Guys. I drive a lot. I live only 23 miles from my work, but it happens to be 23 miles of the worst stretch of freeway – dare I say – in the country. (I really wish this was an exaggeration. Unfortunately, it’s about as close to the truth as you can get.)
Because of this mind numbing portion of my day, I get to log quite a lot of hours with audiobooks. I’ve listened to fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, chic-lit, and everything in between. Most of it is stuff that I’d never read on my own, it’s just what happens to be available for check out at the local library. So when I do find a book that I’ve been eyeing for a while, that’s on my list of things I actually DO want to read, I get pretty darn excited.
That was the case when I saw Cheryl Strayeds “Wild” marked as available, and ready for me to bring along on my drives. I grabbed it in a heartbeat, I had heard nothing but stellar reviews of the memoir of a young woman on the PCT – one of my own more improbable dreams. (It’s important to note: The single time I’ve tried it, I hated backpacking. So, a very very improbable dream.) Notice how I used the same word there twice, one right after the other? Yeah. This becomes a theme.
Ok. Here’s where I admit a few things.
1) I’m not done with the book. Yes, I’ll most likely finish it, but only because I keep hoping against all hope that it will pan out in the end, and I’ll be happy. Also, I have little else to do while driving.
2) Audio books sometimes change the experience of a book. The narrator can easily ruin a fabulous book (I fell asleep during “The Hobbit” – don’t worry, I wasn’t driving) or make what could have been a boring book, come alive.
3) I’m not exactly in the greatest mindset when banging my head against my steering wheel in traffic. But that’s the point of the book – to take my mind off things. Right? Right.
4) I have very little tolerance for what I deem to be a stupid person. I have even less tolerance for this stupid person whining about their issues, and DOING NOTHING TO FIX THE PROBLEM. This one, in particular, may be my biggest issue at the moment.
Because people? I do not get this book. I truly cannot fathom the awards, the Oprah’s book club, the sheer number of copies sold. I’ve read a few memoirs about the PCT (A Blistered Kind of Love is a favorite) and “Wild” is the least interesting, most infuriating one I’ve come across in a long time. So far it’s been nothing but WHINE WHINE WHINE. My life is shit and it’s all my fault, WHINE WHINE WHINE. I’m totally ill-prepared and my feet hurt (x1000) WHINE WHINE WHINE.
She says the same thing over and over again, as if the reader were a small child and she is trying to explain some incredibly complex idea. I’ve heard how her feet and legs hurt 750 times and how she’s f’d up her life another 500 times. Not only this, but she uses the same words. Over. and Over. and Over. “Garish” is a gorgeous word, it connotes a very specific, strong vision and feeling. But if you use it 5 times in the same 5 minute span, it loses the magic. STOP DOING THAT.
I’m guessing I’m less than halfway through the book. I’m obviously of the minority in my opinion so far, so I really hope that it gets better (she stops whining, and learns to write) soon.
I will say, the narrator is pretty darn good.
UPDATE 11/18: I’m not sure if I became complacent or the book got better, but I ended it feeling vaguely satisfied, though still not entirely impressed. She never did stop using the same words over and over.