Read Torch by Cheryl Strayed Online


"Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!†That’s the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers, and she has taken it to heart in her own life. She fled a bad marriage, escaping to Midden, Minnesota (pop. 408), where she fell in love with a carpenter who became a loving stepfather to her children, Claire and Joshua. Now Claire"Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!†That’s the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers, and she has taken it to heart in her own life. She fled a bad marriage, escaping to Midden, Minnesota (pop. 408), where she fell in love with a carpenter who became a loving stepfather to her children, Claire and Joshua. Now Claire is away at college, Joshua is laboring through his senior year of high school, and Teresa and Bruce are working to make ends meet. Despite their struggles, their love for each other binds them as a family. Then they receive the devastating news that Teresa has cancer and at thirty-eight may have less than one year to live. Those she will leave behind face something previously unimaginable -- a future without her.In Torch, the award-winning writer Cheryl Strayed creates from one family's shattering experience a novel infused with tenderness, compassion, and beauty....

Title : Torch
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780618772100
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Torch Reviews

  • Tracie
    2019-05-17 18:39

    After everyone freaked out about Wild (which is not available for normal people to read/buy yet) I had to find out who this Cheryl Strayed person is, so I got her first book. I have a hard time with this star system. Three is too low, but that's what my gut is telling me now that's it's been a week since I've finished it. There were times, a lot of times, where I LOVED this book. It's incredibly well written and Strayed has a way of phrasing super complex emotional/feeling things in ways that make them perfectly understandable, and for that I should probably give it four stars. It's a gift. But this was not a book I ever wanted to pick up again after I put it down. It's sad and heart wrenching and the sad and the heart wrenching NEVER CEASE. If I'd read it straight through in one day, which wouldn't have been hard if I'd had the time, I'd probably have given it 4 or 5 stars. The first part or two really are mind blowingly good. Like, I kept saying out loud to myself or to Chris, "Holy shit this is good." But by the end I was more like, "Yeah, okay, it's still good, but I'm a little tired of it? I'm ready to move on?" Which is easy for me to say, and yes I realize it makes me a giant dick to so flippantly say, "Sorry your mom died, but can we change the subject a bit?" So, yeah, I'm a dick. But I will say that you should read this. It's worth reading. (The other thing is that I read a long essay by Strayed about the situation with the whole mom dying thing, and the essay, maybe because it's not fictionalized at all, was so incredible, that parts of the book seemed unnecessary and dull compared to it. Sort of wish I'd read them in reverse order.)I can pretty much guarantee that sometime in the future I will go and up this to four stars.

