Two years ago I looked at a plot summary of Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and dismissed the book about a long walk as not likely to draw me in – or along. This November, I read it for book group.
Last week I sat in a movie theater a quarter of the way through Wild wondering how this story based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir, about a long hike was going to come together as a film. I was aware of this story from a blog post by Amy about the book -- one I had tucked away as a should-read.
By Unlikely's end, I was delighted and moved. By Wild’s, I wiped away tears. While Harold and Cheryl put one step in front of the other, their stories seem to record only small happenings – yet somehow, in the meantime, everything shifts..
Both were less about climaxes than they were about cumulative revelations.
Similarities don’t end there. A few more:
- · Death (or dying) of another launches the long walks.
- · Both Harold and Cheryl leave behind life partners.
- · Neither is prepared.
- · Shoes/boots become inadequate.
- · Feet hurt.
- · Feet blister. Feet bleed.
- · Both have chance encounters with others.
- · Both discover the kindness of strangers as well as the dark sides of others.
- · Both have haunted pasts with personal trauma that slowly re-emerge as they walk.
- · Both have stories with an element of addiction.
- · Both stories are journeys as well as metaphors of life’s journey.
Cheryl and Harold are also quite different or perhaps two sides of the same coin. Harold appears to be as common and bland as toast. Cheryl’s ever the wild child. Yet both end up on pilgrimages – journeys of self-discovery and self-recovery that result in spiritual reawakening.
What I love most about these journeys is that they reinforce my belief that change has its best chance to occur through movement -- that trauma and toxic patterns are stored in our cells and need to be released physically before the mind can let them go.
Nod to Amy at Sadie Belle reads, http://www.sadiebellereads.blogspot.com/search/label/Cheryl%20Strayed who first made me aware of Wild in her book review a few years ago. Also an interesting link comparing book and movie:
Also this week: Finished Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt.