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838 of 896 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey within a Journey
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...
Published on December 30, 2011 by Gentleheart

455 of 488 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story Great, Oprah Edition Awful
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...
Published on June 3, 2012 by Krista Chesal

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838 of 896 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey within a Journey, December 30, 2011
Gentleheart (Sierra Nevada Mtns, California United States) - See all my reviews
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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 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.

Before I saw Amazon's listing, I had not heard of Strayed although she clearly already has a following. It was, however, not the author but the subject matter -- a woman's solo journey over 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail - that first attracted me to the book.

But do not be misled. This book is not a hiker's guide. Two of the mistakes Strayed made are as basic as can be: wearing shoes a size too small and carrying an overweight pack. Many pages are devoted to Strayed's complaints about these two major errors and the pain and injuries they caused to her body. Hard as long-distance hiking is, one need not be impaired by shoes that cause most of your toenails to fall off and a pack that is more than half your body weight.

Rather than a guide, this is a memoir. Strayed's qualities are not common sense or preparedness. Her work is of great value because she confronts and reveals parts of herself that others would deny and hide. In her childhood she was seriously damaged by violence and neglect and yet nurtured within herself a spirit so indomitable and a talent so unusual that she has been able to pull herself through terrible hardship to a place of personal transcendence and victory. She confronted the damage done to herself by her violent and absent biological father, the abandonment imposed by her mother's untimely and painful death, and the destruction wrought at her own hand when she repeatedly cheated on her husband and became involved with heroin.

This is not a cautionary tale. The author was already living a life of extraordinary and unnecessary risk before she ever took a single step on the PCT. Her heroin use and eagerness to be intimate with strangers surely were as life-threatening as the rattlesnakes and bears she eventually met up with on the PCT. So it was not the danger of the trail that captivated me. Rather, it was the fact that almost everyone Strayed met on the trail was kind, interesting, and generous. My guess is that the PCT attracts unusual people who have more than the usual amount of kindness and gentleness in their souls. Or maybe Strayed just brings out those qualities in people. She surely comes across as a warm, open, easy-going person.

This is not to say that the people Strayed met were universally good. Two bowhunters stand out as particularly offensive and potentially dangerous. That Strayed was able to avoid being brutalized by them is further testament to the quickness of her insight and the strength of her personality.

Few have Strayed's courage to live their own truth and to tell that truth without wavering. She is remarkable as a person and as a writer. If you are willing to travel with a damaged woman who puts herself in harms way and tells about it with raw honesty, who looks at herself without blinking, and who emerges from her daunting journey with greater insight and wisdom, you want to read Wild.
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455 of 488 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story Great, Oprah Edition Awful, June 3, 2012
Krista Chesal (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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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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264 of 297 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
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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. For these authors (call this approach B), focusing upon metaphor creates overwrought story-telling. Approach B is not a law (no laws in story-telling). I, however, like approach B. If you like approach A, then read the book. To be fair, the author did use a lot of good detail, but it was not the primary driver for the story.

3. Almost all of the flashbacks to Strayed's last few years (of her drug-use, frantic-sex, relationship-destroying period) were linked to the on-the-trail narrative through metaphor. In addition to liking approach A, Strayed did not have much chance to really reflect or think about her mental or social problems on the trail. As she wrote, she was surviving -- wrestling with some incredible discomforts or worrying about some big problems (enough water or possibly woman-eating mountain lions). To weave her recent life problems into the narrative, Strayed, the writer, needed her thematic or metaphorical links. For example, coming upon a long, snowed-over section of the trail gives her an image and loose theme (snow and hardship) to write about how she had to shoot her beloved horse in the snow to euthanize the poor creature. That description would have stood better on its own; it was perhaps the most powerful mini-story in the book. It did not gain as a flashback from her trail problems. Moreover, the trail flow was broken unnecessarily by the horse story. She switched back and forth, through metaphor, repeatedly. Chopping up the PCT trail narrative this extensively diffused the trail tension. The metaphors were not strong or original enough to overcome the structural problems.

If you, however, feel a deep, powerful identification with the author, this structural point will probably not be a problem for you.

4. While focusing upon metaphor, the author avoids some obvious problems and explanations: Her pre-trail use of heroin ballooned into an almost daily habit for months. People become strongly addicted when using heroin at this frequency. Ms. Strayed never mentions withdrawal after stopping the habit almost cold-turkey. If she had suffered withdrawal, it would have been a horrific experience. Why did she avoid mentioning that issue?

