Readers and Authors, More Connected Than it Would Seem

From The New York Times: WE ARE FAMILY:

When a book saturates the culture as pervasively as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” — at No. 15 on the combined nonfiction list after 56 weeks — it can be hard to imagine there are readers left who haven’t encountered it. But when a Pennsylvania woman checked “Wild” out of her local library recently, she was surprised to find far more than the travel adventure she was expecting.

“I often get e-mails,” Strayed wrote on Facebook last month, “from readers who tell me we’re connected because their lives are so very much like mine — similar childhoods, similar losses, similar struggles. This experience has been a great reminder to me how very connected we are, in spite of our differences. As I read one such e-mail recently I thought I was reading the usual until I came to the part about how the e-mailer sat bolt upright in bed as she read ‘Wild’ because halfway into Chapter 1 she realized we have the same father. My half sister, who came upon my book by chance, who knew of my existence but not my name, found me.”

Strayed told me she had made efforts over the years to locate her half sister and -brother, but online searches turned up nothing. But when her half sister started “Wild,” she “knew just enough about me and my siblings that she put it together. She read the rest of the book and then she wrote to me. She was stunned. I was, too, and yet I always knew our paths would cross. Life is like that. There’s always more, always a reveal.”

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