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Book Review: Wild

Author: Cheryl Strayed
Published: 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Number of Pages: 336
My Rating: 4

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

When I first heard about this book a couple of years ago, I was quickly convinced it wasn’t going to be a book for me. From what I had heard, it was about a woman who set off on her own on a hiking trail to battle with her demons. My thoughts- sounds depressing and the most physical activity I engage in is power-cleaning my house before guests come over. Once I finally gave in, however, I was proven extremely wrong.

Wild is the memoir of Cheryl Strayed, a mid-twenties woman whose entire world was rocked and torn apart when she lost her mother. After years of heartache and seeking relief in all of the wrong places, she decides she needs to do something drastic to prove to herself that she can (and perhaps to punish herself for what she put everyone through).

She sets off completely unprepared and naive about the actual extremes and challenges of the trail, but refuses to give up. I loved the exposure I got to the Pacific Crest Trail as it was something I didn’t even know existed until I began reading. She gives interesting detail about the terrain, animals, towns, etc. without it being drawn-out or boring. Some of her stories about the other hikers or day-to-day happenings seemed slightly fabricated as I feel it would be hard to remember all of the small details, but that was my only qualm with the book.

What I found to be the most fascinating was actually hearing about Cheryl’s past and what she went through that brought her to the trail. She was dealt some truly horrible events and she was completely honest with how she tried to cope with her grief. I felt she was brave to share all of the gritty, raw details about what she went through but it was amazing to see her change as the story went about.

Overall, this one was worth checking out. It was a fast read that was different than any other book out there and it was intriguing to learn about this woman and her unique journey. Cheryl’s writing was fresh and funny, oftentimes full of dry wit and honesty. Her hike was something I would never in my life even dream of doing, but I felt I could live through her and experience the wild.

-Busy Brunette


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