Likewise, when she takes a serious fall, dropping down a rocky trail with her impossible-to-carry pack, she writes about the aftermath as if she had suffered a painful but superficial knee-scrape. Reality check: when I have suffered falls that severe on a trail, I have torn ligaments or cartilage, effectively ending my trip. It seems that Cheryl Strayed is blessed with extremely good luck after a number of ordinarily crippling events (high frequency injections of street heroin, falling hard down rocks with a 50 lbs. backpack crushing her, almost getting raped by some lunatic, getting her feet so blistered that most skin peeled off...). Are all the escapes and endurance-of-crippling-pain possible? Yes. If you are a Navy Seal. Memory is subjective, and any of us can enhance a story from repeated retelling.

5. The author's pre-trail behavior (extreme impulsiveness) fits borderline personality disorder (BPD). This impulsiveness suggests much more than just Strayed's explanation -- grief. Grief could have triggered this mental illness, but not explained it. I can understand that Strayed did not want to crimp her character's possibilities with a psychiatric diagnosis. BPD, however, is a serious and real mental illness, and its treatment almost always means a much longer ordeal than a three month hike. Although a three month wilderness journey can be life-changing, it is almost never a cure for serious mental illness. Again, the author endures almost unbelievable mental and physical hardship, and never slows in her forward motion.

Finally, what kept me reading was not the description of the wilderness (which was interesting), but rather my curiosity about how Cheryl Strayed would tie together all of her themes and potential solutions. She did it, characteristically, with some metaphors. (Crater Lake was a mountain with a heart torn out, that eventually healed -- like her.) As far as how she got herself together enough to stop life-threatening impulsiveness: inexplicable trail-magic transformed her -- somehow loosening the grief inside of her. (She wrote that the trail was not just a journey outside, but more of a journey inside. I think of literary types advising: show, don't tell. The words "inside" and "outside" are lackluster figures of speech and poor substitutes for "showing" descriptions of the internal or external.) I came away thinking that Strayed was waving some magic wands of metaphor, and not telling the whole story -- perhaps in many ways.

The Kindle format -- one final point:

The quotes from literature under the section headings on my Kindle (a new, basic version) are garbled. These same quotes in the print version are right justified, and are readable. The quotes in the Kindle version are crushed as a one-character column on the right margin and continue, scrambled, for multiple pages. They are unreadable.

Amazon and readers need to do something about shoddy publishing products. We are paying $12.99 for this e-book. Readers need to demand more -- have an old iPad for example to buy a clean version if it is available. Also, protest when publishers deliver this crap. Likewise, Amazon needs to get publishers to deliver well-formatted ebooks. Or, in the long run, writers need to bypass these publishers.
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231 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A walk in the wild... to save her life and her soul..., December 23, 2011
Wulfstan "wulfstan" (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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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.

Now, yes, this is a "personal journey" "soul changing" " heal-myself memoirs" book, and that's the theme. But besides that, it's also a pretty good book to read so that you don't make her mistakes if you decide to set off on a trip like this yourself. Don't worry, you'll make plenty of others, and certainly minor misadventures are what make the trip interesting.

I don't know if you need 1000 miles to change your life. But a week or two may well do it.

Fascinating, a real-page turner.
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72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another (but less well-written) "Million Little Pieces?", July 9, 2012
M. Gottlieb (Northeast, USA) - See all my reviews
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As a vehicle for pure entertainment, this book held my interest a good part of the time. But as true memoir, I have difficulty believing this isn't another "no, really, I swear that's what happened!" kind of story, where Oprah will soon air a condemning reveal of all that was flourished or outright fictionalized in the telling.

The story vacillates from the difficult to believe to the extremely repetitive, and sometimes manages to be both at once: how many times do we need to hear big, strong men tell her how heavy her pack is? Or how pretty she is? How many grueling, life-threatening walks need to be described before we know just how brave and crazy this was? I found myself rolling my eyes on several occasions, and wanting to skim the details through many others. I adored "Eat, Pray, Love" and am a big fan of the "redemptive memoir" genre, but here I found myself liking and trusting the author's voice less and less as I read on.

