Rating: 9 out of 10
Challenges: 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Book Club: Five Women and a
Synopsis (from the book’s description): 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.
Overall Impression: I freaking love memoir. It’s my favorite genre and I haven’t been reading many memoirs of late. Thankfully, Wild totally hit the spot for me. It was funny, tragic, frank, and harrowing. It was so very human. Strayed is a woman with a lot of depth — both darkness and light — and it came through in her incredible, profound writing. Her grief was palpable, and her survival was not guaranteed. I felt like I was hiking the trail with her at times — my feet hurt, I was scared, I felt the freedom of the open trail, and I was, frankly, hungry a lot.
Even though we are two incredibly different people, I related to Strayed in the ache to do something a little (a lot — 1,100 miles is a lot) mad in order to figure out who I am, to see how strong I am. The book didn’t make me want to hike the PCT; it did, however, make me look up the Appalachian Trail one more time (Bill Bryson had me looking at it a while back). The idea of hiking through the woods, day after day, the rhythm, the sparseness, the natural elements, the quiet, the mental and physical grit — it all calls to me.
Positives: Strayed writing is gorgeous and read like great fiction. The way she blended her hike with her back story was just beautiful.
Negatives: I have a hard time reading about women who make stupid choices. My mama bear heart breaks a little.
Other books I’ve read by Cheryl Strayed: none
Other blogger opinions:
S Krishna’s Books: ”Wild is so much more than a memoir about loss and grief. It’s primal, about Cheryl’s fight with the world around her.”
Nomad Reader: “Despite not being a fan of the outdoors or memoirs, I adored Wild. Strayed’s writing is as refreshing as her honesty.”
Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity: “I was always hungry for more of the writing and couldn’t wait to get back to the book after putting it down.”