Review originally posted [here].
**This review contains spoilers**
I really disliked this book. Like REALLY, REALLY disliked it. I had a very difficult time managing to read it. The author and narrator, Cheryl “Strayed” (the invention of her new last name, probably the most pretentious and obnoxious thing I had to read) was close to intolerable and very unlikeable. Every man, woman, and child she came across while hiking the PCT praised the ground she walked on, PLEASE. I wanted to vomit. Cheryl claims to be a feminist and yet every one she met went on and on about how an amazing feat it is that she was a woman alone hiking the PCT - and I won’t deny that it is. It is an incredible feat and she deserves a lot of credit. However, the people she came across, or really just the way she portrayed them, acted if she was the first woman alive to do anything daring, to take a risk, to be independent and strong and on her own. They acted like she was some revolutionary ground breaking feminist of her generation. It was very nauseating to read page after page of her praise. Especially when she would brush off heavy topics that you would think the author would work through with the book being a memoir. She wrote a single line stating she had an abortion, while in the same sentence telling the readers what she bought at the store. But she spent paragraph after paragraph writing about the trees and the mountains. No emotions about her abortion and with Cheryl claiming to be a feminist, I would have assumed she’d dedicate at least a page or two about what she went through.
Cheryl takes away very little from the PCT. Prior she does heroin - which don’t worry is “just a phase!” that she can stop whenever she wants (are you kidding me?!) - and yet while hiking she takes opium from a stranger (only moments later realizing how dumb her decision was). She still has sex with men she barely knows which is what she did to self-destruct her marriage from her loving and supportive husband. She tones up, loses a few pounds, gets a nice tan, her hair gets blonder, and she appears to have learned very little. She is still the same selfish and inconsiderate person she was when she began her journey. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but to me, Cheryl really just spends the entire book painting herself out to be as such.