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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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Sep 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: memoir
Read in September, 2012

Cheryl Strayed is a 40something writer who, in her twenties, hiked a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Oregon after her mother died. Her original plan for coping with this tragedy was to use heroin and cheat on her husband, which made a solo backpacking trip look like a better option.

Strayed's self-destructive streak simply emerges in a different form. She is ridiculously unprepared for the trip and makes errors that even I recognize immediately and I dislike camping, backpacking and all things dirt. She survives with some luck and some common sense earned from a childhood in the northern Minnesota woods, but I didn't admire her "pluck." I thought she risked her life in a lot of really stupid ways. For example, it doesn't take an Outward Bound instructor to know that you do not venture into the desert without making assurance double sure that you have enough water.

Strayed is an excellent writer and the way she writes about complex family relationships is poignant and real. I found her excruciatingly annoying but she tells a good story. Some pages were 5s and others were 2s, but she deserves at least a 4 for a sustained and fresh, if whiny, voice.

Also, did any Carls read this? Were the Three Young Bucks from Carleton (an insular college an hour from Minneapolis?) I wish I had their real names because they would have been around my age.

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Jennifer I did, but I have no clue as to the true identity of the TYB.


message 2: by Gillie (new)

Gillie The Three Young Bucks WERE from Carleton, class of '94! I pieced it together when I read the book because Rick Topinka and Josh O'Brien are listed in Strayed's acknowledgments. The third is Richie Kay. I contacted Josh and Rick recently to see if I could write an article about them for The Voice, but Josh declined on behalf of himself and Rick and said he was pretty sure Richie wouldn't be interested either. Frustrating! But it was exciting to solve the mystery of their identity!


Jessica Thanks for posting. I was '93 and recognize the names but I didn't know these men.


Jennifer I am impressed that you recognize the names. I didn't!


Jessica Brent doesn't recognize any of the names and that was his class.


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