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Oprah's Book Club 2.0
July 01, 2012
NY Times Best Seller - Non Fiction June 22, 2014
Wild : From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed

Overview - Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection.
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything.

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More About Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection.
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.
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: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than "an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise." But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, "Wild "vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

  • ISBN-13: 9780307592736
  • ISBN-10: 0307592731
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: March 2012
  • Page Count: 315

Series: Oprah's Book Club 2.0

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Travel > Hikes & Walks
Books > Travel > United States - West - Pacific

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-01-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

In the summer of 1995, at age 26 and feeling at the end of her rope emotionally, Strayed resolved to hike solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian and traversing nine mountain ranges and three states. In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, she delineates the travails and triumphs of those three grueling months. Living in Minneapolis, on the verge of divorcing her husband, Strayed was still reeling from the sudden death four years before of her mother from cancer; the ensuing years formed an erratic, confused time “like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler.” Hiking the trail helped decide what direction her life would take, even though she had never seriously hiked or carried a pack before. Starting from Mojave, Calif., hauling a pack she called the Monster because it was so huge and heavy, she had to perform a dead lift to stand, and then could barely make a mile an hour. Eventually she began to experience “a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun,” meeting the few other hikers along the way, all male; jettisoning some of the weight from her pack and burning books she had read; and encountering all manner of creature and acts of nature from rock slides to snow. Her account forms a charming, intrepid trial by fire, as she emerges from the ordeal bruised but not beaten, changed, a lone survivor. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency. (Mar.)

BookPage Reviews

Epiphany among the blisters

A profound and moving pilgrimage through the wilderness of grief, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is one of the best American memoirs to emerge in years. After the shock of her mother’s unexpected death, 25-year-old Strayed is profoundly lost in the world, her family shattered. In the tradition of Thoreau and Kerouac, she finds herself again by hitting the road, or in this case, through-hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through California and Oregon.

Painfully funny and honest, Strayed documents the sheer stupidity of her early days on the trail, when her pack weighs upwards of 70 pounds and she fills her camp-stove with the wrong kind of gas. But mile by mile, and toenail by lost toenail, she grows stronger and smarter and lighter as she experiences how the extreme physical suffering of long-distance hiking eases the intense emotional suffering that brought her to it. She realizes that her instinct to walk the PCT was “a primal grab for a cure,” an attempt to create a new self and life from the ruins of the old. This reinvention extends to her new name, “Strayed,” which she chooses because “I had strayed and I was a stray . . . from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before.”

As “Dear Sugar” advice columnist for The Rumpus, Cheryl Strayed is beloved for her compassionate wisdom. With Wild, we now witness the crucible that forged that hard-won knowledge. On the PCT, the loneliness of grief evolves into a visionary state of solitude: “Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before.” Even so, “trail angels” begin to reveal themselves to her, people who offer water, food or companionship—stations along the lonely way.

Wild is never simply a survival memoir, although it offers up many a thrilling incident—bears, rattlesnakes, dehydration, blisters, weather—to compel the reader’s attention. It is also a guidebook for living in the world, introducing a vibrant new American voice with a deceptively simple message: Go outside and take a hike.

BAM Customer Reviews