Bryson's account of his journey on the Appalachian Trail is light on the hiking and heavy on the history. "Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" is a fitting title for a book that will introduce people to the AT and also to interesting bits of uncommon American history. This book is well-placed in the travel writing section of a bookstore rather than in the nature or hiking section. I found it to be both lightly entertaining and sometimes funny. Definitely a pleasant, light read. In terms of recommending it to a friend, I would be likely to shrug and say: "Sure, go for it. It's not bad."
Bryson's recounting of his visit to Centralia was arresting. The story of a long-evacuated American town still wreathed in the smoke of a decades-long underground coal fire was remarkable.
It was okay.
I rate this book overall as a 3. It's a bit like pop music. Catchy and entertaining, but not too deep. If you're looking for a light read on a lazy afternoon, Bryson's A Walk in the Woods would be a decent pick.
I enjoyed this book so much I couldn't wait for my drives to and from work every day to listen to it! Not only could I relate to Cheryl's life and struggles, but I was entranced by the fantastic story of her backcountry hike on the PCT. It was one of those books that as it got closer to the end I became sad knowing that the story was going to be over far too soon. I immediately picked up Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods in the hope that I could find something similar to Strayed's book. However, Bryson's recounting of his trip on the Appalachian Trail couldn't come even close to the emotional experience of Wild. Cheryl's story of her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the best books I've read in many years. I'm only sorry I never ran into her while I lived in Portland, OR :-)
I found Bernadette's narration to be first rate. Her voice kept me listening intently to every word she read, as though I were listening to Cheryl Strayed herself telling me her story.
I laughed out loud the instant Cheryl said that she hadn't tried packing her backpack before she got to the hotel in Sierra City. I knew immediately that her pack was going to be over-full and immensely heavy. It was a hilarious and incredulous moment that would speak to anyone familiar with carrying a full pack on a hike.However, the retelling of the last days of her mother's life was the most significant moment in the book for me. In many places I felt as if she were telling my own story as I sat next to my father's deathbed several years ago. There's an unflinching honesty that rises through the pages of this book. I highly recommend it.
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