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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.
Thoughts on Wild, list style:
ONE. Wild is super honest -- sometimes almost too honest? From her crazy grief over her mother's death, to her brief fling with heroin, to her sexual encounters and failed marriage, Cheryl Strayed doesn't seem to hold much back. But I'm not sure it could be done any other way. Knowing what she was thinking at each point gives understanding into why she's doing what she's doing, and helps you feel connected to her.
TWO. You can read this even if you're not a hiker. As I just mentioned, it talks on a lot of broad themes: grief, believing in yourself, accomplishing something you'd never thought possible, getting over the damage you've caused to yourself and others. There's probably something in here for everyone.
THREE. Buuut she does go into a lot of detail about her daily challenges with hiking. Sometimes it seemed repetitive, but that is the basis of this story -- her hike on the PCT. So know that you are going to read a lot about the actual hike.
FOUR. It's being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon! I'm excited about that, but also scared because the audio version is so well done and the voice is so different from Reese Witherspoon that my brain might explode if I watch the movie.
It got a little long -- I think mostly because I got tired of the hiking parts and because there isn't a super strong plot line to keep you going -- and there were some parts that made me pretty uncomfortable (for the love of Jim, just SKIP the WHOLE CHAPTER about putting down her mom's horse!!!!). But all in all, I liked it.
Have any of you read Wild? What did you think?