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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (2012)

by Cheryl Strayed

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3,1152491,809 (3.94)250
Recently added bycdnicoll, private library, jpinger, zkazy, kittyjay, wstarmer, pilgrimess
  1. 80
    A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (ominogue)
  2. 00
    Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis (booklove2)
    booklove2: A very memorable account of a young woman hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself! Inspiring!
  3. 00
    The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind-and Almost Found Myself-on the Pacific Crest Trail (P.S.) by Dan White (clif_hiker)
  4. 00
    Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Outdoor Lives) by Suzanne Roberts (Alphawoman)
  5. 17
    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Darcie2013)
    Darcie2013: Like Eat, Pray, Love, Wild is about a woman who has gone through life-changing events and has realized she no longer knows who she is. In both books, the author decides that through travel she may find herself.
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Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
Cheryl Strayed finds herself at the end of her rope at the beginning of the book. She gives a heartbreaking account of her mother's sudden death from cancer, her failed marriage, and the gradual unweaving of her family as they all move on in separate directions. She is clearly lost at the beginning, reeling from the events, when she decides nearly on a whim to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a physically demanding trail that extends from the border of Mexico to Canada.

The book hits its stride when describing her hikes and the often painful lessons she learns about backpacking (buying too small boots and initially beginning with a pack that weighs more than half of what she does). Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, she hits her stride when describing the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert or the closed woods of Oregon. The people she meets are painted with affection, and often a tinge of sadness.

I would have rated it five stars if it had been just that - however, I found it rather hard to connect to the author. She describes the events that led to her failed marriage, a bevy of infidelities that she finally confesses to her husband. While I can appreciate the fact that other people have committed adultery, and her mother's death led her to extreme modes of behavior, the way she describes these affairs seem to be not proud, but not really remorseful either. She seems fatalistic in their accounts, which given the fact that this book was written long after her actual hike, makes sense, but often left a bad taste in my mouth. She also discusses a dalliance with heroin and never seemed to properly address the fact that this was a problem. She describes meeting a group of people along her hike at one point, and one offers her a joint. She smokes it and describes an almost spiritual experience, then later talks about how she disapproved of her mother smoking marijuana. Again, this is tempered by the fact she is dealing with the irrational anger that a loved one dying so often stokes, but it felt hypocritical. She even describes a fling with a man she meets at one of her rest stops, and casually says that after a night with him, she was growing bored with him. There's an air of self-absorption whenever she's with other people that was, quite frankly, distasteful.

That said, her attention to the hike itself is beautiful, funny, and inspiring. She clearly reveres her surroundings while at the same time being imminently practical in how hiking twenty-one miles a day can lead any nature-lover to become focused on the monotony. She talks about being discouraged, wanting to quit, about the dangers she encounters, and still shows a fierce love for the trail that led to her finding peace.

It may not have been quite the transformative experience I was expecting when I picked it up - I had the feeling that it often skimmed the surface when it should have plunged deep - but it was still a highly enjoyable book. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
After seeing the movie and enjoying it I wanted to read the book. A very absorbing and interesting story of Strayed's huge solo hike over the Pacific Crest Trail. Why she did it, how she did it, the people she met and how the experience changed her - I loved this book! ( )
  PennyAnne | Apr 22, 2015 |
Bought this on a whim and enjoyed it. Reminded me a bit of Born to Run. I liked that the "emotional journey" aspect wasn't too strong, it wasn't too cringey. Really liked the character of the author. Inspired to hike now! Enjoyable quickish read. ( )
  aine.fin | Apr 16, 2015 |

“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”

“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer—and yet also, like most things, so very simple—was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay. As I clung to the chaparral that day, attempting to patch up my bleeding finger, terrified by every sound that the bull was coming back, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go.”

― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail ( )
  Le_e | Apr 10, 2015 |
I read this back in 2012 and again, now, for book club. I think I liked it even more this time. I really liked it, as I love travel adventure books. I think Cheryl made some unwise choices in some of her actions, but I think it was all part of the growing up she had to do. Another reason it spoke to me is because one of my own bucket list goals is to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Europe (Spain) when I'm 65! Watch the movie (on Netflix) called The Way, with Martin Sheen, to see what I'm talking about. I think I'd train first before attempting it, unlike Cheryl, however. Kudos to her for even trying this PCT journey, persevering, and succeeding! I recommend this book; it was a real page turner for me. ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
It’s not very manly, the topic of weeping while reading. Yet for a book critic tears are an occupational hazard. Luckily, perhaps, books don’t make me cry very often — I’m a thrice-a-year man, at best. Turning pages, I’m practically Steve McQueen.

Cheryl Strayed’s new memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” however, pretty much obliterated me. I was reduced, during her book’s final third, to puddle-eyed cretinism. I like to read in coffee shops, and I began to receive concerned glances from matronly women, the kind of looks that said, “Oh, honey.” It was a humiliation.

To mention all this does Ms. Strayed a bit of a disservice, because there’s nothing cloying about “Wild.” It’s uplifting, but not in the way of many memoirs, where the uplift makes you feel that you’re committing mental suicide. This book is as loose and sexy and dark as an early Lucinda Williams song. It’s got a punk spirit and makes an earthy and American sound.
 
A candid, inspiring narrative of the author’s brutal physical and psychological journey through a wilderness of despair to a renewed sense of self.
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews (Dec 19, 2011)
 
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Wild (2014IMDb)
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For Brian Lindstrom

And for our children, Carver and Bobbi
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(Prologue) The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California.
My solo three-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail had many beginnings.
Quotations
The universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.
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A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.

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