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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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's review
May 16, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: adventure, angsty-love-story, eat-pray-love, family-drama, speed-read, pacific-crest-trail
Read in May, 2012

Cheryl Strayed heads out on the Pacific Crest Trail on little more than a whim. The PCT is a rough and infrequently traveled trail that goes from Mexico through the US all the way to Canada. Most professional trekkers spend months training and preparing for the journey. Cheryl has never backpacked in her life, but does not see this as an impediment. Her decision to hike the trail is prompted by the turmoil in her heart and head. Her mother died four years before from cancer, which rocked her world to the nth degree. She turned to extramarital affairs, which eventually led to divorce, which led to lesser companions and drugs. Her story is personal and almost feels like reading a diary, as she chronicles her daily experiences on the PCT. She meets a number of other hikers who act as guardian angels.

I loved the idea of this book and the fact that Cheryl went on this journey. However, I found it somewhat challenging to read because I think Cheryl sounded like a whiny, self-absorbed mess. Her inability to lift herself above tragedy, and how she lets it destroy the lives of people around her, is difficult to watch--especially because it seems the only person she feels sorry for is herself. I also was constantly struck with the thought of how hopelessly stupid Cheryl was in taking this trip, and wanted to shake her. I wanted to get a lot more out of this, but I just couldn't.

Favorite quotes:

"Not because I couldn't find God, but because suddenly I absolutely did: God was there, I realized, and God had no intention of making things happen or not, of saving my mother's life. God was not a granter of wishes. God was a ruthless bitch."

"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."

"When I had no roof, I made audacity my roof." -Robert Pinsky, "Samurai Song"

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