Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail at age twenty-six and transformed her journals into a 300 page story of every step. Thank goodness she did! Most of us will know before we start the story that her journey will be emotional as well as physical, but her determination is beyond admirable. The physical toil on her body is expected, but her description of her feet's condition flashes in my mind every time I wash my own feet. I have never felt so present in a memoir. I alternated between feeling that I was right beside her, to cheering her on, to feeling I WAS her. A lingering thought I have held after completing the book is my concept of materialism. While she is repeatedly told that her pack is too heavy, it is currently all of her belongings. I find myself asking "Do I really need this?" much more often now before I buy something. Hopefully, Cheryl's journey will speak to other women. The ones who can never put their finger on the source of their inner conflicts, or the ones who just can't break free from them. Obviously, we aren't all going to slap on a backpack to fix all our problems, but the lessons we learn from her strength are infinite.
I would not have been lucky enough to come across this story if it had not been introduced and promoted by Oprah. I found some interesting information about what was not included in the book here.