One of my first book reports was on The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I recall my teacher saying this is a popular book, I want to know you read it and I want it in words that reflect that. I proudly turned mine in and my teacher returned it with “The sentences you picked out make a nice summary of the novel. I can tell you really enjoyed it” written at the top in bright ink. I share that to say I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Stray, a very popular read. Here my “summary”, in Stray’s words.
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I choose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told ‘Each day I felt as if I were looking up from the bottom of a deep well but from that well, I set about becoming a solo wilderness trekker’ (5)—. I was a pebble. I was a leaf. I was the jagged branch of a tree. I was nothing to them and they were everything to me. (83)—I was thinking of only moving myself forward. My mind was a crystal vase that contained that one desire. My body was its opposite: a bag of broken glass. (?)— The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back. I really did have only one boot (209) to wander from proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild to be … aimlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress (97) — Thank you, I thought repeatedly. Thank you. Not just for the long walk, but for everything I could finally feel gathered up inside of me; for everything the trail had taught me.”
What do you think? Will you read this novel? Have you read this book? I also challenge us all to send a loved one a care package or a letter this summer. To echo Stray, “I sat on the concrete near the little building, shuffling quickly through the envelopes, too overwhelmed to open any yet (217).” Should we all have that moment of joy!