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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Author:Cheryl Strayed A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe -- and built her back up again. 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 la... more »ter, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State -- and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than an "idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise." But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.« less
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Excellently written and a well-told tale. While I am impressed with the author and her triumph over a dark period in her life, the emotional baggage she carried with her on her hike was over the top. I believe every word, but this is no light-hearted account of a thru-hike. It is heavy and deep and ultimately triumphant. But reader beware.
A lot of people I know like this book. Every time I told someone I was reading it, I got basically the same response, "Oh, I loved that book!" Everyone in my book club liked it. Most of my friends on Goodreads who have read it gave it 4 or more stars. So I tried, I REALLY tried to like this book, and while I didn't hate it, and even enjoyed it at times, I think it is an overrated memoir written by a self-absorbed woman who makes terrible decisions.
So, I don't think it is giving anything away to say that the book starts out and you learn that Cheryl's life has taken a sharp turn for the worse after her mom dies from cancer at the young age of 45. Super sad, of course, and you feel bad for her, of course. But at a certain point, and I'm not sure when that point was, I stopped feeling bad for her and started feeling like she was completely unsympathetic as a narrator and unrelatable as a person. It might have been when I learned she didn't do any real research before starting out on her trek and was going to whine the whole book about how much her shoes/backpack/wallet hurt. Or it might have been when I found out she lectured her brother about smoking pot while she was doing heroin! But it was probably when she cheated on her husband and explained it away by saying, "I could only be who it seemed I had to be." (Um, what? New Flash: No one HAS to cheat.)
So, yeah, the chick annoyed me. She made stupid decisions and then liked to brag about how, because she was a beautiful woman hiking solo on the trail, people would come to her rescue. Repack her backpack for her. Give her a place to sleep. Pick her up on the side of the road. Buy her a drink. Blah, blah. It got kind of boring.
I feel like at the beginning of the book, she has all these problems because she couldn't cope with her mother's death, like doing drugs and sleeping with strangers, and by the end of the book, even though she has changed on the outside with a toned and tanned body, on the inside she is still the same exact person. I mean, she sleeps with a virtual stranger within the last 50 pages of the book. Is that supposed to be empowering? I didn't really get it and I don't think she did either.
Which brings me to my final point. What the hell did she learn on the trail?? I couldn't figure it out. At the end she says she is enlightened, but I didn't get it. She says when she returned to the Bridge of the Gods fifteen years later, the meaning of her hike unfolded inside her, a secret finally revealed, but she doesn't really share the secret, at least not with me.
I give it 2 stars because Cheryl writes well enough that I wanted to find out what would happen to her, although the end is somewhat anti-climactic. My advice is to skip this one.
Well written story that felt very earnest and forthcoming. Cheryl Strayed shared details of her life that I wouldn't have wanted to share but it was her openness about her past and the deep love she has for her mother that make me like her. I found Cheryl's courage motivational. The book did go on a bit too long for my taste. I wish there was the ability to give 1/2 stars as I would rate it a 3 1/2 star book.
This book was not a great piece of literature, and memoirs are not really my cup of tea, so I couldn't give it a 4 or 5. The writing is clear and engaging and I really admire the author for setting off on this adventure. She was not really prepared for what hiking the PCT would entail but she set out and completed her goal anyway. The author does become whiny at times and is not completely likeable as a person. However, I enjoyed reading about her trials and triumphs. It is an inspiration for anyone who has ever dreamed of doing something that seems nearly impossible. Quick, easy and enjoyable read.
My bookclub loved it. It is a memoir and quite reflective. Strayed lost her mom, lost her way and decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself. She weaves her destructive behavior pre-hike along with the stories about her mother and family with the hike itself. There are some difficult subjects which are glazed over, and some that are simply laid bare. It is really well written but not for everyone. She lost her mom at a young age (22) and without that anchor her life came undone. At 22 we are selfish and think we know more than everyone else. This shines through, she was a selfish person going through a lot of pain. Her decisions are not well thought out, she was actually quite lucky on the trail and in life.
If you don't mind a different perspective on life and loss and are not looking for or expecting a pure travel/trail book like A Walk in the Woods or Into Thin Air, then check it out.
This book was not what I expected at all. I was hoping to read the adventures of an experienced female hiker but the book ended up being a young ill prepared woman who decides to hike a difficult trail without any training or hiking experience. The whole book details her own immoral lifestyle, poor decisions and trying to get over her disappointing childhood and death of her mother.