I had the opportunity to read "Wild" cover-to-cover over the Christmas holiday. A friend of our family had left "Wild" on our kitchen table. Having grown up in the mountains with a longtime interest in the Appalachian Trail, the words "Pacific Crest Trail" (which I knew little about) hooked me. Not being able to resist an interesting journey story, I picked "Wild" up & began wildly reading, not setting it down for two straight nights.
Cheryl's writing is exceptionally thoughtful, engaging, authentic & personal. "Wild" kept me awake reading until 3-4 in the morning (it's been awhile since a book has done that to me!) "Wild" is one of those books that once you start reading it, you can't stop until it's finished.
Much has already been said & written about "Wild" (Oprah interviewed / discussed the book with Strayed check out the Youtube video) thus I don't want to re-hash anything too much.
I simply want to let my friends / fellow readers (& hopefully the author Cheryl Strayed, who I don't know personally, but want to thank for writing this wonderful book) know how much I enjoyed "Wild" & recommend it to others.
On the surface, "Wild" chronicles Strayed's journey in her 20s hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Oregon.
However the book is about much, much more than only a long arduous hike.
On a deeper level, "Wild" is about dealing with tough life challenges. These challenges caused Strayed to undertake the soul-searching, grueling hike over the length of California & Oregon, following the loss of her mother.
If I can pick any word to describe "Wild," that word is "honesty." Strayed's honesty in the personal allows her to connect so well with her readers, both women and men alike, young and old.
"Wild" is written in a very open manner & not holding back on the author's thoughts, feelings & key details. The book addresses, as the old saying goes (and something which relates to us all, though some of us may not choose to face), "the good, the bad & the ugly," to get to a deeper truth about our shared humanity, how it feels to be dealing with hard situations during our tumultuous youth & more.
Strayed's sincerity & strong dedication against many odds in the journey to fully face oneself give the book an enduring power.
"Wild" is a special memoir anyone who has ever undertaken such a soul-searching mission, or journey to know & understand one's heart, can relate to. The story that unfolds is about getting to know one's true self, or putting in the hard work to deal with one's life, to "get to the other side," so to speak, as a whole person, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
On a personal note, I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book that described Crater Lake in Oregon, a place I visited with someone I loved while living in the Pacific Northwest. Much like Strayed's too-heavy backpack represents the carrying of an overwhelming personal burden, the deep lake which rests in the middle of a Cascade mountain / volcanic crater takes on a larger symbolism in "Wild."
"Wild" is enjoyable reading for anyone who loves the outdoors & who respects the truths that being out in wild Nature can give us. Hikers, backpackers, trail runners, bicyclists, swimmers, mountain climbers, and folks who've hiked either / or the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail, will find much to savor in "Wild."
The author has shared an excerpt from "Wild" titled "The Ten Thousand Things" on her website (follow link). I encourage folks toread this & see pics/reviews & further information about Cheryl Strayed's memoir.
Thanks to Cheryl Strayed for writing "Wild"!