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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2587129
's review

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.
1384 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Wild.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

April 6, 2012 – Shelved
Started Reading
April 21, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 366 (366 new)


message 1: by Tania (new)

Tania Thanks for reading this for me so I don't have to... I'm glad to be spared the vacuous navel gazing!


message 2: by Jane (new)

Jane Sound like another version of Eat, Pray, Love, which I also didn't like for the same reasons. Thanks for letting me know.


Corene Perfect review. I just finished this book and this about sums it up.


Cathy Thanks, Corene. I'm not sure why this book got such good reviews! People want to compare it to Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. Gah!


Jacquie Same thoughts- actually I couldn't finish it.


Cathy Jacquie wrote: "Same thoughts- actually I couldn't finish it."

Good for you, Jacquie. Life's too short.


Gabriel P. Agreed! Only finished it for the book club. Special pain added by the "Oprah Notes": hyperlinked sections of the e-book -- superscripted not with a number but all with the letter 'O' -- leading to such deep thoughts as "I love words, and there are some sentences that I love spoon-feeding to myself." many frowns.


Cathy Too funny. I wonder if you can turn that "O Notes" function off. I turned the highlights "enhancement" off on my Kindle.


Gabriel P. Hah I'll look for that : ) The reader I was using called Overdrive didn't even have the ability to make your OWN notes -- which I guess was lucky for the book group because by the time we'd met, I had lost track of the many specific passages I had issues with. : )


message 10: by Jupiter394 (new)

Jupiter394 Thanks for this review. I think I'll stay away. I also didn't like Eat, Pray, Love.


Cathy Hi, Jupiter, I think it's safe to say you won't like it. Eat, Pray, Love was actually easier to take than this (Although I didn't like EPL either).


message 12: by HJ (new) - rated it 1 star

HJ I felt the same way about this book. See my one star review above. Horrible book. Annoys me that it is on the bestseller list and she is getting money and acclaim for this rubbish.


Leslie Wow. You really missed the point, didn't you.


message 14: by Brooke (new)

Brooke Morris-Chott My sentiments exactly. Couldn't even get through it.


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim Mcinerney I was about to write a review and decided yours said it all.


Jennifer You forget that she was dealing with grief and loss. People react differently to it, sometimes not so healthy. I'm glad something awoke her senses and helped her live again. That can be really hard after a traumatic loss. I KNOW.


Kristina LOL. A bit brief, but I think you covered the highlights. I used the word "self-absorbed" too. I found her detestable.


Jennifer Grief changes people. Sometimes people do things they would never imagine after the death of someone they were so close to.


message 19: by JennE (new)

JennE gah... this sounds like Eat, Pray, Love which I never finished. Thanks for giving me more time to read something else:)


message 20: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy It's supposed to be self-absorbed, that's what a memoir is.


Kristina Cindy wrote: "It's supposed to be self-absorbed, that's what a memoir is."

Nuh uh. Self-absorbed people write self-absorbed memoirs. Memoirs can be fascinating journeys through another person's life IF that person has perspective and something interesting to say. Ultimately, the Wild chick did not.


message 22: by Kiof (new)

Kiof I have not read the book to be fair, but to me there really can be an "egotistical sublime". Everybody should have some point (hopefully a short period of time- some people make it a life) where they follow their Id, instead of just their nose. :)


message 23: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Kemp I agree completely, Kristina. You described exactly what rubbed me the wrong way about this book.

Kristina wrote: "Cindy wrote: "It's supposed to be self-absorbed, that's what a memoir is."

Nuh uh. Self-absorbed people write self-absorbed memoirs. Memoirs can be fascinating journeys through another person's li..."



Kristina I would agree with Kiof's comment that there is an "egotistical sublime." You have to have the sort of ego that thinks, "I'm very interesting (or what I experienced was very interesting) and I definitely think others will find it interesting too." However, the author crosses the line into self-absorption when there is no sense of self-discovery or idea of lessons learned. Wild Chick had many years to mull over the events that happened in the book before she actually wrote the book. But I never got the sense that she learned anything about herself, her life, her mother...nothing. She was a self-absorbed ass when she started her journey and pretty much finished the same way. I'd like to know what prompted her to write the book since so many years have passed since the events occurred. She did learn of a guy she met having died, but I forget if that happened sooner (not long after she finished her hike) or later. I think her moral character can be summed up in how she treated her mother's horse. She wrote a lot about how much that horse meant to her mother, but then left the horse (and other animals) in the care of her step-father, never checked on them, and then killed the horse in the most horrible way. That sums up her essential character as far as I'm concerned.


message 25: by HJ (new) - rated it 1 star

HJ Kristina wrote: "I would agree with Kiof's comment that there is an "egotistical sublime." You have to have the sort of ego that thinks, "I'm very interesting (or what I experienced was very interesting) and I defi..."

