Book Review: Wild

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Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Publication Date: 2012
Publishing House: Knopf

I’m a day hiker, I like to get off the tail at the end of the day and sleep in a real bed, most of the time at least. There is something magical about sleeping under the stars. That being said I think the idea of thru-hike is really cool and it might be worth at least hiking sections at some point. I had heard Wild and the film adaptation several years ago but this article from The Trek got me interested in reading this memoir recently. Honestly, this article is a great read on it’s own. I listened to Wild as an audio book from the local library.

Goodreads Synopsis:

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Trigger Warning for this memoir as it does include death, infidelity, and addiction.

This story was written many years after Cheryl’s thru-hike, the tale is not raw anymore. She has had time to reflect on herself and her story. This book includes all the rough and embarrassing and emotional moments that led up to and occurred during her trip. All of it happened and had an effect on her and she doesn’t hide it. She takes those experiences and grows.

Besides the internal conflict, Cheryl has to battle the elements. Crossing the Mojave is hot and sweaty work and water stops are few and far between. As the elevation rises into the Sierra Nevada range there is a record snow fall that has not melted even during the hot summer months during which she hikes. She had no experience with long hikes, hiking in snow, or knowing how to properly pack. Seriously, her Monster pack has its own gravity.

I really enjoyed this memoir. I’ve read other memoirs by celebrities but this was one that I could connect with better; not because I’ve been through these same experiences but because Cheryl is a normal person, or at least she was when she wrote this book. I suggest this book for those that are looking to find something in their life, for those that love to hike, and for those that want to read a well written story about personal growth. Have you read this book or seen this movie? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Happy reading.

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