The buzz about Cheryl Strayed’s just-out memoir, Wild, is well-deserved and, well, true. Perhaps best known as Sugar from The Rumpus, that once-but-no-longer anonymous advice-giver (taking over when Steve Almond, the original Sugar, abdicated) read from her memoir earlier this week at Brookline Booksmith, where a standing-room-only crowd (including Almond) came with gifts (wine and cookies, from two separate people).
Memoir, Strayed said, discussing her process for bringing to life the events of her life circa 1995, is not reportage but “vividly reimagined moments” using fictional tools to bring the story to life.
Backpacking is Strayed’s favorite thing to do, but you have to learn how to do it or you have to bail off the trail, she said. You deal with “all kinds of weather and all kinds of stuff,” and during her first time out, she “carried a lot of stuff.”
“I didn’t learn much about lightweight backpacking then,” she said, “but since then, I’ve embraced that.”
And it’s not a stretch to imagine Strayed, as Sugar, offering the same advice about how to get through life with grace and gratitude.