In My Favorites on March 18, 2014 at 2:44 am


Publisher’s Overview (Barnes & Noble):

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 later, 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. (Winner of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Nonfiction)

My Thoughts:

I had read and enjoyed Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, his experience hiking the Appalachian Trail, and thought that Wild, Cheryl’s recount of her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on the other side of the United States, would be equally interesting. Well, it was definitely that, but you couldn’t find two more different books. Cheryl’s book was more about her journey within the journey, rather than the journey. She was such a mess through most of the book. Her mother had died, her family –what was left of it – was growing apart and moving on, her marriage had fallen apart because of her infidelities, and she dabbled with some serious drugs. Oh, and her father, while out of her life by that time, had been abusive and had left residual, long-term effects. Her solution was to hike the PCT in an effort to put her life back together. 

For the most part, I just couldn’t understand what she hoped to accomplish going on that trip alone and so unprepared. Most of the time she just annoyed me, but I still had a burning desire to see how it all turned out for her. This is one of those you-either-love-it-or-hate-it-books, and you are likely to have many questions when you are done – in other words, a perfect book club book. This, however, wasn’t one of my book club selections, so I turned to readers who blog for in-depth reviews of the book and garnered some helpful insights. 

This was not a relaxing, feel-good book for me, but it was a thoughtful read that helps me, I think, be a little more compassionate and do a little less judging and labeling of the people around me.

My Rating:  4/5 Stars

Other Reviews:


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