Could ‘Wild’ be the antidote to ‘Gone Girl’?

I’m a slow reader, and I read several books simultaneously, so finishing Cheryl Strayed’s Wild in a couple days is a remarkable feat in my world.

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This memoir starts with the story of a how Strayed’s life unraveled after her mother’s death in her early 40s from lung cancer. Stayed cheated multiple times on her husband, left him, spiraled into heroin addiction, and then went cold turkey from men and drugs, hiking alone on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I love this book. I can’t wait to see the movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

I don’t recall ever reading a book about a woman who writes of cheating on her loving husband and then chooses to be alone. Strayed’s writing style in open, honest, and raw. Here is one of my favorite passages:

What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d dome something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than it was what I wanted to do and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was also what got me here? What if was never redeemed? What if I already was?

 

I’ve read several interviews with Witherspoon where she speaks about the lack of roles for women, why she created her own production company, and her hopes for her daughter. Here’s one quote from the Columbus Dispatch:

In a series of meetings that Reese Witherspoon had with Hollywood executives in 2012, the actress grew increasingly frustrated by the answers she received to the question “What are you developing for women?”

The pickings were slim.

“I think it was literally one studio that had a project for a female lead over 30,” the actress recalls. “And I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to get busy.’  ”

“My daughter was 13,” Witherspoon says, “and I wanted her to see movies with female leads and heroes and life stories.”

 

How cool is that? We desperately need powerful women, women with daughters, to put their time, energy, brains, and money into getting narratives with heroic, complex females out into the world. It does kind of bum me out that Witherspoon’s other project was “Gone Girl.” If you’ve read my blog, you know I hate what “Gone Girl” is about. Apparently, the director of “Gone Girl” insisted Witherspoon did not star in the movie. He wanted someone unknown, cold, and unapproachable. It’s interesting that being too cold is one of the criticisms Rosamund Pike is getting for her portrayal of Amy Dunne. Clearly, she is following the director’s orders.

I, for one, am thrilled Witherspoon is starring in “Wild” instead. I’m a huge fan of her work, especially “Freeway,” one of her early movies where she plays a violent, heroic Red-Riding Hood. I just read an article about Witherspoon in Vogue and there is no mention of “Freeway.” There almost never is which I don’t get. Have any of you seen it? It’s such a great movie.

“Wild” like “Gone Girl” is a best-selling book which hopefully will metamorphose into a blockbuster movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m already hoping Witherspoon wins another Oscar.

 

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