Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Part Thirty-One of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fifteen, Part Two: OMG, Cheryl Has a Date

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

Part Thirty-One, Chapter Fifteen, Part Two: OMG, Cheryl Has a Date

We left off with Susanna from Switzerland about to massage Cheryl's feet because that's the sort of thing that happens if you're Cheryl Strayed or a person who can't differentiate between lame fantasies and reality.  I neglected to mention Cheryl's brand new necklace in my last post because my bullshit threshold has its limits and I just couldn't deal with it, but today is a new day.  Supposedly, Cheryl's friend mailed her a homemade necklace that said "STRAYED," but, according to Cheryl, "it looked like it said STARVED because the Y was slightly different from all the other letters," and I have so many problems with this.  If the 'Y' looked like a 'V,' the word would appear as "STRAVED," not "starved," and unless Cheryl and everyone else on the planet is dyslexic... oh, who even cares at this point.

[Blogger's Note: I tried to find a picture of this necklace and could find nothing.  The only photos that came up in my search were too distant/too blurry to make the necklace out, assuming it was even the same necklace.]

Anyway, Susanna had asked, "What does this mean on your necklace-- that you are starved?" and Cheryl decides to run with this theme because she loves writing stupid, overwrought shit.  Just wait.

Crazy Swiss Lady disappears without another word-- we don't get a description of her spiritual foot massage-- and Cheryl sits outside the co-op while trying to make us feel sorry for her again:

"And so it went, for the next couple of hours, as I hung out in front of the co-op.  I was starved.  I didn't feel like myself anymore.  I felt only like a bucket of desire, a hungry, wilted thing."

Since Cheryl is the most amazing person ever to have lived and everyone is in awe of her,

"One person gave me a vegan muffin, another a quinoa salad that had grapes in it.  Several approached to admire my horse tattoo or to inquire about my backpack."

and oh, just shut the fuck up.  First of all, her backpack should be of no interest to anyone, and second, her tattoo isn't anything to get excited about, either:

But whatever, in Cheryl World, people just can't help themselves and feel the need to shower her with free everything and marvel at her awesomeness.
Stacy shows up and Cheryl is all,
and even though Stacy offers to loan her some money, Cheryl declines and decides to check the post office one more time.  The I'm-in-no-mood-for-your-bullshit post office lady is still there and retrieves Cheryl's package.  Cheryl tries to be a bitch--
"'So it was here all along,' I said, but she didn't care, replying that she simply must not have seen it before."

--but was "too ecstatic to be angry," so she takes her package and happily skips away to the hostel with Stacy.  She checks in, makes a huge production out of taking a shower, and then spends some time checking out how hot she looks in the mirror before putting on her sexy bra and panties and omg, so hot.  She'd neglected to send herself any normal shoes and has to wear her hiking boots with her sexy new outfit, so we can only imagine that she now looks like some sort of lumberjack-hooker-- if that's a thing, and it probably isn't, but I know you're visualizing it right now and you're welcome-- but she's so breathtakingly beautiful that it won't matter.

Cheryl goes to dinner with Stacy and Stacy's friend, Dee, and I don't know where the hell Dee came from and I'm too fucking sick of this book to try to figure it out, but whatever, now there's a person named Dee in the picture and who the fuck cares because Dee goes off to sleep after dinner and we never hear about her again.  Anyway, they go out for dinner.

"At dinner with Stacy and Dee, I ordered everything I desired."  

I wonder how long it's going to take her to blow every last penny of the $250 she sent herself in this package.

After dinner, she goes to a shoe store and buys some "Merrell sports sandals" and then she and Stacy go to a club where she blows more money on wine.  Stacy leaves because she's a real hiker and plans on heading out early the next morning, but Cheryl stays to dance and of course a man immediately comes onto her because she's so breathtaking.  His pick-up line is stupid and Cheryl is having none of it, and just when we think maybe Cheryl is starting her promised transformation-- you know, maybe this is the beginning of the "found" part from the title-- nope, she's still the same Cheryl and here we go.

