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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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's review
Aug 06, 2012

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Read in August, 2012

I would like to start with this book was so hyped up that I was expecting literary diamonds. I never read the book blurb to see what it was about. If I had, I probably would have rated it higher, because it is exactly what it purports to be. I will say it is one of the best written books that I have read in a long time. Cheryl is on a backpacking trip (for the most part alone) so any conversation is with herself. Yet, as an author, she manages to ride the fence between describing the glory of her surroundings (and sometimes the misery) and not over describing it! Sometimes in Huck Finn you hear about that Mississippi River for two or three pages and it seems to be saying about the same thing. This doesn't happen in Wild. I am not a backpacker-I have no interest in backpacking (especially after reading this book) yet I was able to see the amount of forethought and work and desolate beauty it offers. So, saying all of this, why did I only rate it 3? I was stunned that the death of a mother could spiral a woman into such a state of despair. Cheryl's life and life choices had spun so out of control and after her major inflection (hike) she comes to terms with a lot, which is wonderful for her. However, I felt a bit like a voyeur and I almost felt like there had to be something else. Not to say the death of a mother isn't horrific, but Cheryl went from normal "contentedness" (if the book is to be believed) to utter self destruction due entirely to her mother's death.
I was sad, angry, dejected, and while she was on the trail learning about herself I felt encouraged for her. If you read this book, the last line is profound for anyone at any stage in their life.

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