Wild by Cheryl Strayed. And the movie.

“Denying her wounds came from the same source as her power.” Adrienne Rich

I finally saw the movie Wild Monday night. It made me want to put all of my stuff in a storage unit, drive West and find myself on the Pacific Coast Trail. But that is how it is with anything you read (or in this case watch) by Cheryl Strayed. Poignant. Raw. Inspiring. A little grit mixed with figuring out how to be female in a male dominate world. I first read Cheryl’s (we’re on a first name basis) work in college in one of my creative non fiction writing workshops. Her stuff sticks with you like you accidently got Big Red chewing gum stuck in your hair, in a good way. Tasty at first, you’re unaware of what you’re getting yourself into, then you’re entangled and the smell follows you around, even after you shower.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure how Reese Witherspoon was going to play Cheryl. She seems almost too cotton-candy-Southern-proud-whiny-voice to pull it off. There were a few moments in the film when I imagined her as her real life self as seen in that awful video released of her being drunkenly arrested for disorderly conduct. But we all mistakes, right? And if you take one thing away from Wild, it should be that. She actually did a great job, worthy of her all star acting status, and a close runner up performance to my favorite Reese, when she played June Carter Cash in Walk The Line. Reese is kind of irrelevant to story in all, because Cheryl is the star in Wild. Unashamedly admitting her mistakes, pushing herself to her most inner and physical boundaries, loving someone so much it makes you sick, hurting everyone around you just to feel something normal again, and sharing it all with the masses: Wild is a human movie. Go see it because it will make you a better person, but read the book first, because you don’t want to cheat yourself of hearing Cheryl’s real voice.

Want more? Already seen it? Read this interview of Cheryl by The New York Times ArtsBeat. The Everygirl also provides a nice synopsis if you don’t believe me.

Life is Wild,