Part Four: Chapter One, except not really.
I'm gonna be honest with you: I am not looking forward to reviewing this chapter. Allow me to illustrate my dread with the following photos of previously made margin notes:
There's that angry handwriting again.
Starting to lose my patience.
Had just about enough.
About to lose my shit.
(Please notice the different handwriting at the end of the chapter-- for future reference, anything written in cursive is courtesy of my awesome friend, Jaime, who was forced to read this book upon my demand. I don't know if she'll ever forgive me for this.)
I want so badly to just write, "CHAPTER ONE IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME" and be done with it, but that wouldn't be fair to you, so I'm going to bite the bullet and force myself to go into detail.
Before I do this, allow me to explain a couple things.
I am a distance-hiker, and have been for several years. I usually have two days off from work every week, and I walk anywhere from 20 to 40 miles on my days off (each day). Also, a couple years ago, I had some vacation time to burn and I decided to walk from San Diego to Los Angeles just to give myself something to do. I will tell you now that while making a long-distance hike seems like an incredibly entertaining thing, it is not. I enjoyed every minute of that 120-mile hike, but there really wasn't much to say about it. It was simply just one foot in front of the other for two and a half days. The incredible thing was doing it; the walk itself was relatively uneventful. There is nothing to say about a long hike, yet some people who have made such hikes don't seem to realize this. They try to write books about it.
There is a book called "By Men or By the Earth: A Corporate Lawyer Walks Out on Law, Love, and Life, and Walks Across America With His Adopted Dog," by a man named Tyler Coulson. For years now, I've dreamt of walking across America (there are only 5 things on my bucket list: to hike the PCT, the Appalachian Trail , the American Discovery Trail, the entire length of the original Highway 66 and, finally, the King's Highway), so when I found this book while I was researching everything having to do with making a coast-to-coast trek, I was so excited to read it. I ordered it immediately and couldn't wait for it to arrive. I ended up reading half of it. You see, at least Mr. Coulson was considerate enough to break his book down into walking and non-walking chapters. He did it in a maddening, lawyerly way, but he was at least clear enough in the separation that I was able to easily skip the non-walking, "let-me-tell-you-all-about-my-personal-drama" parts, which consisted of about half of the book.
Here's the thing: I WANT TO READ ABOUT YOUR WALK AND YOUR EXPERIENCE WHILE WALKING. I DO NOT GIVE EVEN HALF A FUCK ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL BULLSHIT.
This is the mistake that every "author" makes when he or she is writing about a long trek, but I totally understand why they do it: because writing about walking is boring as fuck and they need to fill the pages with something. The mistake they make is failing to realize that anyone who is bothering to track down a book on this very subject WILL NOT CARE ABOUT THE NON-WALK-RELATED BULLSHIT.
I get it. I really do. My understanding, however, does not excuse the bullshit.
That said, let's get back to Wild.
Cheryl barely managed to cover much of the 1100 miles she claimed to have hiked-- let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say she hiked at least half of this mileage-- and, as I've pointed out, there isn't much to say about a hike like this, so she felt the need to fill her "memoir" with an unbearable amount of personal bullshit. I DO NOT CARE.
Unfortunately, Cheryl doesn't even do us the small favor that Mr. Coulson did: she weaves her personal bullshit into every page of the whole book.
I can't even bring myself to review this chapter today. I no longer have the mental strength; tomorrow is another day.
The laughter will return tomorrow. I promise.