I completely agree Kristina. Great summary.


Kristina Heidi wrote: "Kristina wrote: "I would agree with Kiof's comment that there is an "egotistical sublime." You have to have the sort of ego that thinks, "I'm very interesting (or what I experienced was very intere..."

Thank you. I wonder why the woman included the horse story at all. It was horrific. In no way does it make her look good. I wanted to reach thru the book and slap her. Disliked her intensely from there and she never did anything in the book to make me change my mind.


message 27: by HJ (new) - rated it 1 star

HJ Kristina wrote: "Heidi wrote: "Kristina wrote: "I would agree with Kiof's comment that there is an "egotistical sublime." You have to have the sort of ego that thinks, "I'm very interesting (or what I experienced w..."

I was listening to this and I skipped through this part. Honestly if it wasn't on audio I NEVER would have finished it. Yes I thought the horse thing was absolutely horrible. Why would you do that to an animal? When there is a vet who for 100 dollars will probably take care of the animal for you? Yes I truly disliked her through the entire book as well.


Kristina Heidi wrote: "Kristina wrote: "Heidi wrote: "Kristina wrote: "I would agree with Kiof's comment that there is an "egotistical sublime." You have to have the sort of ego that thinks, "I'm very interesting (or wha..."

That's what I thought--that she could have found a vet who would have delayed payment, or would have charged them less, to humanely put the horse down. But because neither she nor her idiot brother could be bothered, they basically murdered the horse and made its death much more tragic and painful. I used to volunteer at an animal haven and have seen first hand what mistreated and neglected horses look like and so could envision what her mother's horse looked like very clearly. The author is detestable.


message 29: by Beth (new)

Beth Completely agree with this review, I couldn't finish it. Looking ahead to the section on how she ended up killing a horse definitely turned me off even more. There is nothing brave about the author and her attempt, rather lots of self-indulgent behavior. You can't help but be completely turned off and depressed reading this book.


message 30: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Thank you for your review. The first line pretty much summed up what this book is about and allowed me to know that this is not the book for me. Thanks for saving me a good 6-8 hours.


Moneek_f I couldn't agree more! I wish I had read your review prior to reading this lame book. I don't understand how it's received so much praise.


message 32: by Seanne (new)

Seanne She is a woman from a tough background, in obvious pain, who deserves your sympathy, not your ridicule.


message 33: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Thanks for your review. I hated Eat, Pray, Love so I won't be going near this one!


Cathy Ivonne wrote: "Thank you for your review. The first line pretty much summed up what this book is about and allowed me to know that this is not the book for me. Thanks for saving me a good 6-8 hours."

No problem, Ivonne, thanks for your comment. I hope you are reading something good.


Cathy Moneek_f wrote: "I couldn't agree more! I wish I had read your review prior to reading this lame book. I don't understand how it's received so much praise."

Thanks, Moneek. I was stuck in bed last spring with a herniated cervical disc when I read this book. It was better than having nothing to read. I hope you are reading something good now!


Cathy Rebecca wrote: "Thanks for your review. I hated Eat, Pray, Love so I won't be going near this one!"

Good call, Rebecca. I hope you found something good to read.


Brenda Campbell I understand what you're all saying but keep in mind a book is entertainment and she is not trying to claim that she is great by having done this. I find it unfortunate that we cannot read a book without being largely judgmental: it worked for her so be happy for her and if you don't enjoy the book then donate it to your library and someone else may find inspiration in it.


Kristina Brenda wrote: "I understand what you're all saying but keep in mind a book is entertainment and she is not trying to claim that she is great by having done this. I find it unfortunate that we cannot read a book w..."

No one said she is claiming to be great. The book was supposedly the story of her path to enlightenment. During her journey, she reveals herself to be a wretched, selfish woman more concerned with getting laid than "finding" herself. Anyone who enjoys the book, well, hurrah. The book was a memoir--the author put herself out there to be judged. You "judged" the book to be good, some of us "judged" it to be bad. Don't chastise us for expressing our opinions.


Kimberly Muschong I couldn't get past the first 20 pages of Eat, Pray, Love for the same reasons. "Self-absorbed" nails it. However, I did enjoy reading about life on the trail, and it inspired me to think about taking a (much shorter) long-distance hike one of these days.


