"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.
Grief is intractable, and it makes you crazy. Funny thing is: Life is intractable and it makes you crazy, too. All you can do is deal with it, or try to. A lot of "Torch" is funny -- funny as a crutch, as my dad used to say. Humans are so deeply irrational, so fiercely attached to the people and things they love, that nothing they do can be all that surprising. This novelist goes fearlessly into this place of raw grief and inappropriate lust and desperate love and simply reports what she sees: These are people who, along with their outdoor privies, stray moose and low-wattage radio stations, live dense, perplexing, fascinating and authentic lives.