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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Paperback – March 26, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 12,455 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Spectacular. . . . A literary and human triumph.” —The New York Times Book Review

"I was on the edge of my seat. . . . It is just a wild ride of a read . . . stimulating, thought-provoking, soul-enhancing." —Oprah Winfrey, on Wild, first selection of her Book Club 2.0

“Strayed’s language is so vivid, sharp and compelling that you feel the heat of the desert, the frigid ice of the High Sierra, and the breathtaking power of one remarkable woman finding her way—and herself—one brave step at a time.” —People (4 stars)

"An addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it. . . . Strayed is a formidable talent." —The Boston Globe

"One of the most original, heartbreaking, and beautiful American memoirs in years. . . . Awe-inspiring." —NPR Books

“Cinematic. . . . A rich, riveting story. . . . Our verdict: A.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Pretty much obliterated me. I was reduced, during the book’s final third, to puddle-eyed cretinism. . . . As loose and sexy and dark as an early Lucinda Williams song. It’s got a punk spirit and makes an earthy and American sound. . . . The cumulative welling up I experienced during Wild was partly a response to that too infrequent sight: that of a writer finding her voice, and sustaining it, right in front of your eyes.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Brave seems like the right word to sum up this woman and her book. . . . Strayed’s journey is exceptional.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the best books I’ve read in the last five or ten years. . . . Wild is angry, brave, sad, self-knowing, redemptive, raw, compelling, and brilliantly written, and I think it’s destined to be loved by a lot of people, men and women, for a very long time.” —Nick Hornby

“Devastating and glorious. . . . By laying bare a great unspoken truth of adulthood—that many things in life don’t turn out the way you want them to, and that you can and must live through them anyway—Wild feels real in many ways that many books about ‘finding oneself’ . . . do not.” —Slate

“Incisive and telling. . . . [Strayed] has the ineffable gift every writer longs for of saying exactly what she means in lines that are both succinct and poetic. . . . an inborn talent for articulating angst and the gratefulness that comes when we overcome it.” —The Washington Post

“Vivid, touching and ultimately inspiring account of a life unraveling and of the journey that put it back together.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Strayed . . . catalogs her epic hike . . . with a raw emotional power that makes the book difficult to put down. . . . In walking, and finally, years later, in writing, Strayed finds her way again. And her path is as dazzlingly beautiful as it is tragic.” —Los Angeles Times

“A fearless story, told in honest prose that is wildly lyrical as often as it is dirtily physical.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“This isn’t Cinderella in hiking boots, it’s a woman coming out of heartbreak, darkness and bad decisions with a clear view of where she has been. . . . There are adventures and characters aplenty, from heartwarming to dangerous, but Strayed resists the temptation to overplay or sweeten such moments. Her pacing is impeccable as she captures her impressive journey.” —The Seattle Times

“Strayed’s journey was at least as transcendent as it was turbulent. She faced down hunger, thirst, injury, fatigue, boredom, loss, bad weather, and wild animals. Yet she also reached new levels of joy, accomplishment, courage, peace, and found extraordinary companionship.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“Strayed writes a crisp scene; her sentences hum with energy. She can describe a trail-parched yearning for Snapple like no writer I know. . . . It becomes impossible not to root for her.” —The Plain Dealer

“Brilliant. . . . Cheryl Strayed emerges from her grief-stricken journey as a practitioner of a rare and vital vocation. She has become an intrepid cartographer of the human heart.” —Houston Chronicle

“A deeply honest memoir about mother and daughter, solitude and courage, and regaining footing one step at a time.” —Vogue

“This is a big, brave, break-your-heart-and-put-it-back-together-again kind of book. Cheryl Strayed is a courageous, gritty, and deceptively elegant writer. She walked the PCT to find forgiveness, came back with generosity—and now she shares her reward with us. I snorted with laughter, I wept uncontrollably; I don’t even want to know the person who isn’t going to love Wild. This is a beautifully made, utterly realized book.” —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted and Cowboys are My Weakness

About the Author

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the international bestseller Wild, the bestselling advice-essay collection Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The New York Times Magazine, The Rumpus, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, The Missouri Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun, and elsewhere. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307476073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307476074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12,455 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I lost most of my respect for Oprah Winfrey years ago, but I was thrilled two years ago when I learned that she was starting up her "Book Club" again. I haven't read all of the books she's picked over the years, but the ones I have I've very much enjoyed, and she's brought a lot of attention to some contemporary authors I respect and admire. When I learned that Cheryl Strayed's "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Winfrey's first pick for her "Book Club 2.0," was being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, it moved quickly to the top of my reading list.

I'm not going to abandon my faith in Winfrey's literary tastes over one lousy selection, but it's fair to say that "Wild" represents everything I loathe about the Cult of Oprah, full of a feel-good narcissistic spirituality in which genuine introspection is sacrificed on the altar of self-esteem. "Wild" isn't content merely to inspire its readers to adopt Strayed's entitled brand of faux empowerment, however - this book could get someone killed one of these days.

When Strayed was 22, her mother was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. A few weeks later, she was dead: so begins "Wild." They'd been close, and I accept that grief does strange things to people, but Strayed uses the loss of her mother to justify giving in to every self-destructive hedonistic impulse that crosses her mind over the next four years. (I've known people who lost a *child* and fell apart less.) She compulsively sneaks around behind the back of her kind, devoted husband. Even after she confesses her affairs, he remains loving and supportive, and she still loves him but decides to go through with a divorce anyway because, I dunno, *reasons*. She flirts lightly with heroin addiction (is that even possible?
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