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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Paperback – March 26, 2013
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From Author Cheryl Strayed
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.
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
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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.
In a way this book is like reading Orange is the new black. Anyone whose read Orange would like this. A women who comes to terms with the mistakes of her past and her way forward in life. In a sense about resiliency for anyone struggling to overcome their mistakes in the past and how to put it all behind them to live a better life.
I just recently watched the movie "Wild." I have actually watched the movie several times now. When I saw that it was based on a true story I immediately logged onto Amazon and ordered the book. I am so glad I did as this is a wonderful book.
Of course there are different things in the book than in the movie, but that just made it better, it was liked I was learning more about Cheryl's life.
I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail when I would see the signs to it not far from where I live. But I got sick and that never happened. If you get a thought to try something, don't wait, DO IT, because you never know what is going to happen.
I never even knew anything about the PCT. I want to get books on it and read about it. I want to see in a book the actual places that Cheryl was in the book. I want to recognize some of the places.
I can't state enough how much I loved the book. It was so moving and hard. I can't imagine the things she went through, what anyone that hikes like that goes through. I love hiking but this is beyond hiking in my opinion.
Cheryl found out a lot of things about herself while on the trail. She met a lot of nice people along the way as well.
Sometimes a person's life is so sad and seems so horrible and then something wonderful comes along. Cheryl eventually found that in her life and I'm happy for her.
I recommend this book to anyone that loves hiking, to anyone that loves stories about finding yourself, to anyone that loves stories about the hardships of life.
If you are looking, or not looking to read another account of a solo hiker on the PCT, be advised that this one goes beyond the average account. Be ready to cry while learning about the author's crooked path as she breaks her own heart. Be ready to be enthralled with colorful and emotional writing from an author with tremendous artistic talent.
The author who discovered her true self on a courageous journey is also a talented writer. If you love good writing, adventures, and the out of doors, don't miss the opportunity to read this book.