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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  164,154 ratings  ·  20,586 reviews
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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 al ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Knopf (first published 2012)
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  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
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    The bestselling memoir - now a major movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Out in the UK 16th December.

    Read it before you see it.

    At twenty-six, Cheryl Str…more
    Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 21, 2014
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    Countries available: GB
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    Marifer Reyes I think is perfect for a book club. I like half of it and I totally hate the other part. How? Let me explain. I love all the description of the trail…moreI think is perfect for a book club. I like half of it and I totally hate the other part. How? Let me explain. I love all the description of the trail and to know more about hiking the PCC. But i dont like the main character and all the bad decisions she kept making during the trail. (less)
    Whereslora I have read the book since writing the earlier comment and I was very impressed. If she chooses to use different names, that seems irrelevant. Her…moreI have read the book since writing the earlier comment and I was very impressed. If she chooses to use different names, that seems irrelevant. Her book is well written and I'm sure authentic. I'm a hiker and a backpacker. She really had some life changing experiences, and the hike healed her. Very good read. I'm sure the movie will be equally good.(less)
    The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothGone Girl by Gillian FlynnCity of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClarePandemonium by Lauren Oliver
    Best Books of 2012
    42nd out of 3,012 books — 9,281 voters
    A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerInto Thin Air by Jon KrakauerIn a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
    Favourite Travel Books
    10th out of 1,130 books — 2,201 voters


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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    Cathy
    A self-absorbed, ill-prepared woman, 26 years old, leaves her husband (a decent guy) for no good reason, mucks her life up even further with drugs and reckless sex, then engages in some vacuous navel-gazing on the Pacific Crest Trail. As a woman hiking alone she gets all kinds of special treatment and help from fellow hikers. She loses a few pounds, gets some muscles and some sun-bleached hair and calls her work done.
    Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
    3.5 stars

    What kind of dimwit would decide to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail alone with zero backpacking experience? Apparently the same kind of dimwit who would try heroin just because the stranger she spent the night with happens to need a fix.

    If you can tolerate essence of dingbat and overlook her lousy choices and even lousier excuses for those choices, this is actually an enjoyable read. You have to roll your eyes a lot while working to the point where she hits the trail, but after that it
    ...more
    Jackie
    I finished this book a couple of days ago, and have not been able to get it out of my mind. I was happily coming to Goodreads to give my glowing review, but was pretty annoyed at a few of the recent reviews, so I wanted to address that first. The bravery and honesty that flowed from those pages touched me deep into my soul, and to see her described as dimwitted and self absorbed is insulting to the author and to those of us who were moved by her story. If you want to read about a well planned tr ...more
    Amanda Hicks
    I have read a great many criticisms of this book by people who either expected it to be solely about the PCT itself, or were offended by the author's use of coarse language and discussion of her sexual proclivities. And that's fine; all of those readers were obviously seeking something other than what this book had to provide. Myself, I enjoyed it from cover to cover. A longtime lover of the PCT, I already know about the trail from end to end. I was more interested in how the author used a rathe ...more
    Nikiverse
    I know what Cheryl felt like on the Pacific Crest Trail because I felt like that reading her book. Neverending. Arduous. But without that whole enlightenment part.

    [Warning: Spoilers] Wahhh, I did heroin and cheated on my husband and my life's a mess. Wahhh I'm too tired to even masturbate. Wah! I slept without protection and got an abortion! I lost my toenailz. I have godzilla skin on my hips because my backpack weighs so much! Had sex anywayz. B.T.DUBS I like sex!?!
    Seriously: she had this pro
    ...more
    Stuart
    I'm of the wrong culture for this book. Its origins are liberal, white, lapsed-Christian American, coming of age in the 1980s. I shouldn't have picked this book up, but a lot of people I respect liked it a great deal. I'm older than the demographic for Wild, I think. I'm not Christian, lapsed or otherwise. I'm not liberal. I'm a very ethnic guy whose parents lived through hell in WWII. I'm not suited to memoirs about dysfunctional families, sex obsessions, and drugs. Plus, I truly hate one sente ...more
    Meg
    Nov 06, 2011 Meg rated it 5 of 5 stars
    Shelves: memoir
    A few years ago I had occasion to re-read HATCHET, by Gary Paulsen. I did not do this on my own, but with a fourth-grade boy who was wholly entranced by it. I had never been a big HATCHET fan myself (I preferred the Little House books, if you wanted to get right down to it), but reading it with this kid gave me a new appreciation for what the book allowed us both to do: live in the terrifying wilderness, live in the terrifying aloneness, live in the brave and cold and the that which seems both i ...more
    Rachel
    So far, a great read. It's Eat, Pray, Love without all the whining.
    L.M. Ironside
    EDIT 4/4/2014: I changed this from two stars to one, because I realized that it's been about two years since I read this book and I still get ragey and fist-shakey just thinking about how much it sucked. So, bonus star deducted. This book sucks on wheels. Read on for more...

