Feb. 25th, 2014

fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
I'm reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It won me over because it conveys a dramatic internal journey without overstating external events, and a self-created challenge informed by intimate desperation rather than authorial ambition.

I can't help but compare Wild to Eat Pray Love. I have enjoyed books similar to the latter and hated ones which like the former, but some of the charms of Wild are in direct contrast to what made Eat so unappealing. Class has something to do with it, while the privilege of the authors may ultimately not be so different, someone planning a trip from one $20 bill to the next seems more accessible.

Strayed indulges epic feelings but also embraces being just one, barely competent, participant in how wilderness parks were built to provide "lasting curative and civilizing value". Her story confirms this ideal with a mix of messy and transcendent details, idiocy and earnestness, which allows me to buy into it.

I understand Reese Witherspoon is doing the adaptation (edited to add: starring and producing). I hope she goes with a more offbeat, stylized tone (Jane Campion, David Lynch or Terrence Malick) than standard Oscar reverence and uplift. As Witherspoon resume includes American Psycho, Freeway and Election, it may happen. ETA: Alas, it seems like it will be standard Oscar aspirant fare, rather than something weirder and less reverent.