“People love to read about outdoor extremis and debacle, à la Into Thin Air, but books about nature in which nothing goes terribly wrong do not normally attract millions of fans. Moreover, there is a kernel of genuine radicalism in Wild—and radicalism, by definition, does not appeal to the mainstream. Outside of slave narratives and horror fiction, adult American literature contains very few accounts of a woman alone in the woods. Yet Wild is the story of a woman who voluntarily takes leave of society and sustains herself outdoors, without the protection of a man, or, for that matter, of mankind. It is the story of a woman who does something physically demanding day after day, of her own free will, and succeeds at it.”
—From “The Walking Cure: Talking to Cheryl Strayed About What Made Wild Work,” Kathryn Schulz’s New York magazine story that explores why the book is so popular (the movie version, starring Reese Witherspoon, hits theaters today)
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