  • jo
    2019-05-25 22:40

    i'm kind of moved to see so many people review this now that cheryl strayed has finally told us she is sugar of the rumpus (she "came out" on valentine's day, 2012). sugar is so much loved, so much justly loved, that her readers are flocking to her books and her articles to read more by her.if you have followed sugar's advice columns (and they are NOT ordinary advice columns: they are masterpieces of wisdom, wit, beauty, and life) this book won't entirely surprise you. it belongs with the same philosophy of hard knocks sugar embraces (though she's also much more!). in her columns sugar is much warmer and more positive than she is here, but this was written some time ago, and this is her life, and she is entitled to as much bitterness as she wants to put on the page. there is this 2002 article in The Sun Magazine that covers the same emotional and historical territory cheryl strayed covers here. i suggest you read it after reading the book, not only because it gives the book away, but because it's more powerful and more beautiful than the book (it's truly astounding) and it'll ruin the book for you. so here's my fantasy, my pure uneducated speculation about cheryl strayed: when she was young her mom died really really fast, and the pain that hit her when her mom died was a pain she didn't even know could exist. it was a pain so ferocious, so corrosive, so annihilating, she felt she couldn't survive and probably her feeling was accurate. but she did survive it, somehow. she didn't survive it very well or very tidily, but she lived. on many occasions (my fantasy goes) she cursed the fact that she was alive. on many occasions she railed against the fact that she couldn't die. because she really, really, REALLY wanted to die. she wanted to die more badly than she wanted anything. yet she couldn't. she was stuck in this here life and that sucked so majorly, she tried to make a mess of this life that was entrapping her as rigorously as she could. but her mom had made a terrific job of raising her and she was too good and too sane to fuck it all up. so, at some point, reluctantly, painfully, heroically, she resumed living. and then, because the pain, though it had lessened its bite somewhat, was still not going away, she decided to exorcise it by putting it all into writing. this was, after all, who she was. she was a writer. so cheryl decided to write her way out of her massive, horrible, icy cold, hell-hot pain. in the novel, the characters are a bit of a composite of various aspects of cheryl's pain as described in the Sun article. here are three aspects of this book i want to focus on:1. cheryl strayed is a fantastic writer. she sees things very deeply and puts them on the page in such a way that you see them deeply too. she finds words for the most difficult, the most impossible, the most intangible things. also, she uses adjectives quite spectacularly. if i thought this denomination made any sense, i'd say she's a writer's writer. but here's something that does make sense: if you want to write, read cheryl strayed and learn how to compose sentences and paragraphs and narrative structures. study her. she has it down pat. 2. this book does not let up. it doesn't let up from page one. you'd figure CS would portray the mother who is soon to die as someone special and lovable. but: no. the kids are annoyed at her. the kids are embarrassed by her. the kids are kids who have outlived their enchantment with their mother and are totally ready to live a life of their own to which anger at their mom is at this time (they are respectively 17 and... 20?) essential. in the normal course of events they would eventually stop being mad at their mom and would bond with her. but mom dies and they are stuck in rageland. 3. now, you would expect the kids to feel guilty. i know i would. i would feel AWFUL for every single time i failed to show her love and kindness. i would worry over those moments like an obsessed and possessed person. not these kids. maybe because they are minnesotan kids and they are raised to keep their feelings as locked up as they possibly can, they spend the whole book failing to connect: to themselves, to each other. (view spoiler)[they write their father off entirely and their father, consequently, distances himself from them almost entirely too. it's one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the book and it does not get resolved. at some point claire, the daughter, shouts at her father: "you cannot even do the bare minimum!" to which the father answers, quietly, "i can." "you can what?" "do the bare minimum; that's what i can do; i can do the bare minimum." (hide spoiler)] grief leaves these people decimated and while they could help each other restore each other to wholeness, they don't. there are about two million moments in which someone is about to say something that you feel could change things, start a dialogue. invariably, he or she bites it back. this is the book of missed connections. connecting moments present themselves and are allowed to pass over and over and over. it can drive you mad. these three characters, father, son, and daughter, so damn alone with their devastating pain. and since you never see them truly appreciate the woman they have lost (well, the father does; he loved her, though you don’t see exactly what they had), you don't even quite know why they are suffering so much. you want to scream: did you even like this woman???? THEN TELL US WHY!maybe if they were able to name, to themselves and to each other, why mom is so fucking missable; if they were capable of tracing the contours of the hole she left behind, they could find some solace. but they seem to be able to do just about zero emotional work. you follow them through the book at their most bereft and lost and directionless. i liked this book very much. i was sorry it ended. i could have read twice as much of it. the writing is magnificent and in literature this is 90% of the joy. what i want to say is that there is an intrinsic redemptive value in beauty and art, and, while the characters of this novel stumble through life in a fog, you don't. you can name all they cannot name. you process the pain through the beauty of the writing. you are given clear and deep vision.

  • Monika
    2019-05-03 14:49

    It's not often that I don't finish a book. I fell in love with Cheryl Strayed after reading Wild and Dear Sugar, so I was looking forward to consuming everything I could get my hands on. It's clear, though, that Torch isn't what made her for a reason. There is nothing wrong with the book, it just isn't very compelling. After reading the other books and being familiar with Strayed's story, I can't help but think of this as more of a therapeutic writing project for her to explore her feelings about her mother's death than a story that we are all to share. Maybe if I had never read the other books, maybe if I didn't know it was the same author, maybe then I would like it. But for now, I'm admitting defeat and putting this one down.

  • Erica Verrillo
    2019-05-24 15:43

    I confess that when I first picked up this book, I had no intention of bringing it home with me. Who wants to read about death and its terrible aftermath--loss, grief, anger? As it turns out--I did.From the very first sentence, I was hooked. I read the second sentence, and third and fourth, until I realized that I would rather be reading it at home than standing in an aisle. As soon as I got home I opened the book and read it non-stop for two days. I devoured every single word.What is amazing about this book is the way you are drawn into the lives of the characters. They were entirely convincing, to the point where I could not imagine they were not real. Their conversations, thoughts, actions were so natural I felt I knew them. Maybe I do know them, because all of the characters in this novel are us--in all of our emotional complexity. Whatever they feel, we feel, and have felt.There is something positively magical about Cheryl Strayed's writing. It is beautiful, lyrical, and poetic in all the right places. But most of all, it is truthful in a way that is rare in life, let alone literature. She faces the most terrifying change of all, the loss of the most important person in one's life, with a kind of fierce honesty that is entirely free of the manipulative sentimentality that haunts personal stories. And this story is indeed personal. Strayed's own mother died suddenly when she was in her twenties. It is undoubtedly her own intimacy with grief which lends this book its force.If I could give Torch more than five stars, I would. Strayed truly knows what it means to be human.

