out here to keep myself from having to say ‘I am not afraid.’ I’d come, I realized, to stare that fear down, to stare everything down, really – all that I’d done to myself and all that had been done to me. I couldn’t do that while tagging along with someone else.” 

    That passage took my breath away.

  • Kristin

    As many have said, I have a list of scenes/aspects to choose from to answer this question.  So I will choose simply based on the scenes I’m still catching my breath over: the shooting of Lady and the meeting of the sandy-haired, pump-clogging hunter. When you as a reader can see, hear, smell, touch, taste–truly feel–the moment being written about in flat black on white, that is something.

  • Sylvia_guenther

    I loved loved loved this book.  There were so many parts that brought me to tears, like when her mother died and when they shot their beloved horse, but the line that reeeeeally got to me was when she is close to the end and can hear the freeway and she is thinking about Eddie, her step-dad,  and says something like “he did not love us to the end, but he loved us when it mattered.”  That got to me and I just cried and cried, because it was so honest and crystal clear and made me think of my own father who left us when I was little (8) and married a woman who had more kids than my own mother.  I could not understand why he would trade us, good well mannered children and his flesh and blood, for a motley crew.  He was the perfect dad until he came home and got a few things and left.  I hated him after that.  So, in my mind I had 2 fathers…the one I loved and the imposter, the one I hated until the day he died.  Eddie moved on and did leave them all behind, and that part was so sad for me.  But she came to terms with it…he loved her when it mattered, and so did my father.  So, for me, it has changed how I feel. 

  • christinakatz

     Thanks for sharing, Slyvia.

  •  Thank you for sharing this, Sylvia. I think it is one of the most powerful gifts of this book: she is able to touch us who have had similar experiences in some way or other, and is able to put words to feelings that (speaking here for myself) had been up to now unable to find voice.

  • Diane Turner Maller

    My
    favorite passages in the book were the moments of reflection about the most
    significant family members in her life. The most significant example was the
    passage when Cheryl was at an absolute low, low point on the trail where she realized
    that her new, next larger sized boots from REI would not arrive at her current
    location, but instead, 83 miles up the trail. It was at this low point that she
    thought of the astrologer who gave her a reading when she was twenty-three.
    This woman, who’s advice Cheryl wanted to dismiss as “crazy New Age,” gave her
    pointed insights about her father. “And you’re wounded in the same place. That’s
    what fathers do if they don’t heal their wounds. They wound their children in
    the same place. … The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors,
    to give them the confidence to get on the horse and ride into battle when it’s
    necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach
    yourself.”

    I
    have explored many of my own personal wounds through Jungian work. This passage
    from Cheryl’s book reminds me how startling and significant such realizations
    can feel.
    I am late in posting my response to the first book club question. Feels good to finally get my first contribution posted. I will be attending Cheryl’s appearance tonight at PU in Forest Grove. Can’t wait!

     

  • Linda

    Finished Wild on May 14th then went on vacation to Portland, Oregon.
    So read it in 3 days and loved it immensely! My favorite part might be how strong, tough Cheryl was mentally and physically to achieve what she did. She was tougher than the guys, because her pack was heavier!
     

  • Linda

    ready for question #2  for Wild

  • Siobhan Baine Gleeson

    Wild: A review – Warning I go into some detail it
    may ruin the story for you!

    It’s
    possible, however I don’t recall ever being so glad to come to the end of a
    book. OK I get the whole “life changing” experience this woman went
    through. I mean I don’t think in a million years I would have the mental or
    physical stamina to do what she did. I take my hat, if I wore one, off to her.
    An amazing achievement, however I’m not sure how much this book has to do with
    the physical passage Cheryl Strayed endured. Part of me believes that she was
    merely just testing the boundaries of danger that she could put herself in.
    Over-indulgence is one of the main characters in this book and there is not one
    chapter that it does not rear its ugly head. I understand what Cheryl Strayed
    was trying to do however her deliverance of the message was lacking. This book
    that began as a motivational life improvement segment turned into one woman’s
    journal that was clearly only motivational for her alone. Instead of the reader
    going along for this epic adventure, we are tortured by a horny woman’s quest
    for sex and self-validation from men and even sometimes animals…I kid you
    not!! Too many times I shouted “who the bloody hell cares?” at this
    frustrating and tiresome read. Now I know I am concentrating on the negative,
    there are positives, however they get lost along the way as this is one of the
    most irritating authors I have ever read. Allow me to go into greater detail
    and explain my new found intolerance for Cheryl Strayed.

