567 of 677 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing and at times utterly ridiculous. I had no idea that the adventure I'd get would include a sexcapade in the forest.,
This review is from: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Hardcover)
This is not one of those times where the hype ruined it for me because I picked it up before Oprah selected it for her book club and I went into it with a completely open mind. BUT...it was a complete fail for me.
After losing her mother to cancer and divorcing what seemed like the most supportive husband ever, Strayed decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The idea comes to her after seeing a book on the subject and since she doesn't seem to have anything else going for her, why not? She is essentially homeless as she can't figure out where she wants to settle down and without a job to tie her down, the decision is easy. She's in her mid-twenties and healthy, it can't possibly be that hard, right?
It's not unheard of for a non-hiker to hike a trail like this one. Lots of people find closure and peace of mind on the trail. Stripping yourself down to the bare essentials, pain and hunger all have their place in clearing away the cobwebs so Strayed's decision to hike the trail, was not that unusual. However, I expected her story to be about her coming to terms with her mother's death. After all, that is why she set out for the trail in the first place. Instead, what I got is a silly book about a woman who is just a little too full of herself.
Here are just a few reasons why this book falls into the ridiculous category:
The contents of her pack included an entire package of condoms. Really?
Her decision to hike alone. Really not safe and in fact, stupid.
Her care packages to herself included sexy lingerie for her potential hook-ups with strange men. Okay, she said it was for her to feel good but when you pack an entire box of condoms you've got to to wonder.
The possibility of sex on the trail is of great concern to her. Not her shredded feet or the lack of boots that fit.
The actual sex that takes place and her getting a kick out of being able to attract smelly men on the trail. Ick.
Ahem, the drug use. She was a hard-core heroin user before the trip and if my memory is correct, manages to find drugs at least once while taking a break from the trail.
Clearly, there was not enough hiking and true self discovery for me to take this book seriously. It veered off into numerous directions and although I felt for her at the beginning of her story, I had lost all respect for her by the end of the book. The writing is choppy and I didn't care for her self-absorbed nature. Every thought seemed to turn towards sex or the possibility of sex or had something to do with her looks. I got tired of it. You are hiking and haven't showered in days. How can you be concerned with your looks? Seems like more important things should have been a concern.
I can't recommend this one. It's not what it's described to be. I don't feel that she really got the closure she needed and it angers me to see it flying off the shelves just because Oprah picked it for her club.
Trust me, it's not all that.
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Showing 1-10 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 27, 2012 6:14:54 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 6, 2012 2:23:59 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2012 8:25:48 AM PDT
I'm sure Oprah has an entire panel of people choosing books for her. I don't always like them, but I will say this...they are usually good for discussion. However, this one... it just gave me a headache and was so poorly written (imo). On Twitter, I did hear from others who loved it. Perhaps, it spoke to them. It certainly did not speak to me.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2012 2:09:48 PM PDT
I can understand what you're saying about this book, but you are writing as if it is fiction. She wrote about her life and her trip as it happened and from the perspective of what was important to her at the time. How can you say she should have been more concerned about something other than her looks on this hike? For you or someone else, maybe something else would have been more important. But she wrote how she felt at the time and I, for one, loved it and thought it was very well written. I guess you would have preferred she just left out a lot of the sex stuff, and yes, I agree I would not have taken condoms and thought about having sex on the trail with unknown entities. But I don't feel it's fair for you to judge her on who she was at the time, what she took with her on the hike and how she felt about herself. She was just telling it like it was. Having said that, I realize you're just giving your opinion and you're certainly entitled to that.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2012 6:37:48 AM PDT
The thing is, it's being marketed as a story of self-discovery. I actually enjoy books about self-discovery. Especially ones about women, rising above challenges. What she went through must have been extremely difficult. I've no doubt about that. But from what everyone was saying about the book, I expected there to be a healing process of some sort. If it was there, I didn't see it. She wrote it so many years later after making the trip. Maybe she was too removed from it at that point because I didn't connect with her in any way and what she chose to focus on, was trivial compared to the larger issues she was facing at the time. I've read some of her other work since this review, including the Dear Sugar column and it's like a totally different person writing. I guess I just needed more reflection, and less of the trivial or what I deemed to be trivial.
Posted on Sep 13, 2012 8:09:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2012 8:10:15 PM PDT
Super duper glad to read your feelings, Ti,--I mean our feelings.
Strayed had one hell of a story to tell. No questions about that. But it was as though she wove the loss of her mother into the story to justify the rock bottom nature of her life.
Strayed had one hell of a story to tell. No questions about that. But it was as though her mother's death fell into the midst of Strayed losing her grip on her own life and she tried to make sense of it all the years later. Indeed, the loss of her mother and the finesse with which Cheryl (and she did in fact changed her name to strayed in further glorification of her lost-ness) portrayed that moment were powerful moments in the book and I am certain in her life. But I truly felt the disconnect between the trail and her mother.
Finding one's self does not--should not--involved mailing your best bra to yourself and packing condoms. Somehow--that woman lost the credibility to be on a self-finding mission since finding yourself through random others does not equal finding self.
So write the story--cause it is indeed a great story--but leave our heartstrings out of it. Cheryl has not yet earned the right to play them well.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2012 9:50:24 AM PDT
Yes! You cannot really find yourself if you still need others to validate who you are. I totally agree.
Posted on Sep 29, 2012 7:57:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2012 7:58:08 AM PDT
Steve Gamber says:
I agree this book should have been written by a smarter, more intelligent person who planned better.. . . . . . . . ahhhhhh - Do you understand that some people are broken and struggling, and just trying to do their best with what they've got?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2012 11:05:12 AM PDT
I don't think I ever questioned her intelligence. And yes, I do understand that some people are broken and struggling. That is why I picked the book up in the first place. To read how she recovered from it. I didn't get that she did though. Did you?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 12:08:20 AM PDT
Sammy Clemens says:
I also felt as it read like fiction at times. I agree with the OP's comments.
Posted on Nov 10, 2012 6:22:44 PM PST
Your review was a rather self righteous narrow view of SOMEONE else's experience. Interesting how you would write HER story of hiking 1100 miles as an inexperienced hiker and immature 20 something that has experienced some broken heartedness. Not every self discovery experience in life comes about immediately. It may take some reflection and maturity to realize what it is you have learned from your experiences. It took her 15 years to put the pen to paper. Remember being 26? yeah- it was a time to be self indulgent and stupid at times. We learn and move on.