Book vs. Movie: Wild

Book vs. Movie: Wild

Time for another Book vs. Movie! This time it’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. It was the pick for our book club this month, and last night we all went out to see the movie adaptation in theater together. It’s non-fiction, but doesn’t read like it, thankfully. It tells the story of 20-something Cheryl, whose mother’s death from cancer sends her life into a tailspin. To pull herself out of it, she impulsively decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She picks out a section over 1,000 miles long and sets out. Alone. With no prior long-distance backpacking/hiking experience. As you might expect, that doesn’t go as well as it did in her head. The book has become a national bestseller and was part of Oprah’s book club. The movie just released this month, and stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl.

So! That’s the summary. Here’s the side-by-side comparison of the different formats:

Book

Movie

Pros

  • Really well-written. Felt more like a novel than non-fiction, which I always appreciate.
  • A good mix of ‘present-day’ and back-story in the telling, with good transitions between.
  • I felt like she really captured the different personalities she meets on the trail well.
  • Made me want to go hiking out West.
  • Did a good job of translating all of Cheryl’s jumbled internal thoughts and song snippets onto the screen.
  • Reese Witherspoon did a great job as Cheryl. I was a bit skeptical, as Cheryl was around 25 when she did the hike, but it worked.
  • Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother was also perfect.
  • Surprise cameo by Cheryl Strayed (the author) as the woman driving the truck, and her daughter played the younger version of Cheryl.
  • They managed to fit enough of the back-story that we get in the book in a way that wasn’t jarring or distracting.

Cons

  • I thought the end wrapped up too quickly. I would’ve liked to see a little bit more of her life right after the hike, how she put it back together.
  • Unnecessary changes, like the best friend’s name, and the deletion of Cheryl’s sister.
  • A lot of the characters she meets on the trail were cut out, due to movie time constraints. Understandable, but disappointing.
  • They compressed certain plot points/scenes to happen at the same time in the movie, when they happened farther apart in the book.
  • As miserable as she was on screen at points, I’m not sure the sheer exhaustion and struggle conveyed in the book came through fully.

Overall, I liked the book better. I’d also recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, as I think you’ll get more out of the movie that way. But they are both good, so pick your preferred format and go with it. 🙂

Have you read the book or seen the movie? What did you think?

I give the book 4/5 stars.

I give the movie 3/5 stars.

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Wild

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The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2

I received a free copy of this book for review from Harper Voyager. This past weekend the boy indulged my fixation with dragons and took me to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. We both liked the first movie, so this wasn’t too much of a hardship for him. 🙂 I thought the first movie was a lot of fun, and the 2nd movie was a good follow-up. Still fun (and obviously full of dragons), but a little more serious and a little more mature, which fits for taking place 5 story-world years after the first movie. And I […]

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Book vs. Movie: Water for Elephants

Book vs. Movie: Water for Elephants

Time for another Book vs. Movie! This time it’s Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It’s the story of Jacob, who runs away to the circus during the Depression when his life falls apart around him. There, he works as the show’s vet, and falls ever more in love with Marlena, the star of the circus and beautiful wife of the temperamental ringmaster August. When the circus acquires an elephant for a new act, it changes everything. I read the book back in October on the way home from New York – between the airport layover and actual flights, I […]

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Weekend Recap

Airborne Toxic Event concert

This past weekend was a good weekend. 🙂 I got to meet these lovely ladies at the Austin bloggers meetup on Saturday: Sarah, Beth, Jamie, Jenn, me, Shelley and Lani – and I promise we’re not all evil, despite the glowing eyes. 🙂 I also went to see this movie with the boy: It was pretty decent. Dragged a bit in the beginning, some surprises, some predictability but overall a good time. And then I got to see this very awesome live show with a few friends last night: That’d be the Airborne Toxic Event. Love them and their music, […]

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Friday Favorites: Films for Thought

My range of movie-viewing is pretty wide. I’m equally happy watching a Bruce Willis action flick or a period drama or a romantic comedy or a quirky indie dramady. But I think my favorite are the type that are otherwise a normal storyline, but add just a little bit of weird/unreality with a pivotal What If question. And I thought I’d share some recent viewings that fall under this category, each of which I really enjoyed for different reasons. They are all what I like to call thinking movies. Not in a ‘ahh too much going on can’t keep track […]

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Friday Favorites: Modern Movie Musicals

Moulin Rouge

Music has always been a pretty big part of my life. I was in band. And choir. And took piano lessons for years and years. Near the end of high school and on into college, I also got into theater. These two interests met and merged and a love of dramatic musicals was born. The boy may wish it otherwise, but I have no problem sitting down to watch a movie where people randomly break into song or dance. Or one where it’s completely song and dance. He’s just lucky we don’t live near NYC, or I’d be dragging him […]

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Book Review: The Help

The Help By Kathryn Stockett The Help is yet another book I picked up because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. I still haven’t seen the movie, and now I’m a bit trepidatious about it. Not because the book wasn’t good, but because it was SO good, I can’t imagine the movie will live up to it. It portrays the casual prejudice, daily fear, and quiet joys experienced by black help in the white South with piercing simplicity. The narrative is split between a few different narrators, each speaking in the 1st person – and this is […]

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