    Okay. I gave myself plenty of time to cool off before writing this review, because man, was I ever pissed at this book by the time I finished reading it. And I really wanted to love it! I'm a backpacker, and I've often fantas
    ...more
    Happyreader
    So much baggage. As a backpacker myself, I cringed to read about hoisting a backpack so heavy that she could only strap it on while sitting on the ground. How she managed to balance that pack and not let it accidentally fling her off the Sierras, even after Albert put that bag on a diet, is beyond me. And those tight boots that ate her toenails and mangled her feet into a fine pulp!! If nothing else, those boots end up being a fine advertisement for REI’s amazing customer service. While I’m happ ...more
    su
    This author is the columnist who writes Dear Sugar? Sugar is wise and funny and real.

    I found this book to be incredibly self indulgent. The first 100 pages was the author whinging about how her mother died when she was 22, and how she would never recover, never stop crying, never stop lashing out at the people around her. Instead of focusing on how lucky she was to have ever had a mother who poured an infinite amount of unconditional love into her, she instead imploded, lost in her own self ind
    ...more
    Michelle
    Despite this book’s stellar reviews and much hype it did not seem like one I’d enjoy. A memoir written by a woman who loses her mother and then promptly takes up heroin and cheating on her sweet husband (who she loves very much). She then decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail despite zero hiking/wilderness experience. I figured nothing to relate to here: the loss of a parent, the drugs, the cheating, and any and all hiking/camping/roughing it…these are all completely foreign to me and also thi ...more
    Nancy (NE)
    In some reviews, Strayed has been criticized for a number of things. Unpreparedness for the Pacific Crest Trail, risky decisions and miscalculations, as well as reckless living - poor choices in coping with a broken life. Her real father was unstable, abusive and essentially absent. Her mother was quirky. She couldn't provide the basic material comforts of the middle class. On the other hand, her unconventional behaviors are exactly what gave Cheryl her independent, survivor spirit. Her mother d ...more
    Lizzie
    Ok ok good. Everyone's new favorite book: yes, I loved it too.

    DO YOU WANT TO HEAR SOMETHING STUPID? During the first half, I wasn't sure how much I liked it. Because I am crazy. Because it is good! It is all good. But it was different, at first, than I expected. I was joking before, that for fans of Sugar (an inevitable readership for this book), there almost needs to be two ratings: one for book-ness, and one for Sugar-ness. By nature, the essays in "Dear Sugar" are written in a way that requir
    ...more
    sarah gilbert
    I have thought these things: I am done with books proclaiming to tell the story of healing when the wounds are so obviously still raw. I am done with struggles-that-are-not-really-struggles, the so-called "first world problems" that make one's eyes roll and ones jaw clench. How did she get so much buzz for this terribly whiny book? I'll ask myself, barely able to get through the first third without hucking it across the room. I thank other reviewers for making the contrast between Eat, Pray, Lov ...more
    Trudi
    Finally finished listening to this as an audio. Meh. I have my problems with it. I may or may not review it, we'll see.

    ***

    Alright, I've given it some thought and feel that I should try to capture some of what this book made me feel (and didn't feel as it were). This memoir is essentially two stories that sometimes intersect with each other but more often than not run parallel. One story is Cheryl's 90+ day 1100 mile solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail when she was 26 years old. The other story
    ...more
    Regina
    Check out this review and others like it at BadAssBookReviews

    Wild is getting quite a bit of national buzz, my local friends have been pushing me to read it and as a result, I resisted starting this book. Reading Wild was a combination of a fuzzy walk down a specific memory lane of my early to mid-twenties and a current wish fulfillment fantasy. Author Cheryl Strayed is a few years older than me, her memoir is focused on her childhood, her teen years, her college aged time period and then her mi
    ...more
    Kevin
    Oh, man. This book has it all. Tragedy, drugs, lust, infidelity, nature, humor, adventure, the human freakin' condition! I loved so many things about this beauty/beast of a book, even though it made me cry at least four times! Damn you, Cheryl Strayed! Can't you see I'm on the bus?!
    This book has so many good elements--the slapstick of the Monster backpack, the sweet random friends met on the trail, the heart-crushing divorce, the battered boots and feet, the books read (and burned for warmth!),
    ...more
    Pinder
    Apr 14, 2012 Pinder rated it 5 of 5 stars
    Recommended to Pinder by: Kevin Fanning
    People think that if you leave town, all your problems will be fixed. I've had that talk with friends, trying to convince them to stay, because there's not going to be a single epiphany in some foreign city that fixes you. It's going to be hard work and dedication, working on your life, or job, or hobby, just something, that gets you on the right path. Cheryl Strayed escapes her life, and literally walks that path.