Jennifer You SO nailed this one. I read it, hated it, and hated it for the same reasons that I hated Eat, Pray, Love. I mean, come ON. If you DO all of this stuff, wouldn't you REALLY have some serious and interesting self-reflecting to share? Rather than detailed accounts about who you slept with, who you wanted to sleep with, who maybe wanted to sleep with you, and how many toenails you lost?


Kristina Jennifer wrote: "You SO nailed this one. I read it, hated it, and hated it for the same reasons that I hated Eat, Pray, Love. I mean, come ON. If you DO all of this stuff, wouldn't you REALLY have some serious and ..."

Ha ha ha ha ha...yup.


Bethany I think that a lot of times writing a memoir is cathartic and she had no way of knowing that people would pick up and read the book and actually like it. She took a chance and it paid off. People picked up the book and read it and now she gets money for it. GOOD FOR HER. People focus way too much on negative things in life. What about the fact that her life was off the rails and she realized it and did something about it?! A lot of people would not be able to see that they were spiraling and would just continue to sink into a deep pit of despair. Cheryl decided to change her life and though she was naive about it and not as prepared as she should have been she was a total badass for doing something like that.I give her a lot of credit.


message 43: by Ash (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ash Barker The only action you can judge in a memoir is the honesty with which it is told. People do abhorrent things. Critiquing their choices seems as useful as raging at the movie Titanic because the ship sank at the end.

I've read the memoirs of a lot of long distance hikers. This one isn't much different outside of this climb to popularity. I suspect for many, this book was like trying to read the Klondike; the premise was not what you wanted it to be about and you therefore found it lacking.


Susan Ash wrote: "The only action you can judge in a memoir is the honesty with which it is told. People do abhorrent things. Critiquing their choices seems as useful as raging at the movie Titanic because the ship ..."

Jennifer wrote: "You forget that she was dealing with grief and loss. People react differently to it, sometimes not so healthy. I'm glad something awoke her senses and helped her live again. That can be really hard..."

I agree with Ash and Jennifer. She is not a navel gazer for goodness sake! She is a flawed and honest person. At first read, I couldn't get into it. Then I picked it up again later. The key here is that grief and loss are very extreme. Most people who haven't experienced the loss of one they love that young, and a parent who was the only stable person in her life at that....don't have any idea about what deep loss is. Who knows why she was self-destructive? Most addicts and alcoholics are. I thought it was her writing that saved her and her gut feeling that she needed to do something very, very challenging to wake up again to a life worth living. As for previous comments about how dumb she was about hiking, and about taking that on like she did? Well, that's what makes it so interesting to read. Many people would not do the difficult things they take on if they knew what they were actually getting into. (like having children, for one) That is what makes this a story with universal appeal. Petty judgments do not equal a valid book review. If some of you wrote articles about your hikes, they would be all about how prepared you were and what great equipment you bought and they might get published in a technical outdoors magazine. But they would not be interesting to flawed people like myself who like good stories.
This book gave me courage. The way she talked to herself when facing scary circumstances made me feel stronger and reminded me of my own youthful backpacking trip, thus inspiring me to feel braver.


Apple Mdjs I disagree. It's about that young foolish woman that was lost and hurting, desperately trying to fill a void with her mistakes..... But she emerges from 2 trips her personal trail and the pct.


Susan Apple wrote: "I disagree. It's about that young foolish woman that was lost and hurting, desperately trying to fill a void with her mistakes..... But she emerges from 2 trips her personal trail and the pct."

Well, we all make mistakes and I personally like hearing from people whose mistakes are more spectacular than mine. Call me crazy, I don't mind.


message 47: by Veronica (last edited Jul 07, 2013 12:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Veronica Gosh, I wish there was a "dislike" button on Goodreads. I'd use it for this shallow, mean-spirited review.


message 48: by D (new)

D A This is a comment from a woman who has lived an extremely boring life and wouldn't have any idea as to what it feels like to embark on an adventure of self-discovery and in the outcome having soared the courage to write this book, which became a great success, solely from it's honest, down to earth experience. Your comment Cathy is one to be ashamed of, we need less people like you. If you feel you can do it better, then you may have a leg to stand on....or maybe not.


Caroline Agreed, the trail could have been a hundred miles shorter for me.


Schina Maybe before you write such a harsh review, you should get out there and walk over a thousand miles in her shoes. It's a trail modernized by the times and all who hikes the pct gets the same treatment. I personally look up to this woman and all she conquered on her own, and I for one know I couldn't complete such a feat; so many nights all by herself in the wilderness hiking on destroyed feet in all kinds of terrains and weather. I don't know you, but I think I'm safe to say that you wouldn't/couldn't do it on your own. Or even not alone for that matter. Sorry, but this review offended me as a fan of the book and the author.


« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8
back to top