Scott's Reviews > Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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May 06, 12

Read in May, 2012

The glibbest way to describe this riveting, moving memoir is to steal a line from somewhere, I can't remember where, and call it "Eat, Pray, Love for cool people". Now, I really liked Eat, Pray, Love, and I really liked Wild, so I don't know what that says about me BUT it is a fairly accurate description of Cheryl Strayed's book, which is basically the intensely personal story of one woman finding herself, and finding inner peace, after three horrendously difficult months hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail, from the Mojave Desert to the Washington/Oregon border, a journey which she had pretty much zero business embarking upon in the first place, seeing how she had never gone backpacking before in her life. What she had done, in the years leading up to her wilderness adventure, is 1. watch her beloved mother die young and suddenly of cancer; 2. destroy her "perfect" marriage with a series of self-destructive, meaningless affairs; and 3. get addicted to shooting heroin. On the trail, nothing goes right, until everything does. Her pack is insanely heavy, her feet are shredded right from the get-go, there's a record snow-pack to deal with, and record heat, as well as rattlers and bears, and she has not nearly enough money to feed herself. But (almost) everyone she meets along the way is more than willing to help her as soon as she asks, and her sense of accomplishment at the end is, well, you can imagine the tears as you read the final chapter (and in the closing scenes of the inevitable movie). Strayed is tough, smart, and funny. Wild is a great read.
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