Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Posted: January 12, 2014 by BA Dillon in Non-Fiction Books


WILDReviewed by Katie Lou

Everyone is reading this book. This is THE book of the moment! It was required summer reading for my high school age son, and it is an Oprah book. Additionally, a friend’s son is raising funds to walk the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) this spring. It seemed timely that I take the time read it myself.

I’m not sure where to begin.  There are two distinct stories here.  I loved one and forced myself to read the other.  So … this twenty year old decides since her life is a mess  (her mom died, her marriage imploded, she and her boyfriend used drugs, her job was at a dead end, her step-father moved on to another woman, and her siblings stopped talking to each other) to walk the PCT.  Throughout the entire book, we read about her crumbling life which in my opinion was an emotional gut-wrenching too much to want to know about any one person story.

The other half of the book is about her decision to hike the Pacific Coast Trail.  She saw a book about it in a store and a few months later she was on her way to California.  Her decision was impulsive, made without any prior knowledge of what it’s like to take a long walk.  Correction: take a long walk while carrying everything you’ll need on your back.  She was alone, inexperienced, and unprepared. This part of the book was fascinating.  I was amazed at her description of her first week on the trail.  Her backpack, nicknamed Monster, was so heavy she couldn’t lift it.  Rather than finding out ways to make it lighter she figured out a way to put it on by rolling into it.  I loved the description of the Trail’s terrain and weather conditions.  Almost immediately she walks from 100 degree weather into snow.  In the summertime!

Despite the interruptions of the flashbacks, I enjoyed her tale about losing her boot, burning her books each night as she read, dealing with Monster & boots that were too small, deciding to bypass sections of the Trail, meeting fellow hikers and still deciding to walk alone.   I thoroughly enjoyed the story regarding the hike, but didn’t want to read about her dysfunctional life.


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