- Paperback: 315 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st edition (March 26, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307476073
- ISBN-13: 978-0307476074
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13,014 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top customer reviews
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.
Her writing is decent, but this is much more about a personal introspective journey than anything. I slogged my way through it and felt like she didn't feel any happier or more resolved by the end of her journey (not that I expected unicorns and rainbows by the end, mind you). Read the entire thing - and later caught most of the movie on TV - and feel like there's many more interesting books about hiking the PCT than this particular one. Personally, I'm not recommending the book to anyone; I thought it was 'okay' at most, and gloomy and disheartening at many times. Again, not expecting everything to be rosy, but the way people raved about this book, I thought I was getting into some female Rocky out there conquering the PCT after being hit with everything life could throw at her. Instead, it felt more like she was unburdening herself of all the mistakes and bad choices she made in life, including many related to hiking the PCT.
Now as for the main character... I was not a real fan. I thought she was a slefish brat with a well-fed narcissist issue. She complained... and complained... and complained. Alot of the story as about her feet... and I get it.... hiking great distances- hard. And the majority of the story concerned whether men liked her or thought she was attractive.
There was a little or no discription of the surroundings so unless you have been to the Pacific Northwest, you have no idea how visually impacting the area truly is... I felt a huge rift in any empathy I could really feel for her.
Overall, even with my lack of concern or empathy for the main character... there was value in the story. Just because we are broken, doesn't mean we stay broken. I would still recommend the read.