Wild is a powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe - and built her back up again.
At 22, 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 faced 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.
©2012 Cheryl Strayed (P)2012 Random House
“No one can write like Cheryl Strayed. Wild is one of the most unflinching and emotionally honest books I've read in a long time. It is about forgiveness and grief, bravery and hope. It is unforgettable.” (Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle)
“While reading Cheryl Strayed’s stunning book about her arduous solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, I kept asking myself - what would I do if I were stripped bare of everything - money, job, community, even family and love? Thoreau once said, ‘In wildness is the preservation of the world.’ For Strayed, it is clear that in wildness was the preservation of her soul. She reminds us, in her lyrical and courageous memoir Wild, of what it means to be fully alive, even in the face of catastrophe, physical and psychic hardship, and loss." (Mira Bartók, author of The Memory Palace)
“Cheryl Strayed can sure tell a story. In Wild, she describes her journey from despair to transcendence with honesty, humor, and heart-cracking poignancy. This is a great book.” (Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and Seeking Peace)
Who would dare take an oversized, overpacked, over-weighted backpack alone up and down great elevations and along an isolated but exceptionally beautiful trail along the Sierra Nevadas and Cascade mountain ranges during a time when "we all knew better?" This was the 90's, when the news was filled with the movements of OJ Simpson. Most women had begun looking over their shoulders in elevators, let alone jog alone on a park trail. But Cheryl Strayed pushed against this caution and refused to let it imprison her. (As it certainly did me!) A little voice in her, nurtured by her pioneering upbringing, gave her the gumption, permission and stouthearted ease to do the unthinkable. (If only that voice had visited me at that time!) She overcame her fears of being overtaken by both beast (bears and mountain lions) and the worst of humanity. Clearly she was protected. It was plain her mother played an integral part in guiding her to this journey and through this journey.
Cheryl ejected herself from a life and marriage of great promise triggered by the grief over the loss of her own exceptional mother. I shuddered at this premise because of the disappointment I had with another recent story, turned much hyped movie, Eat, Pray, Love, that followed this path. However, I hung in there with this one. Cheryl's biography was much grittier and her own choices "showed not told" of real life self-destructive choices that seemed less "canned" that I could sink my teeth into. Not that everyone needs to follow a path of self-destruction with loss... but let's face it, we can do some pretty stupid things. What redeemed this story for me were the moments of honestly illustrating both the physical and emotional pain she endured while undergoing her metamorphosis. A great example of this were the many times her expenses left her with only pennies in her pocket. But having grown up on a wilderness property without running water and a mother who taught her to value life and nature and not money or possessions, she realized she eventually received exactly what she needed. Lessons of appreciation accompanied her when she had to go without. Her triumph was impressive.
This story inspires me now to think, "If she could do it, couldn't I?", which considering I'm only 2 years younger is delightful. Yes, I've even found myself searching different backpacking supplies! But with a back fused 4 levels, if I am unable, I am very grateful to Cheryl for allowing me to be packed in her own backpack during her trip.
I would have given the story one more star but I didn't because there were times I felt different scenes or people could have been fleshed out even more. It seems that many more modern writers are not pushing themselves harder into the "show, don't tell" realm. I understand that many characters and places were fleeting in this journey and I understand that. But days that Cheryl spent with these other characters could have been shared a little more intimately with dialogue. The trail and it's vista's anatomy and history could have been enlightening filler for several passages. Ie: What were some interesting PCT Guide facts that Cheryl learned but didn't share with us? What were the more efficient techniques of packing would she do next time?
The narrator, Bernadette Dunne, did a professional job reading this biography. While she has an "older" voice, she read with authority as someone else said, like she was the older Cheryl reflecting back on her life. Bernadette was able to use different cadence and tone for different characters which, for me, makes listening to a book so enjoyable.
With a good Audible book, I can't wait to prepare meals, do laundry and weed the garden so that I can be transported to exceptional places and inner landscapes by courageous stories and their storytellers. Wild definitely accomplished that for me.
Everything! She technically did not trek the PCT, the total lack of character on her part.
Just more insight into nature itself and descriptions of the beauty around her.
Did not Stray.
Cheryl's account of upbringing and life summarize my generations chaos, due to throwing off all of societies restraints!
I love REI response to her need for boots, I will shop there more frequently!
Not if she whines, complains and lacks the positive thinking she did in Wild.
Throwing her other boot over the cliff
The main character
I wish she had a better attitude.
HAVING EXPERIENCED PARTS OF THE PCT MYSELF, I FOUND THE STORY MESMERIZING.
HOW, IN SPITE OF ADVERSITY AND BEING, IN MY ESTIMATION, MINIMALLY PREPARED, THE AUTHOR OVERCAME ADVERSITY AND TRIUMPHED.
NO, I ENJOYED COMING BACK TO IT, PICKING UP WHERE I'D LEFT OFF, SOMEWHAT AKIN TO THE AUTHOR'S LEAVING AND COMING BACK TO THE PCT.
The evolution of this really sad, lost, floundering, promiscuous young woman into the confident, "found", mature almost-adult was a privilege to follow.
Cheryl's tenacity and commitment kept her motivated through 1100 miles of terrain, six lost toenails, blisters, bruises, cuts, scrapes and encounters with snakes, bears and scary men. Her evolving sense of self kept her sane, centered and focused and her mantra 'I am not scared' is one that will never leave her.
This is my first performance by Bernadette Dunne but she was terrific! I laughed out loud, I talked back to her, found myself nodding along with her...I believed I was hearing Cheryl's voice.
I would have but it was just as enjoyable in fits and starts as I listened primarily in the car.
Several of my friends told me they were disappointed in the book, as if it had been over-hyped, but I think if they'd listened to it instead of reading it, they wouldn't feel that way at all. I loved it!
Engaging, Powerful, Adventurous.
Wild made me thing about Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods about his time on the Apalachian Trail.
Dunne's performance is very engaging, easy to listen to and draws you into the story.
Great book! Engaging performance. Well worth a listen!
Not a mainstream reader.
I'm probably the only listener that couldn't get into the story at all. I don't understand all of the hype behind this author and this title. I should had known better from reading anything from Oprah's book club. I just can't get into the story. There is not enough useful information about hiking and about Pacific Crest Trail.
It's about some girl, mother dies from cancer, cheats on her husband, meth addict and decides to take a long walk. She also loves to drink Snapple and always is broke.
The narration is pretty bad also. The main character supposed to be in her mid 20's, but the reader has too much of a raspy voice, where you felt like you are listening to late Jessica Tandy, performing a monologue..
You are better off investing your time with "A Walk n the Woods" by Bill Bryson. Unfortunately, Audible doesn't have the unabridged version that is narrated by William Roberts. That is the version that you want to get and not the abridged version that is read by the author. It's a far better story than "Wild" because there is useful information about the Appalachian Trail and laugh out loud humor.
Leave out 4 letter words. Shorten the story by referencing briefly, story after story of physical injuries caused by her poor judgement. This a graphic example of hurt inflicted by parents onto a girl, being passed on to the adult woman by herself.
Strayed from her true self as a result of it being beaten by her father then a husband. I didn't finished the book so I don't know if she ever got this insight.
No I would not try another book written by Cheryl Strayed, I feel that the book Wild depicted a very selfish and self centered young lady that is lucky she survived the PCT!!!!
I keep waiting for this book to get better but over halfway through and I'm giving up. I have never stopped reading a book so this will be the first. Waste of my time and money. Not happy.
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