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#171066 - 10/29/12 01:12 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: BrianLe]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2862
Loc: Portland, OR
From what I have heard here, Strayed's book seems to be popular because almost all its readers have no connection to or interest in backpacking; for them it is just a peculiar personal story and they accept it entirely on the terms laid down by the author.

there are just a whole lot of books out there already that boil down to "the story of my thru-hike"

I have read a great many of these books, maybe five by now. But after the last one I knew I'd reached the point of drastically diminished returns, where, no matter how high my interest in the subject runs, they all began to sound exactly the same. frown

Ironically, I wrote a "I went for a hike" book of my own back in 2005. I like to think it has little in common with these other books. For my model, I used Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Jerome K. Jerome.

Those who've read Jerome's book will understand this confession. Those who haven't can probably pick up a free electronic version somewhere, since it has been continuously in print since about 1890 and is no longer under copyright.

Those who are brave enough to want to read my book, well, I can probably manage to get them a PDF of it somehow or other.

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#171099 - 10/30/12 02:13 AM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: aimless]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Three Men In a Boat --- fun book. I read it aloud to my daughters when they were young. If you're at all into Sci-Fi, try Connie Willis's book, To Say Nothing of the Dog.

I think that the writing style of Jerome K. Jerome is exactly the sort that doesn't do so well in a more modern, short attention span world. Folks back then wrote more description, the plot moves along at a slower and more relaxed pace. It's a cool model to follow IMO, but I think that authors today feel they have to provide more "punch".
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#171101 - 10/30/12 07:21 AM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: lori]
MGtraildog Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/14/12
Posts: 7
Lori. You have criticized my post twice. You call the author mentally ill. In perspective her mother died of cancer at an early age. Would that not affect you? Also it is apparent that I am the only one who does my best problem solving when hiking. Colin Fletcher has stated that he would go hiking to sort out details of stories he was writing. If I am odd in my problem solving while hiking then I am in good company with Mr. Fletcher. Backpacking and hiking is not the same for everyone as we are all different

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#171110 - 10/30/12 12:19 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: MGtraildog]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
I think Lori and I commented because your post (perhaps unintentionally) read like "from a woman's perspective" to be general instead of specific "from one woman's perspective". We just wanted to express that our perspective, as women backpackers, is NOT represented by that book (nor by Bryson's book). We are not "criticizing" your post - just expressing our views, wanting to make sure that we were not lumped into that catch-all catagory of "woman's perspective".

And you are right, some men also are at thier introspective best while backpacking. The introspective types may be better writers so the literature probably over-represents the more "touchy-feely-sensitive-introspective" backpackers. Like someone said, "my PCT hike" (which is what we "escapists" likely would write) probably would not sell many books.

As far as the author being mentally ill. Lori is a good judge of that since she is a professional in that field. I took her comments as feeling empathy for the author and realizing the unhappiness that the author has.

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#171114 - 10/30/12 01:49 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: MGtraildog]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2862
Loc: Portland, OR
Lori. You have criticized my post twice.

As a moderator, this sort of reaction quickly catches my attention. However, having looked carefully at lori's two posts, I see she has quoted your post twice, but in terms of being directly critical of what you said, I do not see that. Wandering Daisy seems correct in her interpretation of this exchange.

Like so much of what ruffles feathers on an internet forum, this was probably yet another misunderstanding. As an ex-technical writer, I am keenly aware of how hard it is to write something so clear that it cannot possibly be misunderstood. In most of these cases the harmless and charitable explanantion of the other person's motives is the correct one. smile

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#171166 - 10/31/12 08:36 AM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: MGtraildog]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By MGtraildog
Lori. You have criticized my post twice. You call the author mentally ill. In perspective her mother died of cancer at an early age. Would that not affect you? Also it is apparent that I am the only one who does my best problem solving when hiking. Colin Fletcher has stated that he would go hiking to sort out details of stories he was writing. If I am odd in my problem solving while hiking then I am in good company with Mr. Fletcher. Backpacking and hiking is not the same for everyone as we are all different


A book that creates controversy is a great book.

Lori often disagrees with me. I just consider she has a lot of different experiences and she often sees things from a different perspective. Disagreements are good, because those are the things I learn from.

I would agree that Cheryl was not a backpacker first. Backpacking was a means to work out her mental injuries. It sounds like she made a lot of progress on that. To me, this doesn't mean she wasn't a backpacker. She just wasn't stereotypical for a thru-hiker. But then, I don't think there is a stereotype.

When I hike alone, I often disappear into the nothingess in my mind, not paying attention to anything. After the hike, I couldn't tell you a thing about what I saw except what I saw inside. That's where the real hike was.

There are backpackers books come out of. Cheryl Strider, Bryson (I really wish Katz wrote a book), Bert Nemcik, Jennifer Pharr, etc. Often these books aren't even about backpacking. It's from the thinking that happens on the trail when life is simplified.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#171312 - 11/02/12 04:15 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: wandering_daisy]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
WE is correct. Strayed gave such detailed info I can identify two separate diagnoses I would make, only one of which has to do with grief... I could of course be incorrect, but there's sufficient to make the case were I to be consulted on the matter. But I would want to meet her in person to make a full assessment, as even nonfiction can be, well, less than accurate...

People who backpack aren't always backpackers, either. Unless you want to call anyone who throws on a pack a backpacker, in which case there are a bunch of folks downtown engaging in such (they're usually called homeless here). Going walkabout for self improvement is more accurate for her adventure, imo.

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#171316 - 11/02/12 05:08 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: lori]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
To clarify - the person presented in the book could be diagnosed. Cheryl - today, in person - may or may not be.

All mental health diagnoses are clusters of symptoms that are merely abnormal duration or severity of things common to all people. They are only diagnostic criteria if they occur to the degree that they are impairing.

If you are taking umbrage to the suggestion that she was diagnosable, that's understandable. There's still a lot of stigma involved with mental health issues. To me, it's an indicator that we're all human.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#172008 - 11/16/12 11:55 AM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: lori]
greenmachine Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 4
I am reading this book right now. What a slog! I mean, she is a good writer I'll give her that, but the self pity "woe is me" attitude is just so friggin' annoying. I just have a really hard time feeling any empathy for her what-so-ever. I really hope the actual "hiking" portions of this book start taking center stage, otherwise I'm afraid I might put it down.

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#172023 - 11/16/12 01:31 PM Re: Wild (Cheryl Strayed) [Re: greenmachine]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I think you are in for a short read. wink
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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