The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s 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.
nprmariposa, February 10, 2013 (view all comments by nprmariposa)
A note of caution: this book is poorly written and an embarrassment to female hikers. She focuses on her heroin use and sex with strangers so repetitively in the beginning, you start to wonder what this book is about. If you think this is good read, you seriously need to pick up a few more books.
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Eastonworks, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by Eastonworks)
This book resonated with me on so many levels. Cheryl Strayed's style is so frank, honest, and bare bones. She uses language vividly and left me wanting more. I've hiked portions of the PTC in Oregon before, and have been to some of the places in her memoir. This made it even more real to me. One of the best outcomes of reading her incredibly engaging book is that it made me realize I can--and will--overcome difficulties in my life. But more than anything, I just flat out enjoyed reading this book!
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.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In the summer of 1995, at age 26 and feeling at the end of her rope emotionally, Strayed resolved to hike solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian and traversing nine mountain ranges and three states. In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, she delineates the travails and triumphs of those three grueling months. Living in Minneapolis, on the verge of divorcing her husband, Strayed was still reeling from the sudden death four years before of her mother from cancer; the ensuing years formed an erratic, confused time 'like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler.' Hiking the trail helped decide what direction her life would take, even though she had never seriously hiked or carried a pack before. Starting from Mojave, Calif., hauling a pack she called the Monster because it was so huge and heavy, she had to perform a dead lift to stand, and then could barely make a mile an hour. Eventually she began to experience 'a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun,' meeting the few other hikers along the way, all male; jettisoning some of the weight from her pack and burning books she had read; and encountering all manner of creature and acts of nature from rock slides to snow. Her account forms a charming, intrepid trial by fire, as she emerges from the ordeal bruised but not beaten, changed, a lone survivor. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Giant's House,
by Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters,
"Cheryl Strayed is one of the most exciting writers I've come across in a long time."
by Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain,
"Stunning...An incredible journey, both inward and outward."
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."
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