Eden Book Club: Wild Discussion
I forgot how intense Wild is. When I read the book for the first time several years ago, I carved out a space in my heart for the bravery laced within this title but I think, as time passed, the pain of Strayed’s journey – the raw, visceral, should-I-keep-reading-this pain – is one that slipped my mind.
I’m not sure how.
When I picked Wild for this book club meeting, I described it as a grief-driven novel. But after rereading Strayed’s words, I felt like grief was so much more than a driving force in her thru-hiking journey. It was an all-consuming power that Strayed constantly grappled with after her mother’s death.
I think grief became Cheryl’s home and enemy and everything in between.
In a lot of ways, this book is about Cheryl determining her relationship with grief.
But it’s also an amazing travel memoir with rich descriptions of her surroundings. Cheryl captures the slow landscape shift hiking offers in just the right amount of detail (in a way that lets you picture the beauty of her adventure despite all the rough bits).
So without further ado, let’s jump right into the discussion questions!
P.S. Feel free to answer as few or as many of the discussion questions as you’d like. You can still take part in the discussion even if you chose to DNF the book.
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Wild Discussion Questions
- The timeline of Wild swoops in and out, between years and months and moments. Did you like the way Cheryl told the story? Or would you have preferred it narrated in a more linear manner?
- Cheryl uses a lot of repetition in Wild. Were there any stylistic writing choices used in the novel that you loved or hated?
- Cheryl doesn’t sugarcoat her flaws. How did her mix of good, bad, and rough moments shape how you viewed her character?
- “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves.” (page 51) How does Cheryl’s relationship with fear change overtime? How does she challenge her fears?
- Does the cross of Cheryl’s lush travel descriptions and her grueling trials on the PCT make you want to visit the area (or avoid the location altogether)?
- Cheryl brings a lot of things in The Monster. What would you have packed or not have packed for a thru-hike of this magnitude?
- How do you think Cheryl’s spiritual beliefs played into her healing process? P.S. You are more than welcome to share your personal beliefs in the comments section below even if they differ from Cheryl’s (this is a judgment-free environment)!
- In Wild, Cheryl is a solo female traveler, a term that wasn’t quite as often heard during her time. Do you think the perceptions of a solo female traveler have changed since then?
- How did the books Strayed read correspond to her emotional, personal, and hiking life?
- What is the strongest part of this book? What is the weakest?
Let me know in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book. I’ll be jumping in and responding as well!