Some guy who works at the club says, "Hey," and Cheryl says, "Hey," and isn't this a classic romance already.  Club employee guy is wearing a t-shirt that says WILCO on it and holy shit, Cheryl knows that band so obviously this is going to end in sex because of course it is.  Despite the music being super loud, these two assholes try to have a conversation and someone please kill me.  Wilco asks her where she's from and even though Cheryl had been all excited to be around "people who knew nothing of the PCT," she immediately tries to tell him all about the PCT as if he gives even half a shit.  He yells something back and she can't hear him over the music, but don't worry, she's still enjoying herself because of,

"the wonderful way his lips brushed against my hair and his breath tickled my neck so I could feel it all the way down my body."

Ugh.  She asks him to repeat himself so that he'll make her feel all tingly again and it turns out that he's working late but that he'd be off at eleven the following night and guess who won't be doing any hiking the next day because of this information.  She gives him her stupid name so he can put her on the guest list because apparently there are super exclusive clubs right there on the PCT.

She leaves the club and acts like a 14-year-old girl.

"I had a date.  Did I have a date?  I walked the warm streets second-guessing myself.  Maybe my name wouldn't be on the list, after all.  Maybe I'd misheard him.  Maybe it was ridiculous to go on a date with someone I'd barely spoken to and whose main appeal was that he was good-looking and he liked Wilco.  I'd certainly done such things with men based on far less, but this was different.  I was different.  Wasn't I?"
No, you're still a stupid whore.
She goes back to the hostel, gets in bed and spends an hour fondling herself and using words incorrectly.
"I lay awake for an hour, running my hands over my body, imagining what it would feel like to Jonathon if he touched it the next night: the mounds of my breasts and the plain of my abdomen, the muscles of my legs and the coarse hair on my pudenda--"

Oh, for fuck's sake.  First of all, who says pudenda.  Second, it's pudendum, you stupid asshole.  Pudenda is the plural.  [GOOD JOB YET AGAIN, ROBIN DESSER!  YOU'RE AN AMAZING EDITOR.]  She feels the "palm-sized patches" on her hips that "felt like a cross between tree bark and a plucked dead chicken" and decides,

"under no circumstances while on my date tomorrow could I take off my pants."

We'll suffer through her date in the next installment.  I know.  I'm excited, too.


  1. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a22820d4-95f6-11e4-be7d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Ovmsxwjw
    Omg. So, look at the first quote from Cheryl (which heads the article).
    "I always wanted to tell stories. This made me an incredibly good liar as a child,’ says the writer (Strayed)".

    No. Fucking. Joke.
    I realize this wasn't an article questioning her hike- but, sweet Jesus, doesn't that quote just say it all? Out of curiosity, have you tried contacting TMZ or another news outlet to outline these discrepancies in her story?

    I dug through some old forums on hiking, using the way back machine, and came across this gem by someone calling themselves "Hikewrite" on a conversation thread about the Pacific Crest trail. "I'm writing a fictional sort of trail journal and want to hear your stories about what your hardest 1993 or 1994 stories?" People start sharing and, interestingly, some of the names people share are the same names in Cheryl's book. I have to wonder if she trolled boards looking for names and incidents she could use to make her story more believable? I'm trying to save the pages as screenplays because copy paste is giving me gibberish when I paste.

    1. I had planned on writing the next installment of the review today and then I read your comment, which led me to her stupid Dear Sugar garbage and that's when I had to walk away from my computer.

      Thank you. I will overcome my disgust and continue soon enough, but still. Thank you. Forgive me-- between today's Oscar nominations and that stupid fucking post, I couldn't bring myself to deal with this review today.

    2. Hey, Tori -- were you able to save screencaps? If not, send the link to me and I'll save them for sure. libbiehawker at gmail.com

  2. Great work, tori!

    Do screencap as much as you can. Then maybe send it to the Smoking Gun, who broke the James Frey scam. It would be so sweet to see horse-killer Cheryl taken down.

    1. I will not rest until Oprah retracts her support of this piece of terribly written fiction.

  3. I *think* the photo of her at Crater Lake shows her "Starved" necklace (I thought the same as you in terms of wondering why people thought it said starved, maybe Shady Cheryl hangs with a dyslexia support network?)

    There are some larger versions of this photo worth taking a look at. Does she appear to be coming off a long hike? She looks to me like she just hopped out of the passenger seat of Subaru in the parking lot and had her boyfriend take her picture in front of the pretty.

