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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Cheryl Strayed , Bernadette Dunne
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10,149 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 20, 2012 Oprah's Book Club 2.0
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.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: At age 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself alone near the foot of the Pacific Crest Trail--inexperienced, over-equipped, and desperate to reclaim her life. Wild tracks Strayed's personal journey on the PCT through California and Oregon, as she comes to terms with devastating loss and her unpredictable reactions to it. While readers looking for adventure or a naturalist's perspective may be distracted by the emotional odyssey at the core of the story, Wild vividly describes the grueling life of the long-distance hiker, the ubiquitous perils of the PCT, and its peculiar community of wanderers. Others may find her unsympathetic--just one victim of her own questionable choices. But Strayed doesn't want sympathy, and her confident prose stands on its own, deftly pulling both threads into a story that inhabits a unique riparian zone between wilderness tale and personal-redemption memoir. --Jon Foro

From Author Cheryl Strayed

Oprah and Cheryl StrayedOprah with Cheryl Strayed, author of Book Club 2.0's inaugural selection, Wild.

I wrote the last line of my first book, Torch, and then spent an hour crying while lying on a cool tile floor in a house on a hot Brazilian island. After I finished my second book, Wild, I walked alone for miles under a clear blue sky on an empty road in the Oregon Outback. I sat bundled in my coat on a cold patio at midnight staring up at the endless December stars after completing my third book, Tiny Beautiful Things. There are only a handful of other days in my life--my wedding, the births of my children--that I remember as vividly as those solitary days on which I finished my books. The settings and situations were different, but the feeling was the same: an overwhelming mix of joy and gratitude, humility and relief, pride and wonder. After much labor, I'd made this thing. A book. Though it wasn't technically that yet.

The real book came later--after more work, but this time it involved various others, including agents, publishers, editors, designers, and publicists, all of whose jobs are necessary but sometimes indecipherable to me. They're the ones who transformed the thousands of words I'd privately and carefully conjured into something that could be shared with other people. "I wrote this!" I exclaimed in amazement when I first held each actual, physical book in my hands. I wasn't amazed that it existed; I was amazed by what its existence meant: that it no longer belonged to me.

Two months before Wild was published I stood on a Mexican beach at sunset with my family assisting dozens of baby turtles on their stumbling journey across the sand, then watching as they disappeared into the sea. The junction between writer and author is a bit like that. In one role total vigilance is necessary; in the other, there's nothing to do but hope for the best. A book, like those newborn turtles, will ride whatever wave takes it.

It's deeply rewarding to me when I learn that something I wrote moved or inspired or entertained someone; and it's crushing to hear that my writing bored or annoyed or enraged another. But an author has to stand back from both the praise and the criticism once a book is out in the world. The story I chose to write in Wild for no other reason than I felt driven to belongs to those who read it, not me. And yet I'll never forget what it once was, long before I could even imagine how gloriously it would someday be swept away from me.


--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Echoing the ever-popular search for wilderness salvation by Chris McCandless (Back to the Wild, 2011) and every other modern-day disciple of Thoreau, Strayed tells the story of her emotional devastation after the death of her mother and the weeks she spent hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail. As her family, marriage, and sanity go to pieces, Strayed drifts into spontaneous encounters with other men, to the consternation of her confused husband, and eventually hits rock bottom while shooting up heroin with a new boyfriend. Convinced that nothing else can save her, she latches onto the unlikely idea of a long solo hike. Woefully unprepared (she fails to read about the trail, buy boots that fit, or pack practically), she relies on the kindness and assistance of those she meets along the way, much as McCandless did. Clinging to the books she lugs along—Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Adrienne Rich—Strayed labors along the demanding trail, documenting her bruises, blisters, and greater troubles. Hiker wannabes will likely be inspired. Experienced backpackers will roll their eyes. But this chronicle, perfect for book clubs, is certain to spark lively conversation. --Colleen Mondor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Oprah's Book Club 2.0
  • Audio CD: 11 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307970299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307970299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10,149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
911 of 965 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story Great, Oprah Edition Awful June 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If I had known that every few pages I would have to see passages underlined by Oprah I would not have bought this edition. Not only does it bump me out of the narrative, but it deprives me of experiencing the book on my own; instead forcing me to think Oprah's underlines are the important parts. It makes what could otherwise be a beautiful story feel like a cheap used textbook. I should at least be able to hide the obnoxious underlining and get to experience the story on my own.

I love the story, and I love Oprah, but I hate having her perspective forced on me as I read. I'll never buy an Oprah digital book again.
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991 of 1,065 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey within a Journey December 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Why read "Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail"? In a nutshell, because Cheryl Strayed is brutally honest about her weaknesses as well as her strengths, because she writes magnificently, and because she speaks for so many women who have suffered similar insults and assaults and have never had such an articulate writer to tell their story. Her first twenty-six years constitute a life often lived but rarely told. The hundred days before her twenty-seventh birthday make up the substance of the "Lost to Found" journey within a journey -- the unifying theme of this book, a theme of personal confrontation and self-willed rebirth in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

If you are able to read even the Prologue you will see evidence of Strayed's unique voice. If that is unavailable and you're still on the fence as to whether to buy this book, I urge you to go to cherylstrayed.com and read some of Strayed's essays. Perhaps her raw honesty will seize hold of you as it did me and give you no choice but to get the book.

