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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 20, 2012


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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail + Gone Girl + The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) (National Book Critics Circle Award: Fiction Finalists)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307592736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307592736
  • ASIN: 0307592731
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,967 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


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

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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
2,820
4 star
1,217
3 star
461
2 star
219
1 star
250
See all 4,967 customer reviews
I enjoyed the story as well as the author's writing style.
Clp
This is Cheryl Strayed's story of her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Michael DENNISUK
I had a hard time putting this book down, and it was a good read.
Karen Utter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

803 of 855 people found the following review helpful By RR TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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429 of 460 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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201 of 222 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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226 of 261 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cheryl Strayed had her life fall apart when she was still in her mid 20's- personal disasters, tragedies, poor life decisions. Her Mother had just died painfully from cancer, she was dabbling in drugs, she divorced her husband, no decent job, no money- and even more bad things.

She then made a courageous and unusual decision- to solo through hike the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave desert to the Washington border (in this case about 1100 miles, as she didn't hike through Washington, and parts of the trail were snowed under and considered impassable). This is a grueling trip that makes even hardened trail fanatics think twice, but the author set off on her trip with a minimum of experience.

Now, being a hiker of some experience (but never having attempted a through hike of the PCT), I was reading this book more about her hiking experiences and misadventures. Interspersed with her trail story are many back-flashes to her personal history, including mostly the tragedies and poor life decisions. I am sure these will be of primary interest to others.

It would seem madness to set off on a hike like this with your life in complete shambles. But, if you have ever gone deep into the wilderness on a solo hike, you can see the method in her madness. Once you get a few days into your trip, it is a HUGE life-changing experience. You will never look at Life the same way again. You are Alone- but also feel a part of nature, so you don't feel lonely. Your "huge personal problems" drop away, while you grapple with immediate issues such as blisters, drinking water, hunger and rattlesnakes. Those suffering from sleep problems find those go away like magic about two nights in.
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