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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  410,505 Ratings  ·  34,036 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. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf: Borzoi Books (first published 2012)
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Claire Goodbody Why would you doubt anyone's integrity simply because they change their name? People change their names all the time. I very much doubt their…moreWhy would you doubt anyone's integrity simply because they change their name? People change their names all the time. I very much doubt their integrity changes to match. I believe the author when she writes her story. Her hike was a remarkable feat of endurance and growth. (less)
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)

Community Reviews

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Sep 12, 2012 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
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
Apr 06, 2012 Cathy rated it it was ok
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
Amanda Hicks
Mar 29, 2012 Amanda Hicks rated it it was amazing
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
Libbie Hawker (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
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
Emily May
“The universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”

Wild is easily one of the best memoirs I've ever read. For two main reasons.

1) It is extremely well-written. This book doesn't have that feeling which non-fiction books often give me - a feeling that I'm stuck in the dreary real world and that I should have read some exciting fiction instead. It reads like a novel. A novel about grief, and youth, and adventure. It's full of me
Nov 02, 2011 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, a great read. It's Eat, Pray, Love without all the whining.
Nancy (NE)
Dec 19, 2012 Nancy (NE) rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir
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
Apr 15, 2012 Happyreader rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2012 su rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2012
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
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
A world that measured two feet wide and 2,663 miles long.
A world called the Pacific Crest Trail.

Palm Springs commercial photography

Cheryl's mother- who she was close with, comes down with cancer. She goes through losing her mom very fast. It seemed like one minute was the diagnosis and the next she was gone. She felt like a part of her soul was torn away.
The amount she loved us was beyond her reach. It could not be quantified or contained. It was the ten thousand named things in the Tao Te Ching's universe and then ten thousand
Jan 05, 2012 Lizzie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lizzie by: Gift from Meg!
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
1.5 stars - I didn't like it.

Clearly from the rating, this one did not provide an impressive or favorable reading experience for me. With a fairly high average rating, I am in the minority with that vote. At 315 pages, I feel this could have easily been condensed into 1-2 pages. The memoir basically could be summed up like this:

My mother died. I am mad at her for this. I hate her for this. I miss her. I love my mother. I have horrible coping skills, those skills primarily being heroin, alcohol,
Whitney Atkinson
Feb 03, 2017 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017, memoir
This was a very enjoyable read! I think memoirs are the best books to be listened to on audiobook because it feels (or rather, sounds) like a friend relating a story to you. Cheryl had a great voice and although she's a flawed human being and isn't afraid to write about the times she's messed up, she has a very unapologetic and feminist voice that I wasn't expecting. It didn't really hit me how strong a woman has to be to hike over 80 days completely alone and the challenges and prejudices she w ...more
I loved this memoir so much that I read it twice. When Cheryl Strayed was in her 20s, she decided to hike 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The wilderness walk was born out of grief — her mother had died suddenly of cancer, and Cheryl was feeling lost. She had been wildly taking drugs and having affairs, which broke up her marriage. She also felt regret over mean things she had said to her mother, and she was angry that her mom had died so young.

I was profoundly affected by Cheryl's story
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
Nov 29, 2013 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes 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
Jul 02, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cheryl is one crazy brave girl. Lots of negatives I've read here, yes she trekked inexperienced, but she did so well. I couldn't have done it! I would have been so frightened the entire time that's for sure. I was interested that toward the end of her journey, she realised that ending the trek scared her as much as when she was setting out - she learned so much and began to feel normal on the road, solo. I think a lot of Cheryl's feeling lost, thus steering out on this amazing adventure to seek ...more
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 m
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
Heartbreaking, uplifting, soul-cleansing. The absolute epitome of a memoir. I don't like to say this, because I don't like the hokey phrasing, but this book has changed me.

I'd never heard of Dear Sugar, or in fact Cheryl Strayed at all before I picked up this book. I doubt I would have even touched it if I hadn't spent the winter working a seasonal job at a big-chain book store that never ever seemed to have enough copies of this book. We'd be making displays or filling feature bays and on the
Nov 28, 2012 Willie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
The breaking of so great a thing
should make a greater crack.

Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra

4 1/2

Cheryl Strayed on the PCT, 1995

The words at the top are the author’s epigraph to the first part of her book.

Short review

This book, published in 2012, tells the story of three months of the author’s life, in the summer of 1995. Superficially the book is something like Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Both books tell of backpacking along one of the longest trails in the U.S., Bryson on the Appalach
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!),
Mandy Crider
Jul 20, 2015 Mandy Crider rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cheryl is the man! I could only imagine going on a journey as magnificent as hers. I felt like I was with her every step of the way as she recounted her trip in this novel. What an experience! I am excited to see the movie now and how Reece brings Cheryl to life. Such a great novel! Would recommend!
Emilia Marty
May 17, 2013 Emilia Marty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book, which I bought because I enjoy day hiking, have been to the High Sierra and desert environments, and love good writing about hiking and mountaineering, from Joe Simpson’s books to A Walk in the Woods. I have to say that I am mystified by the positive reviews, particularly in magazines such as Backpacker and Outside. In fact, based on my own experiences hiking, and the author’s often vague and contradictory depiction of her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, I believe her ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Pinder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Can, or should, memoirs be completely truthful? 9 54 Jun 19, 2017 02:25PM  
Play Book Tag: Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed 3 stars 5 18 May 19, 2017 01:08PM  
Mentor Texts: Mentor Text 1 3 May 05, 2017 09:01AM  
Wine & Book Club: * April Book Club - Wild by Cheryl Strayed 1 6 Mar 15, 2017 05:37AM  
Forsyth County Pu...: April 2017 - Wild 2 9 Mar 14, 2017 02:52PM  
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Cheryl Strayed is the author of four books: Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch, Brave Enough, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, Wild. She also co-hosts the hit podcast Dear Sugar Radio. You can find a listing of her events and answers to FAQ on her web site:
More about Cheryl Strayed...

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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?” 634 likes
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” 585 likes
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