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All that day of the green pantsuit, as I accompanied my mother and stepfather, Eddie, from floor to floor of the Mayo Clinic while my mother went from one test to another, a prayer marched through my head, though prayer is not the right word to describe that march. I couldnt let myself believe it then and there in that elevator and also go on breathing, so I let myself believe other things instead. Id asked my mother all through my childhood, making her tell me the story again and again, amazed and delighted by my own impetuous will. She sat with her hands folded tightly together and her ankles hooked one to the other. In reply, he took a pencil, stood it upright on the edge of the sink, and tapped it hard on the surface. One jolt and your bones could crumble like a dry cracker. Later we came out to wash our hands and faces, watching each other in the bright mirror. I sat between my mother and Eddie in my green pantsuit, the green bow miraculously still in my hair. There was a woman who had an arm that swung wildly from the elbow. There was a beautiful dark-haired woman who sat in a wheelchair. Eddie sat on my other side, but I could not look at him. A song without words, but my mother knew the words anyway and instead of answering my question she sang them softly to me. My mothers name was called then: her prescriptions were ready. They would give us five-dollar bills to buy candy from the store so they could be alone in the apartment with our mom.
I wasnt crazy about the green pantsuit, but I wore it anyway, as a penance, as an offering, as a talisman. I pushed the fact of it away with everything in me. I could feel my mothers weight leaning against the door, her hands slapping slowly against it, causing the entire frame of the bath- room stalls to shake. There was a song coming over the waiting room speakers. She dated men with names like Killer and Doobie and Motorcycle Dan and one guy named Victor who liked to downhill ski.
Dani Shapiro, New York Times Book Review I was on the edge of my seat. His back had healed enough that he could finally work again, and hed secured a job as a carpenter during the busy season that was too lucrative to pass up.With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington Stateand she would do it alone. In the evenings, we would make a game of counting the bites on our bodies by candlelight.Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. The numbers would be seventy-nine, eighty-six, one hundred and three. Eddie would continue driving up on weekends throughout the summer and then stay come fall.
Or rather, my mother, Leif, Karen, and I did, along with our two horses, our cats and our dogs, and a box of ten baby chicks my mom got for free at the feed store for buying twenty-five pounds of chicken feed.
Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain Strayeds language is so vivid, sharp, and compelling that you feel the heat of the desert, the frigid ice of the High Sierra and the breathtaking power of one remarkable woman finding her wayand herselfone brave step at a time. In Wild, she describes her journey from despair to transcendence with honesty, humor, and heart-cracking poignancy. Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and Seeking Peace Cheryl Strayed is one of the most exciting writers Ive come across in a long time. She was alone, with Karen Cheryl Leif riding shotgun in her car.