    That first chapter is crushingly eloquent. I've lost a parent, and she so perfectl
    ...more
    Carmen
    Sep 12, 2014 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
    Recommends it for: Anyone who likes non-fiction
    Recommended to Carmen by: Library
    Shelves: non-fiction
    Cheryl is dealing with her mother's death badly. In her grief she has a.) not done the final work necessary to get her degree, b.) cheated on her sweet husband with multiple men, c.) as a result of (b) has gotten a divorce, d.) has a kind-of boyfriend named Joe who introduces her to heroin.

    After all this, Cheryl feels like she needs to get her head right. So she decides to hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), which is more than a thousand miles long.

    She is not a backpacker or an experienced hiker
    ...more
    Anna
    Mar 27, 2012 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
    Shelves: arc
    I got an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher:) I was so excited to get to read something that is not even out yet that I dove right in. And I can't put it down. I love it! It is a memoir told in the same style as The Glass Castle (one of my favorites). But, the strangest thing about this book is I still want to read it even though I really do not like this woman who is telling this story. I usually have to at least like the characters in the books I read. If I don't I usually c ...more
    Madeline
    "I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it. That I could bear the unbearable. These realizations about my physical, material life couldn't help but spill over into the emotional and spiritual realm. That my complicated life could be made so simple was astounding. It had begun to occur to me that perhaps it was okay for that I hadn't spent my days on the trail pondering the sorrows of my life, that perhaps by being f ...more
    Willie
    Strayed's ego manages to outsize even the magnificent Pacific Crest Trail. She's a self-absorbed asshole who manages to use her mom's death as an excuse to spread her selfishness over everyone she knows. She survives her partial hike of the PCT only due to the amazing generosity of fellow hikers who are actually competent.

    Are you wondering if she's pretty? Oh my, yes! Never mind that on the back flap she looks like someone's daffy aunt. Strayed never tires of relating the unending river of compl
    ...more
    Eva
    More like 3.5 stars. A good read and I went through it quickly. As someone who also floundered through my 20's without the benefit of parents, I totally identified with the at the time 26 year old author's voice. I also went through some fairly morally ambiguous, epic, and foolish adventures at that age, although none quite so physically grueling as the PCT sounds, thankfully. My identification with the author made it difficult for me to read the book with any objectivity. I simultaneously felt ...more
    Chuck
    The Problem: Strayed's mother dies of cancer at age 46. Strayed goes into a tailspin, turns away from a loving and supportive husband in favor of one-night stands, and shoots up some heroin to boot.

    The Solution: Strayed gets divorced and takes an extended solo back-packing trip on the Pacific Crest Trail. Lack of fitness, knowledge, money, and experience are not deal-breakers.

    The Outcome: Strayed finds inner peace, eventually marrying again, having kids, and becoming a successful writer.

    The Asse
    ...more
    Sallee
    I'm in process, about 1/2 way thru, and loving it. I enjoy any book that is at least semi-autobiographical, about a woman finding she can handle adversity, usually in nature, and that she learns how strong and competent she is, and that she can survive on her own on her own terms. That's so much what this book is about. The other wonderful thing about this book is that I can read it while pedaling an exercise bike. Tonight? I rode for an hour, and virtually didn't realize it until I was at 51 mi ...more
    Cindy Knoke
    It is noteable that this author chose the name "Strayed" for herself, because stray she certainly does in her life choices, emotions, and finally solo on to the Pacific Coast Trail to hike it, by herself.
    Initially the book annoyed me and I even decided to stop reading it. Did I really want to read another memoir about a sex addicted, heroin injected, husband dumping, mother obsessed woman, who made up her name and maybe her memoir?
    Well, yes.
    It was her decision to deal with these, uh, problems
    ...more
    Elizabeth
    After losing her mother to lung cancer, Cheryl Strayed is flailing. FLAILING. She describes having a "mother-size" hole in her heart. Reeling with grief she decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. Alone. Her backpack (Monster) is so heavy that she just barely manages it. Her shoes are too small, her hips are rubbed raw from the pack, and she wakes up one morning covered in frogs. And yet. This book is not just about her adventures. It is also part meditation on the nature of grief. As Cheryl hi ...more
    Steve
    Here is a quote: "...a prayer marched through my head, though prayer is not the right word to describe that march. I wasn't humble before God. I didn't even believe in God. My prayer was not: Please, God, take mercy on us." (p. 10).

    When I read the above quote, I began to like Strayed and her book. You'd think that when you pray to an all powerful, all knowing god, that you'd ask them to change things since they were all powerful; God the powerful. It's Dharma to try and accept things as they rea
    ...more
    Christine
    I couldn’t describe it better than the book description, so … “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 Paci
    ...more
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    Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild, will be published by Knopf in March 2012. It will also be published in Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Her novel, Torch (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award and was selected by The Oregonian as one of the top ten books of the year by writers from the Pacific Northwest. Strayed’s writing has appeared i ...more
    More about Cheryl Strayed...
    Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Torch Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York The Best American Essays 2013 Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir

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    “What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I'd done something I shouldn't have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I'd done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn't do anything differently than I had done? What if I'd actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn't have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?” 145 likes
    “The universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” 136 likes
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