Beverly Stuart, April 14, 2015 (view all comments by Beverly Stuart)
I admit I saw the movie first, and that led to me the book. And I'm so glad it did. I can relate to Wild on so many levels - as a backpacker who's made many similar mistakes, as a woman whose mother also died too soon, as someone who also made bad choices in their younger years. What I love is that the author never gives up. She's honest, she doesn't have a lot of experience at hiking but she keeps going, even after other more experience hikers quit the trail. I'm inspired and full of respect for the author and all hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail.
MeganC, March 20, 2015 (view all comments by MeganC)
This was a wonderful read about the author's journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, and a look into her past to help explain why she felt the need to take the hike. Often heartbreaking, but totally uplifting. It almost made me want to take a hike...almost. A great weekend read, especially for the summer!
Penni4, December 28, 2014 (view all comments by Penni4)
Read it before you watch the movie? Does it really matter? This book wasn't really good, this book wasn't really bad. This book was okay. As I said in a previous review; this is the book that made me realize I have to like a character in order to like a book. No offense Cheryl, but I don't think I would want to hang out and have a beer with your 20+ year old self anytime soon.
I agree 100% with another reviewer below. I wanted to read more about this awesome life changing hiking experience and less about sex, drugs, and (well there really wasn't any rock n roll). I admire Cheryl for continuing on this amazing journey. I would have given up for sure.
To sum it up the writing style is enjoyable and easy to read, the content, not so much. If you have a friend who says "hey you want to borrow this book?" borrow it. If you are browsing through Powell's for your next great read; check out the Staff Picks and move on.
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Autumnseer, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by Autumnseer)
When I first started reading this book I was a bit taken aback as it was not what I thought it would be. But quite soon I was engrossed, inspired, related in many personal ways to Cheryl and dreaded that the book, and the journey I'd taken with her, was soon coming to an end. I have recommended this book many times to people and will be first in line when the movie comes out Dec 2014.
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Amy BookGirl, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by Amy BookGirl)
I read this book in three nights. My eyes burned, I knew I was going to be tired the next day but still, I was compelled by Cheryl’s story to keep reading. This autobiographical story follows Cheryl as a young woman who loses herself after her mother’s untimely death from cancer. After spending over a month watching her mother waste away, she leaves her side to bring her brother to see her one last time and her mother dies in her absence. Cheryl is destroyed.
She tries to drown the pain in illicit affairs, and even heroin. After her divorce, the idea of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail starts to gnaw at her.
Her time on the trail alternates between giving her a break from her mental anguish and forcing her to confront the tribulations of her life. The rigors of the trail causes her outward suffering just as she had suffered inwardly for years. It becomes a pilgrimage. And although she ends up basically destitute, homeless and alone--you see her not as poor, but as unburdened.
I do not like much of what Cheryl does during this story, but I admire who she becomes and the unflinching way in which she tells her story.
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I know this title is everywhere right now. I was very fortunate to get an advanced copy, and I immediately fell in love. Why? Well, like many, my favorite books are those that seem to have been written just for me. I deeply understood the raw ache of grief, anger, and loneliness. I wanted to run away to fill that black maw with anything other than what I was feeling. Cheryl did too. I didn't take it as far as hiking the Pacific Crest Trail solo, but I laughed out loud at many parts, seeing myself on her journey. Bittersweet, fulfilling, and healing.
by Morgan R.
by Peter N.,
This is the amusing, thoughtful, downright zany story of a young woman's eye-opening 1,000-plus-mile trek up the Pacific Crest Trail, all the way to the Bridge of the Gods. It inspired me to undertake my own hike — 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail. It was exhausting!
by Peter N.
by Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly,
"A rich, riveting true story....During her grueling three-month journey, Strayed circled around black bears and rattlesnakes, fought extreme dehydration by drinking oily gray pond water, and hiked in boots made entirely of duct tape. Reading her matter-of-fact take on love and grief and the soul-saving quality of a Snapple lemonade, you can understand why Strayed has earned a cult following as the author of Dear Sugar, a popular advice column on therumpus.net....With its vivid descriptions of beautiful but unforgiving terrain, Wild is a cinematic story, but Strayed’s book isn’t really about big, cathartic moments. The author never ‘finds herself’ or gets healed. When she reaches the trail’s end, she buys a cheap ice cream cone and continues down the road....It’s hard to imagine anything more important than taking one step at a time. That’s endurance, and that’s what Strayed understands, almost 20 years later. As she writes, ‘There was only one [option], I knew. To keep walking.’ Our verdict: A."
by Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor,
"Strayed’s journey was as transcendent as it was turbulent. She faced down hunger, thirst, injury, fatigue, boredom, loss, bad weather, and wild animals. Yet she also reached new levels of joy, accomplishment, courage, peace, and found extraordinary companionship."
by Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer,
"Strayed writes a crisp scene; her sentences hum with energy. She can describe a trail-parched yearning for Snapple like no writer I know. She moves us briskly along the route, making discrete rest stops to parcel out her backstory. It becomes impossible not to root for her."
by Dwight Garner, The New York Times,
"The cumulative welling up I experienced during Wild was partly a response to that too infrequent sight: that of a writer finding her voice, and sustaining it, right in front of your eyes."
by Michael Schaub, NPR Books,
“One of the most original, heartbreaking and beautiful American memoirs in years....The unlikely journey is awe-inspiring, but it's one of the least remarkable things about the book. Strayed, who was recently revealed as the anonymous author of the ‘Dear Sugar’ advice column of the literary website The Rumpus, writes with stunningly authentic emotional resonance — Wild is brutal and touching in equal measures, but there's nothing forced about it. She chronicles sorrow and loss with unflinching honesty, but without artifice or self-pity. There are no easy answers in life, she seems to be telling the reader. Maybe there are no answers at all. It's fitting, perhaps, that the writer chose to end her long pilgrimage at the Bridge of the Gods, a majestic structure that stretches a third of a mile across the Columbia, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. We think of bridges as separating destinations, just as we think of long journeys as the price we have to pay to get from one place to another. Sometimes, though, the journey is the destination, and the bridge connects more than just dots on a map — it joins reality with the dream world, the living with the dead, the tame with the wild.”
by Bruce Machart, Houston Chronicle,
"Brilliant...pointedly honest....Part adventure narrative, part deeply personal reflection, Wild chronicles an adventure born of heartbreak....While it is certain that the obvious dangers of the trail are real — the cliffs are high, the path narrow, the ice slick, and the animal life wild — the book's greatest achievement lies in its exploration of the author's emotional landscape. With flashbacks as organic and natural as memory itself, Strayed mines the bedrock of her past to reveal what rests beneath her compulsion to hike alone across more than one thousand primitive miles: her biological father's abuse and abandonment, her mother's diagnosis and death, and her family's unraveling. Strayed emerges from her grief-stricken journey as a practitioner of a rare and vital vocation. She has become an intrepid cartographer of the human heart."
by Catherine Straut, Elle,
"Strayed's journey is the focal point of Wild, in which she interweaves suspenseful accounts of her most harrowing crises with imagistic moments of reflection. Her profound grief over her mother's death, her emotional abandonment by her siblings and stepfather, and her personal shortcomings and misadventures are all conveyed with a consistently grounded, quietly pained self-awareness. On the trail, she fends of everything from loneliness to black bears; we groan when her boots go tumbling off a cliff and we rejoice as she transforms from a terrified amateur hiker into the 'Queen of the PCT.' In a style that embodies her wanderlust, Strayed transports us with this gripping, ultimately uplifting tale."
by Marion Winik, Newsday,
"What should you do when you have truly lost your way? A. Go to rehab. B. Find God. C. Give up. D. Strap on an 80-pound backpack and hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail by yourself. Few of us who would even come up with D, much less do it. Yet that is exactly what Strayed did at age 26, though she had no serious experience backpacking or hiking. Within days of beginning her trek — already bruised, bloodied and broke — it occurred to her that this whimsical choice was the hardest thing she'd ever done....What she does have is brute persistence, sheer will and moxie, and her belief that there is only one option: 'To keep walking.'...In her journey from the most hapless hiker on Earth to the Queen of the PCT, Strayed offers not just practical and spiritual wisdom, but a blast of sheer, ferocious moral inspiration."
by Karen McCoy, Library Journal,
"Strayed recounts her experience hiking the PCT after her mother's death and her own subsequent divorce....She takes readers with her on the trail, and the transformation she experiences on its course is significant: she goes from feeling out of her element with a too-big backpack and too-small boots to finding a sense of home in the wilderness and with the allies she meets along the way. Readers will appreciate her vivid descriptions of the natural wonders."
A Best Nonfiction Book of 2012: The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly
A Best Book of the Year: NPR, St. Louis Dispatch, Vogue
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. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
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