For those who have made it through all four installments of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life, you watched Lorelai have a mid-life crisis: Her father died, there were major changes at the inn (Michel is leaving! Sookie is gone! Millennials are everywhere!), her relationship with her mother took ten steps backward, her daughter worked on a book that drudged up her past mistakes, and she and Luke, though partners, remain unmarried. So after a particularly moving performance from Sutton Foster in the town’s musical, Lorelai announces she’s taking a few weeks to herself to do “Wild,” a.k.a. hiking a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in order to find some clarity away from tiny, time-warped Stars Hollow in hopes of meeting new people and getting out of her comfort zone.
What was the inspiration for this out-of-character decision for Lorelai? Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild. Throughout the episodes, you might have noticed Lorelai reading the book. And if you didn’t read the bestseller when it was first released in 2012, in 2013 when it was our book club selection, or in 2014, when the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon was released, now is a great time pick it up. The book details Strayed’s months-long, 1,100-mile adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the wake of her mother’s death, a drug addiction, and several bouts of infidelity that left her relationship destroyed. While Strayed is now an accomplished author (you may also know her other essay collection, Tiny Beautiful Things), she was a 26-year-old aspiring writer when she set out on the trail. The book details how the journey offered her clarity as well as the strength to keep going – both on the trail when dealing with bears, strangers, and uncomfortable shoes and in her own life as she worked through her grief.
So, between your replays of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, crack open your copy of Wild. Even if you’re not going through an existential crisis like Lorelai, you’re sure to find some comfort in its wisdom.
To buy: $10, amazon.com.