So she's messed up. And for some irrational reason, she decides to take on an extremely difficult challenge, in a field she's had NO experience in.
Strayed's life is a mess and she decides to straighten herself out by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I'd never heard of this trail, but have always had an interest in the Appalachian Trail, so I figured, "Why not?"
I'm so glad I picked up this book. Strayed's story of triumphs and mishaps, priceless friendships and financial hardship, is just awe-inspiring. The narrator is excellent, too.
I'm not going to bore everyone with a synopsis of this book. You can read the other reviews to find that out. Instead, I'm going to give my reactions to it.
Ms. Strayed is an extremely lucky woman for being to do the backpacking trip she did while being so woefully unprepared. Yes, she did not do the entire PCT, but I fail to see why other people give this book a "bad" review on that account. She did plenty - far more than I and many other listeners have ever done. And just about every part of the trail she did is very, very tough. (I read another book about a woman hiking the PCT from end to end - it is so tough that almost no one is able to do it in an entire season; she had to stop and resume finishing it a couple of years later with her husband.) What I really took away from the book was Ms. Strayed's real need to fully resolve her grief over her mother's death and her subsequent downward personal spiral. True, she didn't come off as a very likeable person, but at least she was not a hypocrite and made no excuses for herself. But on the trail, she must have been likeable enough because she seemed to get a great deal of help whenever she needed it.
I really enjoyed Bernadette Dunne's narration. I felt as if the author herself was speaking to me, and me alone. I would definitely listen to anything else Ms. Dunne narrated.
What bothered me about the book were the various loose ends. Ms. Strayed hiked the trail in 1995, a good 17 years ago. What happened in that intervening 10+ years to cause her to write the book and have it published now? I was hoping that the book would end with some sort of Epilogue that would answer that question for me. Also, I gave the book 4 stars because I was hoping to hear a little more about the trail. Hearing about Ms. Strayed's demons and how she was slaying them (or at any rate, starving them to death) was fine, but I would have liked a better sense of the trail itself.
I felt the book was a fine length for what it was. A few hours more, and I really wouldn't have liked it nearly as well.
No. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, The Marriage Plot and A Walk In the Woods, for example.
The writing is likely the larger issue than the performance, though the performance didn't make it any more tolerable.
Honestly, I will not finish the book. It's not a good sign when you can zone out for five or ten minute chunks and still follow the 'plot' quite easily. After listening to her whine, stray and pack/unpack over and over, I gave up. The quality of writing is quite pedestrian.
Truly a waste of time and money.
Neither my college-aged daughter nor I could endure it.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I was prepared not to like this book, so I was pleasantly surprised when I thoroughly enjoyed it. Whereas I thought it would be a boring diary of a backpacking trip, instead Cheryl Strayed skillfully wove interesting and meaningful events from her earlier life into the trip and, in the process, I came to really understand the reasons for her trip into the wild and also ended up being really uplifted by her triumphs over adversity - large and small. She seemed like a very real and humble person who struggled with lots of demons and ended up overcoming them through this arduous trip. I felt like, " If she can do it, so can I!" That feeling is something I'm still holding onto, even now several weeks after reading it. I can see why Oprah picked it :) I guess it's a little like Eat, Pray, Love for backpackers, but I really felt more uplifted by Cheryl Strayed's search for meaning than I did by Gilbert's. That's saying a lot, since I did like Eat, Pray, Love.
It is surprising to me that she waited so long to actually write the book. She took the trip when she was 26 and now is in her 40's, I think. I'd like to hear about her process in getting to write the book. I also wonder how she remembered things from her trip. In the book, I don't think she talked about writing a diary along the way, and she recounted lots of details - mainly about the interesting people she met along the way. So she either has a really good memory or she was taking notes all the way. She did mention how she's always been a writer, so it would make sense if she were taking notes. I'm just glad she did have the opportunity to finally make it big with this story, long after her trip into the Wild.
I thought this book was going to be a day to day account of walking the PCT. It ended up being an excercise through the author's life, history and issues all the while describing her experience hiking the trail. There is a l lot of woman power in this book which I enjoyed also.
Amazing, courageous, moving
I listened to this book as I walked my own daily walks for exercise. Most of the time, I walked further than I had planned because I could not stop listening to the story. Win, win!
Probably not. This book, to me, was much less about the PCT and much more about the author's personal angst. I have enough of my own, thank you, I don't need yours.
Not sure. This was a wasted credit. I will choose better next time.
That's the problem, there wasn't much "scene", just her personal blather.
It inspired me to stop listening at about the time she had to detour from the snow fields.
Although her adventure was interesting and she should be admired for her perserverance, I found the author extremely self indulgent and self absorbed.
Brave, exciting, inspirational.
Of course it made me think of EAT, PRAY, LOVE and realize why that book rubbed me the wrong way. The author of WILD is so much more real.
I can't remember thinking about the performance, and isn't that the way it should be?
Truly a book about a strong woman.
Great book; brave woman; a little self absorbed, but she knows that, I think. Overall though -- incredibly inspiring.