By Rebekah Marin
Liberal Arts English Major
Being a college student means dedicating myself to my education. I have time for studying, eating, working, and the occasional social outing, but I’ve found that I enjoy to spend much of my time living vicariously through individuals who get to explore new places, and meet all kinds of intriguing individuals.
Around this time last year I came across a Buzzfeed list called, “16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year.” I was particularly eager to read Wild, a book written by Cheryl Strayed that tells the courageous and heartfelt story of Strayed setting off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own at the age of 26. One afternoon while browsing my favorite bookstore in the Old Port, I found “Wild” perched on a self in the Used Books section and purchased it for a stellar price of $8.00. Needless to say I was thrilled about this find and cracked the book open as soon as I hopped on the bus back to campus. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. By the last chapter, I could hardly wait to see the movie.
When I finished the book the trailer for the movie wasn’t out yet, so I had time to dream up what it would be like to see it played out on the big screen. The trailer was finally released during the summer, and then I had nothing to do but re-watch it a few dozen times between then and December 5th, when it would be released in theaters.
The movie tells the story of Strayed’s challenging life before her trek through flashbacks while she’s adapting to her new life as a hiker. We learn about Strayed’s mother’s death, her battles with commitment, and her downward spiral using drugs to cope. Strayed’s voice and personality come through the screen impeccably, causing viewers to really experience the trail as if they were right beside her, staring at the rattlesnake by her feet, feeling the bitter cold of the snowy mountains, and taking the first righteous and rewarding sip of Snapple lemonade at one of her detours along the way. Strayed has a charming and somewhat dark, twisted sense of humor that makes it easier to choke out a chuckle between the tears that are prone to fall while watching this flick. She takes a little wisdom from everyone she meets along the way, and eventually learns that it’s okay to acknowledge her mistakes and move past them.
Reese Witherspoon played an unforgettable role as Cheryl Strayed and made this movie almost as awesome as the book. There was stunning imagery of the trail, and props used in the movie that actually belonged to Strayed on the trail. It may have taken her 1,100 miles in grueling conditions to find herself again, but it’s a memoir worth the watch and the read, especially for others out there like myself who live for adventure, thrill, and ultimately, personal growth.