Published: March 20, 2012
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.
The reason I even thought about picking it up was thanks to the Gilmore Girls mini-series that Netflix released. Lorelai has a moment where she feels like things in her life are falling apart and she needs to get things put back into perspective so she decides to go hiking. Once at the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) all the women kept asking each other, “Book or Movie?”, and then you fell into groups depending on what inspired them to hike. I’d remembered seeing the trailer for the Reece Witherspoon movie, but hasn’t watched it yet…so I decided I should give the book a shot. I don’t even know where to start with this book, expect to say that it was phenomenal! This was the first full audiobook I listened to and it was worth every minute of the 13 hours and 6 minutes that it took the narrator, Bernadette Dunne, to get through it.
Wild is about a young woman who struggles with the loss of her mother, her life spiraling out of control and then the walk that got her back on track.
We first meet Cheryl for a brief blip of her time on the trail…a time that was definitely not encouraging since she just lost one of her hiking boots, on a hiking trail, in the middle of no where. From this scene she takes us back in time to give us perspective on her life from child hood through the death of her mother. Bits and pieces are told at different times, she doesn’t just walk you through her life step by step and I think that made it more entertaining. Think about when you are telling a story, you jump around in your life to tell different pieces as other stories remind you of another time in your life. It really helped build her up as a person, no matter how flawed she became after the death of her mother.
I was very excited once we got to the walking portion of her journey to rediscovering herself. This woman was in a bad place AND had NO prior hiking experience. She hadn’t even packed her hiking bag and tested it our prior to the day before making her journey on the PCT. But she went any way. I enjoyed every story she told about her journey, every person she met along the way…well, almost every person…and grew major respect for her as she continued pushing forward no matter how many things would have made any of us turn back and quit. I’m not saying she didn’t doubt herself from time to time and think about throwing in the towel, but in the end she never gave up. I liked how almost everyone seemed to help each other out and how random strangers provided so much kindness to her that almost seems foreign these days.
I found myself getting sad when I saw the time slipping by and getting closer and closer to the end of the book, I didn’t want it to stop. But I will say the ending gave me goose bumps and reconfirmed my thoughts on fate. I will also say that the minute the story ended, I wanted to restart the book immediately.
This book was very well written. You could visually see everything that was happening throughout the whole thing and you, you could feel the emotions that Cheryl was going through and you just wanted to be walking along with her experiencing everything she was. If you enjoy memoirs/autobiographies, you like stories showing people really finding their way in life and you enjoy a good adventure, I’d highly suggest checking this book out.
If you’ve watched the movie prior to reading this book, please do not hold that awful creating against it! The movie was TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! It didn’t give you even 1 inch of the depth that you have of Cheryl in the book. It was a hodge podge of various scenes from the book thrown together in a horrible way that didn’t even make sense…AND some of the scenes from the book they didn’t even do accurately. Ugh….please save yourself 2 hours and gain yourself 13 by skipping the movie and just reading the book!!!!