Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Nonfiction/Hiking
File size: 2199 KB
ISBN-10: 1594136742
ISBN-13: 978-1594136740
Print length: 605 pages

When Cheryl Strayed was 22 years old her mother died. For four years Cheryl tried to come to terms with this death; neither infidelity, divorce to the man she loved, nor use of heroin filled the void. Four years later, after seeing a book on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl embarked on a solo 1,100-mile hike of the PCT. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail  is the narrative about this women’s journey. Though the book is set on the PCT, the real challenge and focus of the book is Cheryl’s healing.

Cheryl is brutally honest about the physical challenges of the PCT as well as the internal pain and healing she undergoes. She reveals the aches and anguish, the fear and joys of facing that fear, her aloneness and camaraderie among fellow hikers, the perils both from nature, animals, and other humans.

If you are looking for a travel book about the PCT, this may not be the book for you. Cheryl’s hiking inexperience is evident in the many ways she imperils herself, the extraordinary weight she backpacks, and the lack of planning. In spite of these avoidable hardships, Cheryl’s determination to complete this journey is inspiring.

If you enjoy reading about personal challenges and growth, this book is one you should not miss. I really liked how genuine Cheryl is in describing her past life and how she relates to the people in it. Life is never simple and Cheryl writes candidly about the complexity and ambiguity in the interaction between family members, especially the love-hate relationship with her mother.

This is a brilliantly-written, well-edited book. Cheryl is a great wordsmith and riddles the book with turns of phases that I just loved, such as: “The trees were tall, but I was taller;” “My hunger was a numb finger, barely prodding;” “She was not so much high as down under;” and “Nothing did. Nothing would. Nothing could every bring my mother back to me or make it okay that she was gone.”

The story moves quickly; I continued to turn pages late into the night, captivated. I highly recommend this book.