Thursday, October 3, 2013


Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Genre: Memoir

Summary (from Goodreads):  A 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.

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: 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 faces 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.

Review: I don't often read memoirs, but the story of a single woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was too intriguing to pass up.  I wasn't sure I would like Cheryl, since she was a messed up, promiscuous heroin user, plus she was completely naive and unprepared to go backpacking on her own.  But her story drew me in, and I enjoyed reading about how she grew and changed during her adventure.  The writing was fluid and easy to read, and the descriptions of the vistas along the trail made me want to go hiking -- with a lot more preparation and care than Cheryl! 

Rating: 4 stars

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