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Book Review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
DaynaAlyson avatar reviewed on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8

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.

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