  • Susan
    2019-05-14 15:41

    Sometimes a book becomes more than a book...for me, usually it is a book of poetry, or a poem in particular, something to hang on to when things are not going well. You know those days/weeks/God help you if it's months, when things just falling badly like dominos, one falling brick after another, until you are wondering if there is an ancient gypsy curse on your family or what. This has been my March. A friend had recommended awhile ago that I read an essay in The Sun by Cheryl Strayed which led to me getting her book, this book. From the opening line "She ached." I was drawn in to the lives of these characters, vibrating with so much life that at the book's close, I feel I know them, that I will refer to them in my memory as people I have cared for. I am a very speedy reader when I want to be, but I delayed this book, held its pages at bay, to help me walk through some difficult days. It was nice knowing that at the day's end, I could rest my head on my pillow and open the book up, and be in Midden with these people I had come to care so deeply about. A terrific book from a gifted writer. Can't wait for the next one.

  • Rivka
    2019-04-25 18:43

    I always think of Anne Carson's preface to Euripides when I think about grief: "Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief." This kept coming up for me throughout Torch. I found myself watching the writing and reading the book as though a close friend had written it (the writing felt very familiar, as though I read it weekly, as though I stamped some particular turns of phrase into my memory) and it reminded me that if I start writing again I have to become each one of my characters in order for them to be human. I think the best kind of reader and the best kind of writing allow for a two way mirror. More than anything, this reminded me of that.In the end, what I will keep with me is the relationship between Joshua and Claire. When I closed the book, I got that deep "me too" feeling and knew that my brother and I do the best we can with each other.

  • Laura Lemay
    2019-05-13 16:59

    I am another newcomer to Cheryl Strayed via the Dear Sugar column. This was my first "real" CS book, and I knew going in that it was her first novel, and very autobiographical. On the one hand, this is a really dark, harrowing, moving, emotional book. It's about a mother who dies of cancer at 38 and how her family falls apart and does horrible things to each other in the aftermath, and how they start to rebuild their lives and relationships afterwards. A funny fast-paced romp, great for the beach, this book is most assuredly not. On the other hand: the writing is tremendous. From the pacing, to the structure (multiple 3rd person points of view), to the very real and very complicated characters, to individual sentences, this book is just beautifully crafted. As a writer, I want to sit down with this book and a pencil and deconstruct how it was put together. It was the glorious writing in this book that kept me reading, even as I put it aside every night saddened and unsure if I wanted to continue reading. I can recommend it to writers. I'm not sure I can recommend it in general, because it is just so emotionally raw.

  • Katie Kenig
    2019-05-14 14:54

    I picked up Torch from the library because I loved loved loved "Wild," Cheryl Strayed's memoir of her trek along the Pacific Coast Trail. I identified with her. I liked her style, I liked her writing, and I loved her story. When I found out that she'd published a work of fiction some seven years ago, I couldn't resist!I might should have resisted.It's not so much that this is a bad book, but this is a very thinly veiled memoir of what actually happened to Strayed, much of which you will already know if you've read "Wild" previously. So, I knew the story, but not all the details. I decided to persevere with the book anyway, because I had faith in Strayed's storytelling ability. I knew the book would be sad. I knew it would make me cry. I didn't know it would also make me angry. I actually threw the book across the room at one point and decided to stop reading it.But I still persevered.There was a moment at the end where I thought I was going to have to relive what, for me, was one of the saddest moments in "Wild," having to do with her mother's horse, Lady. When reading "Wild," this particular section affected me so much that my husband stopped what he was doing (in the middle of playing an MMORPG, and that, ladies and gentlemen, means he thought it was an emergency) to come to the bedroom and investigate why his wife was bawling like the world was ending.But I still persevered.And I kind of wish I hadn't. I really liked Strayed after Wild, and now I'm kind of ambivalent. I don't know how true these details were to her story, but it was pretty clear that much of it was ripped directly from her life. It made me alternately angry at people in her life and at her. It was heartbreaking in places, and in other places I just boggled at the choices people made. It seemed hyper-real, in the way that sometimes, when I tell people about the "year of hell" in our lives they can't believe that that would actually happen to a person. Sometimes, when too much happens, it seems like it has to be fiction. It has to be fake. And I'm well aware by my own experience that it's not always the case, but it still stretches that part of our brain that is desperately trying to suspend disbelief.I think that Strayed's writing style of writing has certainly evolved since writing "Torch". She is much more eloquent in "Wild" and has learned the art of the narrative through trial and error, partly through writing "Torch" it seems. This was an okay book. It isn't brilliant enough to make it one I'd recommend, because it also is a very provoking book, but it was definitely... okay.

