I have seen some worth while movies lately, EXODUS-GODS AND KINGS and SELMA, but the one I have been waiting for, WILD, is out now and it is worth putting on your list. This Oscar worthy story was also my favorite book for 2013. Cheryl Strayed was unknown to most of us when she told her story of her own failures and broken life. Growing up, her mother struggled in an abusive relationship, they moved to Minnesota and built a house on 40 acres without electricity, water, or indoor plumbing. Cheryl went off to college to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota. While she was a senior , her mother became very sick with lung cancer and died. Strayed worked as a waitress and a multitude of jobs as she wrote and traveled around the country. Her grief over her mother surfaced in self-destructive behavior, heroin use and having many sexual partners. On a whim at first, she found a book about hiking the Pacific Crest tail, that spans 1100 miles from Mexico to Canada across the rough mountains of California. Her book still sells world-wide and is one the best written accounts of a single woman’s triumph over some the hardest days some people will ever face. I was lucky to meet her last year and hear her own way of telling this real life account. This book still inspires me.
The movie is crafted to include enough to stay true to the soul of the book and give you the great feeling of going with her on the incredibly difficult journey. REESE WITHERSPOON surprised me with her adaptation into a brave hiker facing elements that would try a seasoned Navy Seal. Her portrayal of Cheryl makes the movie a must see and Oscar worthy. When I was in my 40’s I felt the need to do more with my life, mountain biking, skiing, and hiking, to see what my limits were. I climbed Pikes Peak twice, and these one day events do not compare with her 1100 mile odyssey, but I did learn how it feels to give everything you have physically and mentally and still need more from somewhere to reach to top. How Cheryl found the will and courage to not quit is baffling. Along the way she found herself again and found she was one of those rare individuals who can accomplish the impossible. However, as a writer I feel the book and the movie would have never been made had not she perfected her craft as a writer and made this a special gift to all of us at Christmas. Buy the book and see the movie!