Finally, in my opinion, the last chapter is a total cop-out (spoiler alert - don't read further if you don't want to know how the book ends). She touches the Bridge of the Gods, and next thing we know, all her intimacy issues have been resolved, and it's 9 years into a stable marriage to a wonderful, wonderful man, wonderful kids and a wonderful life. The notion that punishing physical activity is the panacea for psychic suffering is absurd and possibly dangerous. Such a journey can be a source of strength and esteem, but being alone in one's head while ripping one's feet to bloody shreds is not a reliable path to resolving childhood abandonment and mistrust of/intimacy issues with men.
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138 of 160 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Howling at the Moon, June 13, 2012
I remember the words well from a friend who had seen the Hannabel Lector movies: "Interesting...but I'm not sure you want this in your head." Don't get me wrong - Cheryl is a good writer, but her subjects are disturbing. This is not so much a book about hiking the PCT as it is her own catharsis: her father brutalizing her and her family, the death of her mother, her herion addition, and the final straw for me: the graphic murder of a beloved horse (it made me ill). And the hiking of the trail? She's lucky to be alive. Don't take notes. She's ill prepared, and with the aid of strangers, who provide rides, showers and food, she "makes it". I was not inspired. Just saddened.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiking as a Mystical Journey, April 22, 2012
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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.

People like redemption stories, and this book will remain popular for a long time to come because of how well this one is told. But I worry that this book's very popularity will prevent people from seeing the bigger picture. As one prominent long distance hiker noted to me, most hikers are not messed up when they begin a trail, nor fully healed when they end. But hiking itself, especially for long distances, does profoundly shift one's perspective on life. Almost everyone who writes about the experience feels the need to say how they are changed by the trail experience, and yet in almost every case, including this one, words do not seem adequate to describe what has happened. Strayed herself has changed, but after 250 pages of reflection on how miserable her life was before the trail, a few pages on how nice forgiveness (of oneself) and settling down in life after the trail seem almost like magic. Strayed has substituted listing the differences in her pre and post trail life for explaining them.

But it is not magic. Trail life is a form of modern mystical discipline. Hikers do not have words to adequately express how their lives are transformed because our society, with its focus on material wealth and abundance, lacks the language necessary to convey the experience. Nevertheless, mysticism is a common, albeit minority experience in the human condition. It changes perspective and leads to balance and peace. Strayed's book details how dramatic the change was to her life, but truly, this sort of experience is available to anyone. You don't need to divorce your husband, shoot heroin, or try to self destruct first. All you need to do is lace up your boots and go.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read That Fails to Accomplish the Mission, July 21, 2012
First things first: Wild is not a memoir of hiking the PCT; it's a memoir of (hopefully) the most troubled period of the author's life, which happens to include a long-distance backpacking trip on the PCT. Therefore, if you're looking for a memoir that focuses on nature, hiking, or backpacking, this probably isn't for you. (However, if you're looking for examples of how NOT to prepare for a long-distance backpacking trip, Wild certainly provides plenty of that!)

In her early/mid-twenties, the author experiences a personal tragedy (the death of her mother) that sends her on a downward spiral of self-destruction. The lack of family support and a less-than-ideal childhood only exacerbate the problem by not providing her with the stability and tools to cope, especially during what is traditionally an unstable, transitional period of life anyway. However, it's obvious that a lot of her problems are her own doing. She pushes away an unconditionally loving and supportive husband who was probably the most stable person she'd ever had in her life. She has a relationship with a heroin addict who gets her hooked, too, but she is reluctant to break it off. Unprotected sex with the addict leads to a pregnancy that ends in abortion. Unfortunately, she doesn't disclose any emotions or thoughts regarding the actual abortion itself, and we don't find out how she got off heroin - both struggles that would have added to the book. She is woefully unprepared for a long-distance backpacking trip, which creates misery for her: unnecessary gear leads to a heavy pack that causes abrasions and scars; she's unconditioned and, thus, struggles to achieve her estimated daily mileage; her boots are too small, causing her constant pain. The author organizes what becomes, quite frankly, the brutal murder of her mother's beloved horse because she couldn't be bothered to scrounge up the money for humane euthanasia. The horse unnecessarily meets an excruciating, violent death; the action was thoughtless, cruel, and disgraceful. (Hell, if she had called around to some vets to let them know what the alternative was, someone would've done it for free or at cost.) This incident causes the author a lot of anguish (though it pales next to what the horse went through), but it was she who caused it. I'm not sure that the author ever gains the self-awareness to realize that she is the cause of so much of her own pain, a lesson that would have greatly strengthened the book.

