Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Part Three of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Let's Get Started

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Three: Let's Get Started


If, in the future, I were ever at a party and Cheryl Strayed happened to walk up to me and introduce herself, I would punch her right in the face.  Before you start mentally reprimanding me for that, let me explain that it would be an instinctual reflex, or something like Tourette's, and I could not realistically be held accountable for my actions.  My body knows how much my brain hates her, and it would react accordingly.  Feel free now, however, to reprimand me for saying that I HOPE I MEET CHERYL STRAYED AT A PARTY ONE DAY.

So, let's get started.

I've decided that the best way to go about reviewing this piece of shit is to just start at the beginning and go from there, chapter by chapter.

God help me, here we go.

 I suppose we have to start with the title page:
 
This is going to get ugly. 

Chery's lack of writing ability will be addressed countless times during this review.  It should be noted now that Cheryl has a giant boner for the word "profound" and uses it with such irritating frequency that I scrawled this on the title page several months ago when my disdain for Cheryl was only in its infancy, well before I decided to create this blog.  Anyone who knows me will be able to point out to you that this is my angry handwriting.  You can tell I'm already starting to lose my shit here.



Let's turn the page to the Author's Note:

Handwriting that isn't quite so angry, note the difference.

Ugh.

Cheryl is a blatant racist and I'll discuss this further in the future.

Also, notice that she wrote, "I occasionally omitted people and events, but only when that omission had no impact on either the veracity or the substance of the story." 

Translation:

"I left out all the people who were not kissing my ass and also the parts when I was totally bypassing the trail because I am a lying sack of crap and that would sort of contradict the synopsis of my book and I want to make my millions, soooooooo..... yeah, I omitted those parts."


And finally, let's get the prologue out of the way.

The prologue is meant to be a titillating cliffhanger, and it almost works (until you get to page 209 and realize that you've been fooled, or until you read the rest of the prologue and immediately realize that this woman is an idiot).

She starts her story with a very dramatic and seemingly dire account of how her boot falls off of a cliff right in the middle of her 1100-mile hike.  You, the reader, are left to wonder, "Oh my goodness, however did she manage to go on when she lost her boot??"  SPOILER ALERT: SHE HAD ANOTHER PAIR OF BOOTS WAITING FOR HER ABOUT 20 MINUTES AWAY.  You will not learn this until 206 pages later, and by then, it's too late to not read this book.  But let's get back to the topic at hand: her boot fell off of a cliff because she was a careless jackass who apparently didn't understand how gravity works (there are several instances of Cheryl not understanding how something works; this is the first example, right there on the first page).  Now, because her one boot fell off the cliff, she decided that the only logical thing to do was to *throw the other boot off the cliff* because-- and this is an exact quote-- "What is one boot without the other boot?  It is nothing."  OH MY FUCKIING GOD, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, TELL THAT TO YOUR OTHER FOOT.  Also, THANKS FOR LITTERING ON THE TRAIL, YOU ASSHOLE.

She immediately transitions into what will be the running theme of her book, and it has absolutely nothing to do with hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  Almost like a warning, she starts in on how her mother had died-- she calls herself an orphan despite the fact that her father is still alive, which I'm pretty sure makes her NOT AN ORPHAN, but she is desperate for your pity (get used to this)-- and blah blah blah, sentence fragment, dramatic bullshit, sentence fragment, she's on the PCT.  Five paragraphs in, I had already written "First eye roll" in the margin because it was already clear that this was going to be a disaster of a book.

On the very next page, she manages to nonchalantly segue into the claim that she was a cheerleader and homecoming queen in high school (because of course she was, you don't even understand how beautiful she is yet) and in the same sentence tries to convince you that upon her admittance to college, she was a "left-wing feminist campus radical" because she has no fucking idea who she really is (or what a feminist is), but definitely knows who she wants you to believe she is, reality be damned.

She then describes her decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as "giving it a whirl," and I don't even think I need to explain how I feel about that.  You do not give the PCT "a whirl," unless you're Cheryl Strayed.

She wraps up the prologue with a bunch of flowery bullshit and ends it with a sentence fragment, which apparently is her signature move because almost every chapter ends like this.

Tomorrow, we'll explore Chapter One.



 

21 comments:

  1. Molly! I'm so pleased you're enjoying it.

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  2. I hate to come to her defense two posts in a row - but she's not really such a terrible writer when she's actually *writing*. Unfortunately, there are very few times that happens over the course of this book, and most of them are towards the end when she's already revealed herself to be irredeemably hideous. Unfortunately, she spends more time attempting to show off what a great and *profound* writer she is than she does actually *writing*. I was the same way in high school, except that I was more interested in flaunting my erudition than my *profundity*. Also, I got over myself eventually.

    You skipped the dedication! Did you notice she dedicated this book to her husband and children? Those poor kids are going to grow up someday and read all about how their mother sat beside her own mother's deathbed and stared at some penis-voiced nurse's crotch.

