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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 (Oprah's Book… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Cheryl Strayed

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5542082,359 (3.95)210
Member:klockrike
Title:Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)
Authors:Cheryl Strayed
Info:Knopf (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:hiking, memoir, grieving, loss, endurance, pacific crest trail, boots, love, strength

Work details

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

Recently added byheatherp22, telisj, librik, nnschiller, private library, mskatiea, airstreamgirl, Piperlib, akowen, ST-B
  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. 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 203 (next | show all)
[b:Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found|17125767|Wild A Journey from Lost to Found|Cheryl Strayed|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1356484262s/17125767.jpg|17237712] is a masterful piece of creative non-fiction. I have a lot of things to unpack in my reaction to it, but I want to focus on the style of the writing first off. Memoirs and travelogues are difficult to write. It *seems* easy on the outside, to non-writers like myself. (or writers of very specialized kinds of texts, like myself.) All you have to do is to record what happened in chronological order, interspersed with some background context and personal reactions to the goings-on. This isn't the case and [a:Cheryl Strayed|155717|Cheryl Strayed|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1320771235p2/155717.jpg] does a masterful job of intertwining her memories of events and actions that formed her life into a clear narrative. It is also very difficult to write about endurance athletics. So much of the meaning or significance of a long hike like this one (and I've never hiked for more than a week at a time) or other endurance events is wrapped up in the continual exhaustion or the hour after hour of effort when uncomfortable or in outright agony. On the page the word agony doesn't register that much differently than the word discomfort. The words 100 miles and 1000 miles don't have the same distinction as hiking 100 miles and hiking 1000 miles do. Strayed captures some of that on the page. So many other writers end up telling and not showing, but Strayed manages to relate, I think, more of the impact than the vast majority of others manage.

Another thing that Strayed is a master of is a kind of radical personal openness. She tells the truth. (As far as I can tell.) She doesn't pull punches. She documents her choices and writes as to try to understand them, but she manages to keep a clear distinction between documenting the things she has done and the person she is. A perfectly accurate reading of Wile could be "irresponsible and selfish woman relies on the generosity of others while she has promiscuous sex (while married), develops a heroin habit, and then runs away to escape the consequences of her choices." All of those things happened. The sentence is factual, but Strayed, by being relentlessly honest shows us that the things she has done do not make up who she is. The statement is factual, but it missed deeper truths that Strayed is able to express. She doesn't, of course, escape the fallout of her choices. She owns them, they do not own her. She teaches us, with her openness, how to love ourselves and love others. How to do a little better at seeing the person behind the behavior. By withholding judgement on herself, she allows herself to grow out of her grief and self-destructive patterns of behavior. I don't think many will want to live like Cheryl, but many who do live like Cheryl can learn how to love and heal because Cheryl is relentlessly honest about herself. I can see how some might read Wild and come away thinking that Strayed is a special case, some will think that her trail-name "Queen of the PCT" is snarky: that she did nothing to earn her special treatment and kindness from strangers other than to be a pretty woman with too much sense of adventure and not enough common sense. That she was lucky, privileged, or entitled to walk away from risky decisions without disaster. That is, I think, incorrect. Strayed is special because she is able to document her pain and her reaction to pain, grief, and the sheer fucked-uppedness of her situation so as to give a sense of perspective to others in the same place. She was unable to pretend her life was anything but lost and a mess, but that inability to engage in pretence also left her open to the truth of love. Love is just as real as pain or grief. That allows her to tell us: "Sweetpea, you are mess AND you deserve love. You can love yourself unconditionally and that is the first step to moving on to good things." At least, that's what I hear her telling me.
( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Such a thought-provoking book. If she could do it, why couldn't I? At least I've been backpacking before. ( )
  she_climber | Sep 9, 2014 |
'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 and be who I really was.'

I received this book from my Aunt, who happens to be very active and athletic. She said it was phenomenal, and my immediate reaction was,'Really? I mean, when was the last time you saw me do anything athletic?! How am I going to be able to relate to a hiker? And am I really going to like reading about a woman hiking some Crest Trail?' So, alas, it sat on my bookshelf until I decided I should just read it, maybe I would at least learn something about hiking.

Now, I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I don't know how to feel now that I am finished. I feel like I was just let into the darkest corners of Cheryl Strayed's life, and how she overcame so much while trying to find some peace in her life. Sure, the book has plenty to do with hiking, and her trials and tribulations on the trail (which were incredibly interesting, to my surprise), but at the center of this memoir is the story of a broken woman trying to make herself whole again. Reading this book felt like I was reading a kind of therapy session. That this was Strayed's way of finally 'closing the book' (no pun intended!) on a difficult yet enlightening period of her life.

I related to her in so many ways. I grieved with her in so many ways. I pitied her in so many ways. And overall, I rooted for her every step of the way.

I will be playing this story over and over in my mind for a long time, I have a feeling. SO worth the read. One of the best books I've read all year, or ever for that matter.

( )
  ASmithey | Aug 31, 2014 |
'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 and be who I really was.'

I received this book from my Aunt, who happens to be very active and athletic. She said it was phenomenal, and my immediate reaction was,'Really? I mean, when was the last time you saw me do anything athletic?! How am I going to be able to relate to a hiker? And am I really going to like reading about a woman hiking some Crest Trail?' So, alas, it sat on my bookshelf until I decided I should just read it, maybe I would at least learn something about hiking.

Now, I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I don't know how to feel now that I am finished. I feel like I was just let into the darkest corners of Cheryl Strayed's life, and how she overcame so much while trying to find some peace in her life. Sure, the book has plenty to do with hiking, and her trials and tribulations on the trail (which were incredibly interesting, to my surprise), but at the center of this memoir is the story of a broken woman trying to make herself whole again. Reading this book felt like I was reading a kind of therapy session. That this was Strayed's way of finally 'closing the book' (no pun intended!) on a difficult yet enlightening period of her life.

I related to her in so many ways. I grieved with her in so many ways. I pitied her in so many ways. And overall, I rooted for her every step of the way.

I will be playing this story over and over in my mind for a long time, I have a feeling. SO worth the read. One of the best books I've read all year, or ever for that matter.

( )
  ASmithey | Aug 31, 2014 |
I know most people loved this book, but to me it reeked of self-indulgence. Congratulations to the author on her journey, I'm happy she found her way.
( )
  1Randal | Aug 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (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.
 
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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.
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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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