Book Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

12262741Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel, Adventure, Adult, Nature

Publisher: Knopf

Published: March 20, 2012

Page Amount: 315 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: 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.

Why Read: Reason 1: Reese Witherspoon. I carry no shame in admitting that half the reason I finally got around to reading this was the movie, seeing it on Book Riot and biting the bullet on Amazon. I am a travelogue sucker, and there’s nothing that I love more than some deep self-reflection while traveling someplace unknown, even if it’s in our own country.

Review: There is something deeply terrifying about reading someone’s life story which has a similar timeline to your own. Age twenty-two, and Cheryl’s life was falling apart: death, marriage and drugs are only the beginning of how truly messed up her life was. The decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail was her way out of that, and reading her story – it’s almost impossible to imagine doing things how she did it.

Toenails falling off, a lack of preparation and the worse snows in years: it is truly a wonder that Cheryl didn’t die. Since we have the book to show it, I’m grateful it didn’t happen. Her experiences are nothing short of extraordinary, and I found myself getting teary-eyed as she described the death of her mother and the family’s reaction towards it. The hike itself is a story of strength. How does one woman become the PCT Queen and make it through to the other side?

I found myself smiling and crying, oftentimes simultaneously, while following her physical and emotional journey from the Mojave Desert to Washington. It was truly a humbling experience in reading about her story. Perhaps the most poignant part was her resolution to do the trail alone, and keeping to that even as she met friends, creeps, and hitchhiked up the country. Where do I rate this on the scale of to-read? It was so good that my verdict cannot be anything other than READ THIS PLEASE. The descriptions are are beautifully written, and her true story so heart-wrenching that it should be a required read – and in my mind, it already is.

 

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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