  • Ashley
    2019-05-13 15:56

    I'm really unsure why this book has gotten so many good reviews. There was nothing endearing or redeeming about it. I understand flawed characters, but there was nothing remotely likable about any of them, including their relationships with each other. If it is a story about a mother's love and her legacy to her children, then it was a poor example. If it is a book about coping, and stages of grief, then it is also a poor example. Each character deals in the exact same way- with sex. And there is no true emotion or motivation connecting me with any of their plights. I had to force myself to finish this book and see if the end justified the means, but it continued to disappoint and disgust all the way to the end. Save your money and read Slammed instead. It depicts a similar family scenario in a truly emotional and moving way.

  • Cynthia Sinsap
    2019-04-27 19:49

    I purchased the book simply because it was by the author of the memoir "Wild." When I started reading the novel, I had to check the cover a couple times to see if I had put down Torch and accidentally picked up Wild instead. The thought that went through my head at several points in the beginning sections of the book was, "If you copy from yourself, is it still plagiarism?" At one point and entire long paragraph was an exact copy of a paragraph in Wild. Perhaps it wouldn't have irritated me so much were it not that the paragraph had a rather trite metaphor-- one hard enough to put up with once let alone come across again in a different book! Now I understood why the author had felt the need to add a preface to this later printing of the novel-- a disclaimer that the novel was not autobiographical. (sure started that way though!).Actually, as the book went on it got better. The story did eventually veer far enough away from biography to be unique rather than another version of Wild. I did enjoy the book in the end.

  • Jane
    2019-05-22 22:55

    A friend whose significant other died recently of lymphoma lent me this book, and as I read it I wondered how she could bear to read it herself. The painfulness of the topic aside, it's a realistic look at first, the process of dying from cancer, and second, the effect of the death of a young mom on her two kids and their step-dad. Claire, the daughter, is at the U of Minnesota, and her brother is still in high school in a small Minnesota town. Each family member deals with the death differently, and at times the reader wants to get into the story and give each one a shake! By the end I appreciated all of the characters and the author for sharing what is in part her own life story and helping me appreciate that life, often messy, never leaves us stuck in one place unless we choose to remain there.

  • Wilhelmina Jenkins
    2019-05-23 17:37

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold". Yeats said it, it has been used a million times, and it is the primary thought that kept recurring to me as I read this heartbreaking book. Teresa, the mother and wife and the core of the family, dies of cancer, and the family grieves and crumbles. Strayed examines the aftermath of this death from the viewpoint of each of those she left behind as they struggle to redefine themselves and their direction without her. Anyone who has lost someone who is central to their life will find something of their own experience here. Beautifully done.

  • Melanie
    2019-04-24 20:31

    Cheryl's story is painfully close to home, but she manages to make the telling a healing journey. She is, quite simply, my literary hero.

  • Laura
    2019-05-01 19:54

    V sad, v beautiful.

  • Sumi
    2019-04-25 22:39

    I read Torch immediately after reading Wild, frankly because I was hungry for more of Strayed's writing. I wonder how Torch would read if I hadn't read Wild first, because Torch is definitely a fictional memoir even though I am not sure if Strayed would necessarily say that. (Anyone notice that she says that her brother, unlike the character, was never arrested for dealing meth? That wouldn't rule out the possibility of him having used or dealt meth though, right? ;) Either way, I think knowing about Strayed's life from Wild added depth to some of the stories in Torch.Again, Strayed's voice shines, and the weaving in-and-out of past and present technique which she has down so right plays out beautifully again in this book. This book has helped me understand better a friend who is going through a period of loss-- that maybe the flowers and the cards are maybe adding insult to the injury, and the "I'm sorry for your loss" doesn't actually do anything. That maybe what's most needed at a period of loss is someone to help remind us that there is a life outside the world of loss, that what might help is the few minutes of normalcy, and a place to crash miserably when darkness sinks in.

