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Product Description

In the wake of her mother's death, with her family scattered, and in the ashes of a failed marriage, Cheryl Strayed made the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild powerfully tells the story of her adventure, capturing the terrors and pleasures of a young woman forging ahead against all odds and the healing power of her trip.

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  • ASIN: B016DSBO48
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11,743 customer reviews)
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1,038 of 1,101 people found the following review helpful By Krista Chesal on 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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168 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Fritz R. Ward VINE VOICE on 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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896 of 989 people found the following review helpful By David Watson on 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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311 of 355 people found the following review helpful By evenstar on November 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This summer, I started my hike at Walker Pass, where I left off last year. Even before I got on the PCT, I'd heard about this woman who'd written a book about her experience on the trail, who'd been a heroin junkie and gotten herself straightened out. As my friends and I met dayhikers on the trail, they would excitedly ask, "Have you read that book by Cheryl Strayed? And now, here we are on the P-C-T, JUST like her!!" A thru-hiker who was slightly ahead of me, Mother Goose, was accosted by one such woman, and after they parted ways, Mother Goose caught up to me and spat out, "If I hear another word about that Strayed woman, I'm gonna strangle 'em!" By the time I got off the trail in Ashland, I, too, was sick of hearing about this book - even my co-workers back home had read it. When one of them offered to let me borrow "Wild," a few weeks ago, I thought that maybe reading the book would ease my longing for the trail.

If you are looking for a book that transports you to a long-distance trail, look elsewhere - so far, my favorite has been the Barefoot Sisters' two books. Even though Bill Bryson's book, "A Walk in the Woods," is also a lame attempt to describe a long-distance hike, he has a sense of humor and pokes a LOT of fun at everything. It is not a whine-fest.

Strayed complains CONSTANTLY about blisters and pack sores and the weight of her pack and her missing toenails. EVERYTHING reminds her of her mother, so the reader is forced to re-hash her miserable life, a perfect graveyard of broken hopes. I know that everyone has to start somewhere - certainly my pack was too heavy the first time I went out...and it was still too heavy when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.
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