Some reviewers dismiss the book based upon judgements of the author's character: a whiny, irresponsible young woman who engages in casual sex and drug use. Yes, that's an accurate description. But hey, she was in her early/mid-twenties at the time, and everyone made bad choices when they were young. Plus, responsibility and morals are things that have to be instilled in a young person; if they're not, they are slow to acquire on one's own. She obviously had no one around to teach her such things and, therefore, had to learn them on her own. The biggest fault in this book is that we never know what the author learned or even if she learned anything at all. The ending is unsatisfying and abrupt; her journey ends, but how is she changed? We never really find out. Years later with her husband and children, the author revisits the spot where she ended her journey. Apparently, she managed to find happiness and stability, but we're not told how she went from that still messed-up young woman who hiked the PCT in the mid-90s to a woman who seems to have gotten her life together. It's a shame.

I appreciate that the author ultimately triumphed by completing her journey and overcoming her fears of the trail. I was engaged by the accounts of her experiences on (and off) the trail, though they are superficial. While I felt that Wild was an enjoyable read, I don't find it to be the inspiring tale that it aspires to be. Quite simply, the author never shows the reader that she has learned and grown either by experiencing hardships on the trail or by reflecting on her past experiences and actions. The reflection, understanding, and acquisition of self-awareness that would lead one "from lost to found" is unfortunately absent from the book.
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111 of 129 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wallowed: Self Pity, Unpreparedness, and Hitchhiking NEAR the Pacific Crest Trail, November 17, 2012
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. Nearly everyone gets blisters on these long-distance hikes - but complaining about them incessantly is obnoxious. I often hike solo - I am a female - and many times, I wanted to simply throttle Strayed.

Her details about the trail are so sketchy that it makes me wonder whether she actually hiked more than a half dozen short sections. It is obvious that she did a LOT of yellow-blazing (a somewhat derogatory term in the hiking community for hitchhiking up the trail, rather than actually walking it). I wanted her to meet the hikers on the trail and give them personalities and I *really* wanted her to learn from them. I wanted to read about the towns and the places she went to (and be able to say, "I WAS THERE!!!") I wanted her to describe sunsets and views and remind me of how it was to walk up out of Seiad Valley and the effort it took to avoid the poison oak down into Belden Town and what it was like to swim in the Middle Fork of the Feather River and to be back at the great campsite with an unobstructed view of Mt. Shasta, feeling the gravel pressing into my hips and shoulder blades through my groundcloth because I'd given up my leaking therm-a-rest - except I wanted HER stories about her hike, not more reasons for which I felt like I needed to give her ANOTHER dope slap - and I could have used a lot LESS of the shock-value bits: the horse, the swearing, the sex scene on the beach.

She could have easily had this entire experience in rehab - it did not have to be on the PCT. She could have wallowed in her self-pity and lack of preparation in a matter of ten pages and realized her mother crossed the bridge in another two and that would have been plenty. I know now WHY so many hikers this summer disdained Cheryl Strayed and her "hike." If it was the TRAIL that changed her, she would still be more connected to it than just by throwing money at the PCTA every year - she would be back out there every chance she got. This book is just further proof that it is sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll that sells. If it had ACTUALLY been about the PCT, Oprah never would have read it.
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346 of 411 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe this is not my genre., May 7, 2012
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I'll admit it right off the bat, I'm not sure this genre is my cup of tea. I didn't like "Three Cups of Tea," I abhorred "Eat, Love, Pray" and I didn't like "A Million Little Pieces" one bit. Having said this, I saw that most other reviewers described this book as "gripping," "compelling," and "heartbreaking" and I hoped that I would feel the same way when I finished reading "Wild." But, after forging my way through a couple hundred pages, I can only describe this book as monotonous, tedious and emotionally unsatisfying.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to love this author. I wanted to walk beside this woman on her journey of self-discovery and live the emotions she lived, and feel the transformation she was bound to undergo. I wanted to feel her boots on my feet, taste her fears in my mouth, and nod in understanding at each new revelation that came her way. What I found is that I couldn't keep focussed on the story for more than a paragraph at a time. I read, then skimmed, read, then skimmed, hoping to find the well-crafted story I had read so much about.

Instead, this book read like a never ending whine fest. If I had to read about the chafing on Ms. Strayed's hips from her overloaded back pack just one more time, I think I would have thrown my iPad out the window. There seemed to be no real arc to the storyline, just one frustrating ordeal after another. If any character transformation occurred, it must have occurred in the last few pages of the book, a long way past where I stopped reading. It is true that Ms. Strayed talked openly and honestly about graphic details of her life, but that didn't connect me to her character in any meaningful way, and without this connection, I didn't care enough about this woman to read on. I trudged and I trudged and I trudged right along beside the author as far as I could go, but eventually I was compelled to toss my metaphorical boots over the edge of a cliff and bring my journey through the pages of Wild to a premature end.
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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Paperback - March 26, 2013)
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