    Notice how she never took a group shot with her and all the friends she made along the trail? Every photo of her with a backpack shows ONLY her and was obviously taken by someone else (as opposed to her taking a time-delayed shot). I have a feeling they were all taken by some guy she was dating on a weekend camping trip. You expect me to believe she never once took the classic photo of a landscape from inside her tent? Never once snapped a photo of any of her friends? She was in some of the most beautiful areas of the country and never once pointed her camera at a mountain? What a load of bull.

    Oh, and the pretentiousness of her new last name. Ugh. After my maternal grandfather died I actually considered changing my last name to his since he didnt have a son to carry on his name. She NEVER considered changing her name to her mother's maiden name, Grey, to honor her? Grey would have even been more interesting. Strayed...cmon, get over yourself. At least she isnt a Millennial, then we would have had to suffer through the book written by Katniss Spearmaster or Aurora Woundedheart....

    1. In that photo, Cheryl's hair is suspiciously clean and she's wearing jewelry. Jewelry on a hardcore backcountry hike? I don't think so.

    2. Maybe I've been ruined by the internet, but that photo looks like she's been cut out of another photo and dropped into it, and the edges have been brushed to cover up the 'shopping.

      At the very least, she looks squeaky clean and all dolled up with the earrings and 2 necklaces. I don't believe one word of her narrative now.

    3. Wasn't she supposedly wearing the UC Berkeley shirt by this point? Not that tank top...

    4. Yes it a darn minute! Wouldn't Monster have left 'patches' or at least severe rub/chafe marks on the top and front of her shoulders?? I will not even begin to pretend I am a long distance hiker, but I was a long distance runner and know chaffing. Could one of the true experts here chime in?
      I call shenanigans on that pic (oh and of course the whole fucking story)!

    5. Yeah, that shirt is waaaaay to white to have been used for however many miles of PCT hiking that she lied about.

    6. When I saw the pictures on the Internet I thought they were "revisit" pictures,like maybe she had revisited the trail to show Oprah and the world after the book was written. She looked too tidy and well fed, clean and combed. So I ignored the pictures and looked for the "real" ones.Found nothing.

  4. Cali, we so are enjoying your blog. But could you please, I don't know, take a bit of heroin or whatever you need to get through it and keep writing! We anxiously await your post. Heck, I'll say it, It was worth watching the movie AND reading the book, just to read your blog.

    1. I love you for saying that, and thank you, truly.

      Forgive me. One of the drawbacks of writing this blog is that people are constantly sending me Cheryl-related links and I really should stop reading all of them because I get so disgusted and exasperated that I can't bring myself to write.

  5. Other pictures that Cheryl didn't take (or publicise)....
    1. A picture of hiking buddies.
    2. A picture of her wickedly messed up feet.
    3. A picture of her enjoying one of those precious Snapple Lemonades or a thick Cheeseburger...and, by the way, Snapple Lemonade? Not what most hikers run for of fight over when you hit a store. Chocolate Milk or Mountain Dew seems to be the drink of choice.
    4. A picture of her signing a trail log.
    5. A picture of her feet from inside the tent looking out (sort of cliche, right, but any hiker will whip those out like their pictures of beloved children).
    6. A picture of the holy-fuck-avalanche-level of snow that stopped our girl from doing the trail?
    7. A picture of any peak, valley, flower....cow(?)?

    She carried a top of the line camera "1100 miles" (chuckle...Right) and her narcissist as only took two pictures? How convenient.

    Also, I loved this quote on one the boards...
    "How did Cheryl get a glass bottle of lemonade at Kennedy? There were some State regulations regarding selling glass containers in the campgrounds, weren't there." - fraggle Steve, PCT Angel

    How indeed?

    1. You're not implying that Cheryl may have *lied* about anything, are you? How dare you. She's an inspiration. All the 5-star reviews on Amazon tell me so.

    2. Nope. I would NEVER imply that.
      I would fucking say it publicly!
      Yo, Cheryl! You lied... you lied in your tent all day, you certainly figured out how to LIE in strangers tents/buses/cabins, you probably even practiced LYING around in motels while the other hikers were actually hiking.