  • Turi
    2019-05-05 17:38

    When I received Torch, I had no idea it would become one of my new favorite books. I'd heard a lot of buzz about Strayed's Wild, which I haven't yet read, but didn't realize what a talented fiction writer she is. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that this is a debut novel, and that the story is the story that Strayed felt she just had to write. Perhaps because of its semi-autobiographical nature, Strayed was able to perfectly illustrate the a family struggling with grief. The characters are real, and well articulated, and Strayed really brings them out on the page by writing each chapter from the point of view of one of the family members. Strayed also did a fantastic job developing the setting and the close-knit community, the weather and environment that make the characters who they are. I'd definitely recommend this book.

  • Erin
    2019-05-15 17:40

    This is one of those books that isn't about anything really. A woman gets cancer, she dies, her family navigates the aftermath. There's no suspense, no mystery to solve, no secret revealed by her mourning relatives. There is just day to day life and survival after sudden, horrible death strikes a family. In the hands of a lesser writer this would be trite or treacly. In Strayed's hands, this novel is luminous and deeply felt. I felt it deeply, and all of her characters were so deep, and did such awful human screwed up amazing things, that I'm pretty sure it gave me a crying jag twelve hours after I finished it (so watch out for that). The book covers about a year in the life of the Wood family, starting with Teresa's diagnosis, and shows how grief and change cycle through her remaining family members. Just amazing.

  • Amy
    2019-05-04 17:34

    I realize that some people in this world - like the characters of this book (and its author, I've learned since finishing it) - turn to sex in times of grief, pain, and loss. Since I'm not one of those people, I felt a bit of a disconnect with the characters after several random sexual encounters in the wake of the loss of their mother. Strayed is an amazing essayist, but it just didn't translate in the novel genre - or not as strongly as I'd hoped. She definitely writes open-heartedly, baring all, since the book seems in large part a thinly-veiled, fictionalized account of the loss of her own mother. She knows grief. And, subsequently, we know it too. At the risk of sounding like an old prude, I just wish there had been a little less sex.

  • Jen Raffensperger
    2019-04-27 15:52

    In the months following Cheryl Strayed's "coming out" as the Dear Sugar advice columnist on The Rumpus, I've devoured her writing. To me this doesn't stand up to Wild, perhaps because it's a fictionalization. Don't let me 3 stars feel lukewarm to you though - they're three enthusiastic stars. Stories of grief, of rapid loss of a parent to cancer specifically hit me in a really personal place. My reaction is probably different from someone who hasn't been through this (although goodness knows many have). It's a touching story and does a nice job of trying to show each family member's grief process. There were some I found more relate-able than others, but that's to be expected. It's a lovely work, but not a light read at all, though there are light moments to be found.

  • Christine
    2019-05-13 14:52

    I learned about opening up while reading this novel. About how to write pain. Cheryl Strayed does a tremendous job capturing grief, a topic that can easily be expressed in a clichéd manner. She captures the essence of grief in this novel. And the voice! I’d stay hundreds of pages with her.

  • Kate
    2019-05-13 18:32

    This was a heavy read, but beautifully written with exceptional character development. If you can handle some tears, it's worth it.

  • Irunesa
    2019-05-14 21:30

    Una novela sobre el duelo, de como cada persona afronta la perdida de diferente manera...

  • Jessica
    2019-05-17 19:59

    What a gorgeous book. My delight in reading books by Cheryl Strayed is now 3-3.

  • Liz
    2019-04-25 19:41

    Oh good lord, this book was difficult to get through as an audiobook. It was so painful to listen along as a family from the same neck of the woods as my own went through the horrible process of losing a loved one, as parts of my family are doing right now, that I almost gave up halfway. I could only make it past that point by setting the playback speed to 1.2x to avoid having to endure the weighty pauses between bouts of family members harming themselves and others in their grief and healing processes. I picked up this book because I loved Wild, but I don't think this was the right year for me to read/listen to a book about cancer. I would only recommend it to someone who was in the midst of having the best year ever.

  • Niki
    2019-04-29 14:57

    I love the way Cheryl Strayed approaches grief and loss in her prose, but there's nothing here that wasn't also explored in the much better Wild. Torch has many of the same roots - dead mother, complex emotional battles from those left behind - but what was an intimate and stunning character portrayal in Strayed's memoir does not translate as well to fiction. Each of the characters felt the same, wooden and over-sexed, as if that were the only way to approach grief. There were a few pockets of profound writing that made it worthwhile, particularly for those diehard Strayed fans (I'm including myself in this fandom), but Torch felt merely like a stepping stone onto bigger and better things.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-16 18:46

    Very fast read, OK story about family dynamics after the mom dies from cancer.

