I FEEL VERY AMBIVALENT ABOUT THIS BOOK.
On the one hand it tells a very courageous tale of a girl who got raped – in a country where despite being the supposed leader of the free world, victim-blaming still runs rampant – and found her way back to herself by solo walking the 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
On the other hand, this turned out to be the story of a girl who constantly relates to herself as others relate to her. Yes, she rescues herself from her trauma, but that salvation is not measured by her own feelings regarding herself, but by how the world reacts to her newfound confidence. It is, like too many books with female protagonist, a story of finding the right guy instead of the wrong.
So what to make of this book? I loved the parts of the story where the beautiful scenery is described, where the girl we meet in the beginning of the book has solo adventures and manages to rescue herself. I loved reading about the trail magic and the very different lives one meets on the PCT. I love, LOVED, how the writer found a way to herself where she breaks free from anger and frustration and her somewhat overbearing parents, at the same time realising the love they have given her and finding a way to reconcile both sides.
However, all of this was described in the margins of the book; the few pages I would try to get to as I was reading the other parts of the book. About a girl meeting a boy, about a girl meeting the wrong boy, about a girl obsessing about having found the wrong boy, about a girl ready to find love again, about a girl longing for love, about a girl wanting to be seen – by a man. It is the story of a princess, finding herself ruined – which she is not! Rape is not the victims fault, ever – and travelling through dark woods, finding a false prince and being rescued by dashing handsome prince Dash. A story I have read and been told in countless ways, far to many times.
Yes, I want love in my life, but not at all cost and not as obsessively.
To me, it seems more important – and therefore more interesting – how to love yourself, just for yourself. How to come to peace with a horrific trauma on your own power and your own terms.
This book however, is not that book. The downsides sadly outweighing the potential beauty of it.
However, there were several quotes I loved:
“Walking in solitude fixes nothing, but it leads you to the place where you can identify the malady – see the wound’s true nature – and then discern the proper medicine.”
“Then I let go of him.”
“Writing is a way to make a living dreaming wild dreams.”
Although my favourite is a quote by Maya Angelou, used in the book:
“A word after a word after a word is power”
Truth found in the margins of the book.