Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book vs. Movie: "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed

"Wild" is on Netflix!  My husband and I both read the book several months ago, then we watched the movie together.  So which was better, the book or the movie?

This is rather a difficult question for me to answer, first of all because of my disappointment with the book.  I didn't exactly love the book, I was expecting less introspection and more adventure.  I also couldn't believe that anyone, regardless of background or education, would be naive enough to go out into the wilderness as completely unprepared as Cheryl Strayed did.  Why wouldn't you at least try on your pack to find out if it fits, or start your stove to see if it lights, or set up your tent to see if you can do it?  Isn't this the commonest of common sense?  I am not the most outdoorsy of people, but even I would think to do that much.  I found myself wondering if maybe the author embellished the truth just a bit in order to make a better story.  So, in my mind, I rated the book 3 out of 5 stars, which is decent, but not excellent.

Contrast this with the movie.  I thought Reese Witherspoon's acting was fantastic, and I really liked how the filmmakers were able to incorporate the flashbacks to show how Cheryl came to the decision to try hiking the PCT on her own.  However, there was so much left out, mainly Cheryl's introspection that wasn't really able to be captured on film, that I had a hard time connecting with her character.  By the end of the movie, I was ready for it to be over, and if I hadn't have read the book beforehand, I think I would've felt like I'd wasted my time.  

Normally there is a clear winner in my mind when it comes to book vs. movie, but in the case of "Wild", I'm going to say that they are tied.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I don't have exactly the same experience as Cheryl when it comes to being utterly unprepared for a sizeable undertaking but I remember in my early thirties, entering a mountain biking and orienteering challenge, on a whim.
    In my head I remember thinking 'some cycling and a bit of map reading, how hard can it be?' But if course, a bit like Cheryl's experience, the first couple of miles provided a huge reality check.
    So maybe, Cheryl assumed hiking the PCT would be a lot easier than the reality?
    At any rate, I much preferred the book to the film.I saw the film before reading the book but I had recently listened to an interview with Cheryl Strayed and so had some idea of what I was watching. I think the film would have confused me that wasn't the case.