The Long Walk To Acceptance “Wild”

By Susan Reimer
The Baltimore Sun.

She divorced her husband, sold all her stuff, bought an outrageous amount of camping gear and set out to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, a trek of more than 1,000 miles from the Mojave Desert to Washington state.

She made it, but that wasn’t the point. That was never the point.

Cheryl Strayed waited a long time to tell the story of that walk. Seventeen years, in fact. But when she did unpack all the physical and psychic pain of that journey, it was as vivid as if she had just walked off the trail yesterday.

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” is the story of what came after her unbearable grief at her mother’s early death and of her descent into heroin and careless sex.

Actress Reese Witherspoon, anxious to find strong female characters for her fledgling production company, snapped up Ms. Strayed’s book before it was even published, and the movie, starring Ms. Witherspoon, is in theaters now.

It is quite remarkable.

This isn’t a story about redemption. It isn’t a story about healing. It isn’t an allegory about finding a right path. It isn’t a story about triumph. Ms. Witherspoon’s character is as filled with grief and doubt at the end of her journey as she was at the beginning.

It is a story about spending 100 days alone with yourself and the kind of self-acceptance that is waiting at the bottom of your well when you have used up everything else.

“Wild” isn’t your standard holiday romantic comedy, with a happy ending under the tree. But it is a movie to see with your girlfriends. It is a movie women will understand, even if they have never pitched a tent on the side of a mountain.

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