This is not to say that everyone will love this book or its author. Readers will respond very differently. Some will be as enthusiastic as the 5-star reviewers and some as unimpressed as the 3-star (there are no lower reviews at this point, which is a testament to the books' quality). Strange as it may seem, I see the perspectives of those who are enthusiastic and those who are dissatisfied and believe that both the accolades and the criticisms are legitimate. It is a sign of considerable courage to hike 1,100 miles alone, while it is a sign of great weakness to wallow in personal sorrow while toying with drugs and ruining a marriage.
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740 of 816 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Problems if the reader is not in the target audience August 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had mixed reactions to this book.

As a disclaimer, I would like to point out that I am not in the target audience for this book. I am 58 and male. I read the book because I am a backpacker. The book sells mostly to young, slim (probably athletic) women. Why do I make this assertion? I went to Cheryl Strayed's event and book-signing. 95% of the large audience (Ms. Strayed is a rock star) fit this target market. The other 5% probably came for the electronic, new-age musician.

If I were in the target market, if I had identified more strongly with Ms. Strayed (or her 24-year old self), I would probably have loved this book. If you can identify with Cheryl Strayed, then you may love this book.

If you cannot form this bond, you may dislike the book because of the follow reasons:

1. The language and metaphors are fairly pedestrian. I kept thinking, I have heard that analogy or phrasing in many books (often self-help books, no accident that Ms. Strayed was a self-help columnist). The author usually avoids obvious cliches, but if you reflect upon media discussions that focus on personal growth, you will recognize most of the language. For example, the author loves the adverb, "profoundly." She also uses some obvious tricks to make the writing seem compelling: sexual obscenities (not an objection for me, but more of an author tic) and exaggerating verbs -- "destroyed" for tired and "shattered" for distraught or depressed. Not terrible, but not Joan Didion or Dave Eggers.

2. Cheryl Strayed likes metaphor as the primary tool in story-telling (call it approach A). She made this comment in the event that I attended. Many authors, however, focus upon precise, sensory detail to show depth of character, point of view, voice and story development.
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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiking as a Mystical Journey April 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is a vast amount of trail literature, a type of writing that is uniquely American. I am not aware of any other book in this genre, however, that has received the public acclaim accorded to Wild, Cheryl Strayed's recent memoir of her life on and before her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is one of the top selling books of the year and will become a classic of trail literature in the future.

But why is Wild so successful? It helps, of course, that Strayed is already a critically acclaimed author. A grant from the Oregon Arts commission to write the book certainly improved the text. Unlike many trail memoirs, this is a polished affair and clearly not composed as an afterthought to the day's work. But the main reason this book is so successful is the story of redemption it tells. Strayed's life fell apart when her mother died while she was in her early 20s. Unable to deal with the grief, she first cheated on then divorced her husband (I was unable to stop feeling bad for Paul throughout the book), took heroin, and went through some gut wrenching events while slowly trying to self destruct. But when she began to hike, her life began to change. She forced all her material concerns out of her life, helped in part by two overaged boy scouts who removed many items from her pack, and focused on the immediate activities that allowed her to survive in harsh conditions. And conditions were tough in 1995. My wife and I began hiking the trail together that same year and like Strayed, we made the decision to avoid certain sections. But Strayed perserved and by the end of the trail was a changed, more confident person. She went on to start writing, got married and had children.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Author Unpublished
What an amazing, wonderful, and strange journey I have just been on. Wild by Cheryl Strayed isn’t a book I’d normally pick up. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Cary Morton
4.0 out of 5 stars Triumph
I llove non-fiction and this one didn't disappoint! A brave adventure that most people would never attempt. I was as sad as Cheryl when the hike ended.
Published 6 hours ago by Tucker Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheryl got me out of my comfort zone, with this book
I found her descriptions of all things reported by.her as examples of adventures available to many of us. Read more
Published 6 hours ago by Ronald A. Werner
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
This story is inspiring and motivating, she has incredible tenacity and strength. Leaves me feeling that I need to accomplish more in my life. Read more
Published 10 hours ago by amydiane
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked her totally honest description of her feelings and actions ...
I liked her totally honest description of her feelings and actions especially in her past. Refreshing. A fast easy fun book.
Published 10 hours ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
It was extremely well written which held my
interest and it was a good story. I don't think
everyone would enjoy it.
Published 12 hours ago by Doris Holt
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read.
The writer takes you on an incredible journey of perseverance, bravery, psychological and physical endurance and strength. I recommend this book. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by GlendaV
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
Interesting book. Slow at some points but worth the read if you're looking for something a little more reflective.
Published 18 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great testimony for the questions in life we all search ...
What a great testimony for the questions in life we all search for at some time in our lives. Love the book.
Published 19 hours ago by Laurie M. Weaver
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding Me
I found it fascinating that Cheryl did this alone even though she had many doubts and fears. I believe there strength in all of us as long as we can keep putting one foot in front... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Debra
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More About the Author

Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller WILD, the New York Times bestseller TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and the novel TORCH. WILD was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. WILD won a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, an Indie Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award among others. The movie adaptation of WILD will be released by Fox Searchlight in December 2014. The film is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and stars Reese Witherspoon, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Strayed's writing has appeared in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Missouri Review, The Sun, Tin House, The Rumpus--where she wrote the popular "Dear Sugar" advice column--and elsewhere. Strayed was the guest editor of BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2013 and has contributed to many anthologies. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)
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