Friday, March 20, 2015

Lori Reviews WILD by Cheryl Strayed

Title:  Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author:  Cheryl Strayed

Publication Information:  2012 by Knopf

How I Got This Book:  I purchased a copy online.

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.

My Thoughts:  I loved this book.  Go read it.  :)

Oh, you want more than that?  OK, fine...

A lot has been said about the risks Strayed took in hiking the trail alone, without any sort of training ahead of time, and without much of a clue as to what to expect.  OK, yes.  Probably not the best idea in the world.  But I looked past all of that towards the personal journey she was on.

The first part of the book details Strayed's past and how she got to the point of hiking the trail.  She had an unusual childhood in a very primitive house.  Her mom got sick and it destroyed her and her family.  She went down a negative path, filled with drugs and lots of promiscuous sex, which led to the breakup of her marriage.

She decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to finding a path to redemption.

She learns a lot about herself along the way.

I've had a year filled with a lot of change and a lot of grief--quitting a job, moving, caring for my grandfather while he was in the hospital, and then losing him.  There were tons of moments along the way where I wanted to just run away and do something so physically taxing that I could leave behind all of the emotions.  Like Strayed, I wanted to be so consumed with the very act of making it through the day that I couldn't focus on what was going on in my regular life.  Reading about Strayed's own journey helped me process a lot of things.

I loved how open and honest and raw her writing was.  She let it all out there, warts and all.  She spoke in a voice I was able to relate to, though I have not had the same struggles or experiences she has had.

Aside from the personal, inner journey, I loved reading about the outer journey of hiking that kind of distance.  I really enjoyed reading Bill Bryson's journey through the Appalachian Trail in A Walk in the Woods.  It appealed to my inner travel bug.  So much so that I told my mom that I want to go on a major hiking trip at some point.  And so much so that I am hitting a local trail this afternoon.

Bottom line--for my this book was appealing on more than one level and I would highly recommend it to people interested in the physical adventure and to people interested in the inner journey.  Not a "fun" read (in the sense of light), but definitely a good read that will make you think.


  1. I've had this for a while, but haven't read it yet. After reading your review, I think I might give it a shot sometime soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Beatrice @ Book For Thought

  2. Great review. I’ve been meaning to read this one, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. It sounds interesting.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. Glad to hear you enjoyed it--I just picked this one up on a haul but haven't cracked it open yet.

  4. I on the other hand hated this book. Like many people I think she made large parts of it up.

  5. One of my all-time favorite memoirs. I read this at a time of difficult transition and empathized with Cheryl's story. Definitely a book I'll read once a year. Powerful and moving.

  6. I read this one as a library e-book on a day when I had a very important interview. I read the first part of it at the airport while waiting to head to the interview (plane landed at 6am, I didn't need to be there until 10:30); another part of it to calm myself down on the interview lunch break; and the rest of it at the airport waiting to head home at the end of the day. It was a good read that distracted me from the stress, but it will forever be linked in my mind with that interview.

  7. Yay! I'm glad this book is as good as it sounds. It's on my TBR list :-)

  8. I don't like to talk negatively about a book or person that people love and admire...but I just really didn't connect with Cheryl...which made it difficult to love the book. I'm flawed. I've made mistakes (some similar to the ones she did). I've been self-destructive. So, I don't sit in judgement of her. I thought I'd relate to her and her story, but there was just something about her that I did not like. However, for those that have connected to her and her story, I'm glad that books like this exist.

  9. Cheryl Strayed is basically my hero. I read the book and watched the movie and I just think that Its amazing that she not only recognized the negative parts of herself and wanted to change but actually took the next step toward changing her life and did something drastic. Yes, it probably wasnt the smartest move ever to not have any training but I think it was her way of hitting the reset button on her life and I think thats awesome. Im glad the book helped you in your life too! Great review! <3 Bee @ Bee Reads Books

  10. Love this book, and I haven't even read it yet! I think the best thing that resonates with me is how, despite the risks, she still went. And she came out of it better than she ever was. It's...inspiring.

  11. I keep seeing this book at my library and am very attracted to the cover, but I didn't know if it was worth checking out. Thanks for giving me a hint! I'm from Arizona and I totally pine for hiking every day. I live in the middle of São Paulo now, and I really miss nature in Arizona and the West Coast. :'(

  12. Wild is one of my favorite books. There were moments when I thought she was a little crazy for tackling something so big by herself, but looking back, I think everyone has a thing they have to tackle by themselves in order to continue their journey in life.

  13. I am so glad you loved this one. I completely agree! I thought it was such a good book.

  14. Thanks for your review it encouraged me to pick up the book again, and finish it. I bought the paperback when it first came out, got half way through and then put it down. Other books jumped the que and Ms Strayed's book got lost in the crowd. I was lucky enough to see an interview with Ms Strayed at the Sydney Writers' Festival a few years ago. She was very entertaining and interesting. I must dig out her book today and give it my focus.


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