  • Brittany
    2019-05-17 18:34

    Cheryl Strayed writes poignantly classical. Upon immediate reading, you clearly can see that she is not the typical run-of-the-mill modern writer. It was most unfortunate when my highly favorable stance on her writing abilities was shot down time and again when she decided to write so crudely about sex. It wasn't crude in the way a man in a bar might talk about it, but the huge contrast between her clear talent to write and inability to write about sex without swearing really hurt my opinion of her writing.Each character is written in a way that you want to know more. The main theme with every single character, whether it be father, mother, brother, sister or neighbor even, is that they all rely upon sex to console their emotions. While I know that some people do rely on sex as a form of therapy, I find it really hard to believe that every single character would have found consolation through random acts of sex.There really is no driving plot (and I don't believe there was meant to be one) to pull you through to the next page. The characters are each strong and intriguing in their own ways, and this curiosity is perhaps the only thing that made me finish this book. Anyone I'd recommend this to would really only be those who've suffered the unbearable and inevitable situation of losing someone they find dear to them. This truly is a story of grief and the ripple effect of grieving.I have not yet had to lose a parent or anybody dear to me, so I may have read this from a perspective the author wasn't aiming at. Regardless of, I wish Cheryl Strayed would have found it in her to write more decently of sex and found other avenues that people use to console themselves during the grieving process. It would have been more dimensional if she'd done so, rather than so narrow-sighted.

  • Author Groupie
    2019-05-17 16:43

    Having recently inhaled Cheryl Strayed's Wild, I was then eager to read her first novel, Torch. With similar life experiences as the female protagonist Claire- a parent who suffers a gruesome death at the hands of cancer, various familial dysfunction, and a previous longing for the consummate romantic relationship- I bookmarked passage after passage which seemed to have come from my own thought processes during my near-identical life experiences: Years passed. . . Slowly, stingingly, she forgave them [her parents] without their knowing about it. She accepted the way things were- the way they were- and found that acceptance was not what she'd imagined it would be. It wasn't a room she could lounge in, a field she could run through. It was small and scroungy, in constant need of repair. (52)Strayed does not romanticize life, but, instead reveals it in all its awkwardness, ugliness, and blessedness.In addition, Strayed is not only author, but also neologist with the creation of parentified- "' . . . where a child who is still a child doesn't get to be a child entirely because he or she has to take on things that children shouldn't have to take on . . . common in single-parent families- where the child has to look after younger siblings, cook meals, and stuff like that'" (56). Recalling my own childhood, I can easily see how my older sister was definitely parentified, and certainly not of her own volition at the tender age of fourteen.For the purposes of book club, an assortment of vegetarian dishes in honor of Teresa Rae Wood would be appropriate. Perhaps a scalloped potato casserole with peas along with herbal tea would be ideal items offered at your book club discussion.

  • Christy
    2019-05-13 16:45

    I’ve read and been incredibly impressed with this author’s essays and other work and then found her debut novel. After fleeing a bad marriage, Theresa moves her two children as far away as possible, finds love, her true self and then at way to young, she gets cancer and dies soon after. This is a story of love and grief and how we deal with pain, numbing it and then struggling to move through it with grace and compassion. It affected me on a profound level. The characters are real, human, and ordinarily incredible. “…he’d been able to make a place in his brain so when everyone died he’d be ready for it, but now, here in his jail cell, there was no place. The only place was him, alone in his body, alone in his life, having to make it all okay by himself, from scratch.““She didn’t know whether she believed that time healed all wounds, but she believed it healed some. …time had begun to do its work. She could feel it inside her – softening, safening, making ordinary what was once appalling. She didn’t know whether she liked it or not, this healing."Amen, sister.

  • sarah gilbert
    2019-05-02 14:48

    'Torch' is a beautiful book that describes the process of losing a mother, a wife, a friend in such luminous detail that you cannot help rethinking your relationship with the people in your life, you cannot help understanding everyone's failings more fully. Cheryl Strayed develops her characters with such complete and unconditional love that it is no surprise to learn the novel is based on events in her own life; it is, however, a surprise to learn how much compassion you have for these characters who each, with a less masterly touch, could be charmless cliches. No. They are real and fully-devised and rift with humanity and the tender imagination they deserve.I'm looking very forward to Cheryl's upcoming memoir; I long to know how many details from this book come from her life.