    A journal
    from lost to found it was not. By the end of the book the author does not seem
    found to me. Perhaps when she eventually meets her second husband and has some
    children that she is finally found but she is still clearly lost by the time
    she accomplishes what she set out to achieve, completing the PCT. In the first
    chapter Cheryl Strayed talks of her mother’s sickness and eventual passing. Now
    we can all sympathise with the author in the moments at the hospital, however
    sympathy goes out the window when she refers to the male nurse’s penis. Strayed
    pulls this monumental time of her life into the gutter with one glance and a
    dirty thought that lasts too long. Wanting to have sex with her dying mother’s
    nurse sets the tone for the rest of this novel that has servings of smut randomly
    through its pages. Strayed is obviously aware that her mother is dying, the
    poor woman is being given morphine and all Strayed is interested in is the
    “outline of his penis through his tight white nurse’s trousers.” The
    mind baffles…it really does.

    It appears
    that Strayed is trying, however failing miserably, in her attempt at the shock
    factor. An oh I just put that in there
    and didn’t realise how ridiculous it was but will sell more books, kind of effort. Shabby work if
    you ask me. Chapter two goes for the shock factor again, to I guess retain the
    reader’s attention. “I fucked this guy, I fucked that guy bla bla
    bla” clearly I’m paraphrasing! Her vulgarity towards sex seems
    uncharacteristic with regards her writing style and use of words. She ought to
    do herself a favour and be a little more eloquent and I wouldn’t feel the need
    to rant about this attempt at a novel with meaning. Her potty mouth chokes this
    book of any meaning it may have had initially. As my sister always says, “you
    can’t buy class”, well you obviously can’t write it either.

    As a
    reader by chapter six the boredom sets in. It seems like she is never going to
    make progress on her personal challenge because she ends up taking so many
    breaks. Boring, boring, boring! Strayed mentions that she hates the people she
    loves because of how far away they are from her. Excuse me…who’s decision was
    it to walk the PCT? Who needed something in their life to aim for? Who needed
    balance and also a new perspective on life which was only going to be achieved
    through distance? Oh that’s right, Cheryl Strayed of course!!

    The Sunday
    Independent had it half right when it wrote “Funny and Fierce.”
    Whatever about the fierce, the funny happens in chapter six when Strayed is
    thinking about what she will do once she arrived at Kennedy Meadows General
    Store. “Cold lemonade and candy bars and junk food I seldom ate in my
    regular life.” Talk about the picture of health in her “regular
    life”. I’m sure that Strayed stuck to a well-balanced diet with lots of
    fruit, veg and water, and oh yea heroine. It’s funny that only months before
    she was injecting a poison into her system…in her “regular life” as
    she puts it. A junkie who doesn’t eat junk food…you got to find the humour in
    that!

    By the end
    of chapter seven it’s apparent that our dear Ms. Strayed is obsessed with sex.
    Who packs condoms when they are doing the momentous trail of the PCT.? The lack
    of showering alone would put one off the idea. These packed condoms too in turn
    become one of the main characters for a time in this novel. An annoying
    character who never needed to be introduced, and is in no way an element to the
    story. It feels as though the author is filling a gap and wasting the reader’s
    time. Strayed paints a cheap and permiscuous portrait of herself and it does
    not mesh well with the story. It stands out like the circular imprint of a
    condom in a man’s wallet!!

    By chapter
    eight the reader is left disappointed as this book just seems to revolve around
    sex in so many ways and not focus on an enlightened time in a person’s life.
    Strayed becomes annoying, she needs constant validation from men. It is clear
    at this point in the book that she has no standards and will sleep with any
    man. There is a dirty element in the book and it’s unsettling. In chapter ten I
    believe the author is once again going for the calculated shock factor. The I have no problem talking about how to
    insert the natural sponge when I have my period. I really don’t think this
    detailed paragraph is necessary. Once again an epic fail. The one major
    positive from chapter ten is that I now know how to spell cajones. I often use the term but never came across a time when I
    had to spell it. Reading this was a minor reprieve from reading the needless
    information in the book thus far.

    In chapter
    eleven Strayed wishes that a dog who licked her leg would do it again as it
    made her skin pulse. There is so much wrong with this person that I really hope
    she sought the help of a professional she so strongly required at this point in
    her life. By chapter fourteen one gets into her story again and begins to
    part-take in her journey and then BAM! Obsession
    with men and wanting sex with anyone gets thrown into the mix once more.
    “And possibly, I might get myself laid by a hot hippy.” Just what the
    doctor ordered!

    If you
    want to get worked up by a novelist, and not in a good way, then I suggest that
    you give this book a go. This read felt like correcting homework there was so
    much wrong with it. Was this the first draft? Which would explain the trash
    content to some extent. You have been warned!!

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