    The boot-throwing incident basically sums up the whole book in miniature. It's a pattern we see repeated over and over again: something bad happens to Cheryl, Cheryl responds by wantonly and yet purposefully doing something counterproductive and generally destructive, and any compassion we might have felt withers and dies in a fresh rush of loathing.

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    1. I respectfully disagree wholeheartedly (instead of "zapping" your comments off of my page like Cheryl would do). Cheryl is a terrible writer.

      (Also, I was going to leave the dedication until the end to drive home the fact that this self-absorbed whore actually procreated and is undoubtedly in the process of ruining her children.)

      Still love your feedback, keep it coming. :)

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    2. Oh, she's *definitely* a terrible writer, it's just that she obviously works hard at being as terrible as she is. I do remember there being occasional passages - maybe five pages total - that I would call promising, if not exactly brilliant - but since most of these are, as I said, toward the end of the book, it's possible that my brain was so desensitized at that point that occasional flashes of competence could pass for something like talent.

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  3. I loved that she dedicated it to her children...because it essentially served as a huge spoiler and ruined any idea that this epic, profound adventure that was fraught with peril and self-harm potential was going to end with,...you know...peril and harm. :eyeball: Basically, the dedication made me see, from page one, that she didn't overdose or die on the trail.
    I love the fact that she begins with tossing her boot over the side because it so unabashedly reveals her ignorance and disrespect of the actual wild. I remember thinking, "a real hiker would've cannibalize the remaining boot for the laces" and other helpful items necessary if you find yourself with a daunting potential of hiking barefoot. For that matter, keep the boot and in case one of your sandals blows out.

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  4. what got me about this is at 22 or 26 what ever she can't buy a pair of shoe that fits who does that

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  5. Surely she should have cooked and eaten the boot............

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  8. I just finished reading this book and decided to look into some things I was wondering about... I ran across blog this by accident and am really enjoying it! Funny! (I was reading from the back forward and decided to take your advice and start from the beginning.)
    But I do have to mention one thing... Paco and Pancho really are the nicknames for Francisco. I used to live in Mexico—I can prove it. ;-)

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  9. I have Tourette Syndrome and am 100% responsible for my actions. Tourette's is not an excuse to get away with things. Please don't perpetuate that notion. In my 42 years on this planet, I have never used Tourette's as an excuse to get away with what I may say or do.

    On a side note, I love your blog.

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  10. I stumbled upon this blog. Not because I hate Cheryl Strayed. But because I wanted to know more about Doug Wisor. I read a couple of the entries but this one stuck with me. Well, actually only one small part of this entry stuck with me.

    "She calls herself an orphan despite the fact that her father is still alive, which I'm pretty sure makes her NOT AN ORPHAN."

    A child in an orphanage is an orphan. Despite the fact that its "parents" may still be alive. I do not like using that word when it comes to orphans. Giving life to a human being does not a parent make. Giving life is the easiest thing people do. It is an animal instinct. Every animal in the animal kingdom procreates.

    What makes a parent a parent is raising that child. Loving that child, protecting that child. Just because her "father" helped create her does not make him her father. He abandoned her. And had not had contact with his children since Cheryl was six. That is not a father. That is no more than a glorified sperm donor.

    When her mother died she did in fact become an orphan. The fact that you aren't able to comprehend that shows that you lack compassion. Do you go telling children who grow up in orphanages all around the world that they are not orphans because their parents are still alive?

    I am an orphan. I lived in an orphanage. And despite the fact that I was adopted that does not change the fact that I was and will always be an orphan. Despite the fact that after 25 years I found that the woman who gave me life was still alive doe not make me any less of an orphan.

    So before saying someone is not an orphan, stop and think. There are many ways people become orphans and death is not the only way.

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    1. My mother was raised in a children's home, which is not the same as an orphanage, nor was she ever called one. These were all throwaway kids whose parents had abandoned them. Still not orphans.

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    2. After reading "hellogoodbye's" comment I now know for a fact either Strayed is trolling this blog herself or is directing people to comment on it. This is just the sort of anecdotal nonsense she and her gang of directionless mud-pie makers delight in forming religions around.

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  11. "When her mother died she did in fact become an orphan. The fact that you aren't able to comprehend that shows that you lack compassion."

    When Cheryl's mother dying, Cheryl could only think about the Nurses's penis. who is lacking compassion here?

    Cheryl is still in contact with her father and she was an adult when her mother passed, so the image she paints of a helpless abandoned child is simply incorrect.

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  12. @MercerCreed
    You know for a fact? Really? How do you know for a fact? Do you happen to know me? To know my life? Don't assume you know me.

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    1. I"m with Mercer. We are both fairly certain Ms Strayed herself has invented psuedonyms and made condescending comments on this blog. BAsed on what you've said you are a definite possibility.

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  13. Might you please write an identical "review" of the also liar elizabeth gilbert and her complete lie of a bood - eat pray love

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