Monday, March 4, 2024

Week 10 – Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Last year on Mondays we had fun with books. This year, we'll look at most of the same books but also some new ones, and see if the first line [or first paragraph] met the goal of a first line which is ==> to hook the reader's attention.

Here are some tips on writing a first line

Week 10 – Wild by Cheryl Strayed

First published: March 20, 2012

Here's what the story is about: A memoir of Cheryl Strayed’s hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert in Southern California, through Oregon and to the Washington border.

First line/paragraph:
My solo three-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail had many beginnings. There was the first, flip decision to do it, followed by the second, more serious decision to actually do it, and then the long third beginning, composed of weeks of shopping and packing and preparing to do it. There was the quitting my job as a waitress and finalizing my divorce and selling almost everything I owned and saying goodbye to my friends and visiting my mother’s grave one last time. There was the driving across the country from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon, and, a few days later, catching a flight to Los Angeles and a ride to the town of Mojave and another ride to the place where the PCT crossed a highway.

This story starts with an introduction which is basically backstory. The balance of chapter 1 is also backstory about the day she learned her mother was dying of lung cancer. But this author writes with voice. The details she gives, her thoughts at the time, everything on the page compels the reader to turn one more page. This book was riveting [I read the audio book] and I could not stop until it was over.

I also love the cover!

Does this first line/paragraph hook your attention? If you had never heard of this story, would you buy this story in 2024? Knowing the story, would you change the first line? Tell us in the comments!

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