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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 20, 2012
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"Honeysuckle Season" by Mary Ellen Taylor
From author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets. | Learn more
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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.
- Lexile measure : 1020
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307592731
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307592736
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Knopf; 1st edition (March 20, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #37,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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At 49% in the book you find out what happened! The animals have "either died themselves" (no WONDER) and her mother's stunning thoroughbred horse Lady (who had saved her mother's life and been her pride and joy) ended up shot in a botched, agonizing murder by someone (her brother, while she watched on) who had never shot a horse before. Needless to say, the horse did not die straight away but keeled down on her knees in agony in a slow death.
If the book had dedicated as many pages to the author's regret and disgust at these actions and the part she played, and a begging for forgiveness, I could have understood (maybe). But, no. It seemed that the author didn't agonize over this at all. Just mentioned it, as if she were blameless. As if she were the victim! Doing the one thing that would have BROKEN HER MOTHER'S HEART!
A woman who had enough money to buy heroine but not enough to at least pay for a vet (and how about at least TRYING to re-home Lady or send her to a refuge? Not even mentioned.
And all these readers, too, who have adored this book, did this not bother you?
How sad this world we live in when shooting a horse who has been abandoned and mistreated by self-absorbed, selfish people seems to go completely unnoticed. If it is accepted so readily in this book, no wonder there is so much animal abuse out there.
Top reviews from other countries
This is not a journey undertaken by a walking fanatic or expert, in fact the author had never done a walk like this before. It was undertaken by the narrator, Cheryl Strayed, as a way of trying to stop her life unravelling after the death of her mother from cancer, the remains of her family falling apart, despite her best efforts, and her marriage that should have been a success, failing because of her promiscuity and her falling into heavy drug taking. The solution taken without too much thought, was to walk the challenging long distance American Pacific Crest Trail!
The theme of the book is how the journey acted as a way of coping with grief for the death of her mother, her crumbling relationships and her inability to forgive herself for her shortcomings, and for the guilt she felt for all that was happening in her life. The description of the walk, and the way she was so unprepared for it, physically and mentally are incredible. It is an amazing story, and I enjoyed it as a metaphor for the journey through life, and the people you meet along the way who help you to your goals, and often appear at just the right time. The story has lived with me for quite a while; the film, which we saw within days of finishing the book, was superficial and missed many of the messages, although the landscapes were fantastic and Reese Witherspoon was perfect as Cheryl Strayed. The extras on the Blu-ray DVD, including the feature on Cheryl Strayed herself, also helped to appreciate the story. Do give this book a chance in your life; I am sure you will be Wild about it too.
unputdownable, and left me with intense admiration for the strength of will that pushed her on day after day. Highly recommended.