Published: March 2012
Summary: Wild is a first person memoir about a woman’s 1,100 mile journey along the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to the border with Washington State. Cheryl Strayed lost her mother to cancer when she was 22 years old, and completely fell apart in the aftermath. She distanced herself from her family and husband, engaged in infidelity, and experimented with heroine. She decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone and with no training or experience in an attempt to find herself and get her life back on track. Throughout her journey on the trail, Cheryl gives flashbacks to her mother’s sudden and painful death, her infidelities and drug abuse, and the trials of her marriage. In addition, she provides us with spiritual realizations along with details of her physical challenges along the way.
Thoughts: It was so inspiring to read this very honest and detailed memoir about a woman finding herself after a life tragedy. Cheryl’s flashbacks, particularly the one about her mother’s diagnosis and death, were so detailed and unfiltered that I felt her emotional pain and it brought tears to my eyes. Although some parts of the actual hike were interesting, it sometimes was boring and difficult to get through recounts of the actual hike, and because it was a memoir, there were no climactic dramatic moments or twists that made it more exciting. However, it was a novel filled with trust and motivational stories about taking life in your own hands and getting back on track when you have lost yourself. It is a book that I feel many people can relate to, and it is a very helpful in guiding readers through self reflection and introspection.
“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”
“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.”
“There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course.”
“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”