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

by Cheryl Strayed

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1503291,206 (3.89)300
  1. 91
    A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (ominogue)
  2. 00
    Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts (Alphawoman)
  3. 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!
  4. 00
    Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide by Paul Howard (sboyte)
    sboyte: Human-powered journeys through the mountains of North America.
  5. 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)
  6. 18
    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 324 (next | show all)
Dealing with her mother's death and the end of her marriage, a woman sets off to hike 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, despite never having done any backpacking before and, to be honest, not being all that prepared for the journey. And what a journey. The hardships she endures, the choices she makes, the people she meets, and most of all how she deals with her grief are all so fascinating, at once touching, funny, and gripping. The story is interspersed with memories, detailing the various events in her life that led her to this spot. The whole thing was incredibly inspiring and made me want to get out and explore more, but also convinced me that I am far too fond of modern comforts (plumbing in particular, but also my toenails) to enjoy backpacking. When I talk about nonfiction that reads like a novel, this is the kind of book I'm talking about. Watching Cheryl find her voice and her life path over the course of nearly 100 days in the wilderness was simply awesome. Highly recommended. ( )
  melydia | Aug 23, 2016 |
"Nothing did. Nothing would. Nothing could ever bring my mother back or make it okay that she was gone. Nothing would put me beside her the moment she died. It broke me up. It cut me off. It tumbled me end over end.
It took me years to take my place among the ten thousand things again. To be the woman my mother raised. To remember how she said honey and picture her particular gaze. I would suffer. I would suffer. I would want things to be different than they were. The wanting was a wilderness and I had to find my own way out of the woods. It took me four years, seven months, and three days to do it. I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.
It was a place called the Bridge of the Gods."

I loved this book. Not because it was an uber-inspirational, amazing story - if it had been like that, I would not have much time on this book at all. What I loved about the story was that it was honest in its bluntness and that it did not glorify grief. Reading, Cheryl's story was very easy to relate to even though I did not walk the PCT. But then, every one deals with stuff differently.

So, apart from the description of how Cheryl found a way to deal with the events in her life that overwhelmed her, the book was a funny, smart, down-to-earth reminder of the huge effect that very small things that can have - the pleasure of tasting a favourite soft drink, the warmth of a shower, the feel of tiny frogs jumping on you, the liberation that is gained from not having to wear shoes that are too small.

On that note, as I am writing this review, I have my foot elevated in a position where my heel does not touch anything. I have a (massive) blister from going hiking this past weekend and Cheryl's struggle with her boots is all too real to me. So, whilst I am grateful that Wild - despite the publisher's best marketing efforts - was not the over-dramatised, over-sentimentalised account of a Cheryl's journey, I particularly loved that the book managed to reflect on both grief and practical issues of hiking with a sense of humor and humility. I also now want to visit some of the parts of the PCT, but not before my feet are healed from my recent excursion and not definitely not before I manage to read a map. Map reading skills in particular would have been useful last weekend and would have saved me and my friend from an additional 4 miles of detour. Luckily, neither of us was prone to panicking over the fact that we had - temporarily - gotten lost. Learning not to panic is probably one of the the first things to learn about going hiking.

"It was a deal I’d made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone. I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid."
( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
This book was brilliant from start to finish. I cannot think of a single thing I would wish the author had done differently. This is a magnificent tale of battling both external and internal conflicts and triumphing over the same. I am awe-inspired and humbled and so grateful to have read this book. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Oh my gosh, what a brilliantly told story! It's not often you come across a book that makes you reevaluate what you believe, but this one did it for me. The story on the trail is wonderful - I've spent time in many of the places the character has, and it was like revisiting them during the read. But the story under that is what kept me riveted to the book until I finished. Cheryl's grief and life's implosion following the death of her mother touched me...and reminded me not to judge - you have no idea the horrors someone else is living through.

The writing was the double chocolate fudge frosting on the cake - I hightlighted whole pages of beautiful prose.

I haven't come across a book this good in a long time. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Laura_Drake | Aug 19, 2016 |
Strayed wrote this memoir describing her 1,100 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert in California through Oregon and into Washington. Aged 26 and without any hiking experience, she set out alone on the trek after being devastated by the death of her mother.

I really liked the hiking story itself - how she prepared (or didn't prepare, in this case), what she was afraid of, what made her confident, the landscape, the physical challenges. Although she mulled over her life in flashbacks, these reflections added little to the story, and did not lead to any conclusions or realizations. It is to be expected that personal information is necessary to let the reader know how and why she came to decide on such an extreme undertaking, but Strayed returned often to her use of heroin, promiscuous sex, and her mother's death, which detracted from the main story - or maybe that was the main story. Half a star off for the gratuitous sex encounter near the finish that I preferred to skip. In the end, I enjoyed this interesting and entertaining memoir. Kudos to Strayed for her huge achievement. ( )
  VivienneR | Aug 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 324 (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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Dedication
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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