      Cheryl, you are a fucking liar that lies. Fuck you in the fucking, lying neck for tricking thousands of people to get on the trail with no fucking experience because YOU, Cheryl LIAR Strayed, did the trail while detoxing... so, fuck rehab! Hit the trail like Cheryl! Fuck you, Cheryl Strayed for writing a book for the young ladies of the world with such wonderful advice like, "how to get in a strange man's peyote van", "how to show the self restraint of a fucking toddler when it comes to the possibility of sex", and "how to LIE to millions about a hike you barely did,....so YOU could heal". Cheryl LIAR Strayed should be forced to personally pay law enforcement for the full costs of records covering the bodies this book will inspire to take on a 3000 mile hike they didn't prep for. I'm not insinuating she's a liar...I'm just saying that Pinocchio's wife might leave him for Cheryl Strayed.
      Liar, liar North Face pants on fire!
      Fuck it.

  6. OK I just watched the movie. (Illegal download because fuck you Cheryl.) Couple immediate thoughts:

    1) It's really boring.
    2) I don't care for this idea that hiking the PCT, or any big outdoor trek, is about being damaged and working through issues or whatever. What about just loving the outdoors and wanting to have a good long time in nature? Or as a physical fitness challenge?
    3) I hope Honest Trailers or Cinema Sins or How It Should Have Ended have a go at it.

    1. Baahahahahahahahahaaa "illegal download because fuck you Cheryl"

      I love reading the comments on here more than I love ripping her stupid book apart.

    2. I agree, Pinkpearl! I hike because of the beauty of nature and you see things you can see no other way. I think that is one of the reasons Cheryl makes me sick and why this blog and all the comments (like your's make me feel better).

    3. Hiking because you like nature, the feeling of the air on you, the sun on your skin, the feeling of making that goal... is for suckers.

  7. I'm pretty sure the only books she reads are soft-core romance.

    Thanks so much for doing this review, I've laughed so much! And loving the comments just as much :)

  8. It's 2016 and I am sad that I missed all of the discussions that have taken place here on this blog. I've been trying to get through this travesty on Audible.com. I can't stand the narrator. But, I've also been having trouble believing so much of what the author describes. I've only done one hike that is more than a day and that was a 5-day hike on Salkantay in Peru. It was guided, we had pack horses carry the kitchen and food. We didn't have to put up our tents. It was not "glamping" but it was very close. I was not prepared for the trip. It's at elevation, and the incline (and subsequent decline) is demanding. The trip was 37 miles. My boots actually fit me. But I still struggled on every single day. My pack weighed 18-20 lbs. And on the steepest day, I had to put it on the pack horse. I just wasn't in shape. I did see some kids walking the trail with very lightweight sneakers because the trail is so well established you could actually get away with those. And, at Machu Picchu we did some indigenous men cruise by us and they were wearing flip flops. But those people are literally raised in the mountains.

    I'm rambling. Suffice it to say, I don't buy the taped sandals. I don't buy that she was able to walk on the blisters she describes. She wasn't in shape. She wasn't an athlete. It's just so unlikely.

    This book, and your blog, are making me realize that the average reader of books like this only look for a few things. Seeking male approval seems to be a biggie (also a theme in Eat, Pray, Love). Some weak spiritual revelation. Travel. Sex. I feel like I should write a book!

    To the author of the blog: reading this blog has been enjoyable. I will only suggest that calling for CS's demise is not really necessary to take her down. I'm all for calling her a liar. But I don't wish her any harm. That's it. Thanks for taking all the time to write your critique. It's been fun reading it.

    1. It's's 2019, almost 2020, and new people are still finding this! It's gold.

      The foot stuff was what tipped me off to it being fake. I'm not outdoorsy or good at math, so she did fool me for a while, but I'm intimately familiar with foot injuries, and there's no way she managed to avoid infection with all the blisters and sores she claims to have. They're also incredibly painful. I've broken both heelbones and I walk dogs for a living, so my foot pain tolerance is reasonably high. I've walked on sprained ankles and broken toes, but a bad blister will have me off work for a couple days. There's no way she could have done all that with those feet, and I think it's safe to say she probably doesn't have a very high pain tolerance because people who are actually tough don't mention it every five minutes while crapping their pants at the sight of a fox.