Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Book: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Author: Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.-Goodreads

Review: This is a tough book to review. Cheryl Strayed was a hot mess-she had an abusive father, married too young, could not cope with her mother's cancer diagnosis and death, and dealt with her grief by cheating on her husband, getting involved with heroin (she literally decided to do it for the first time with a guy she barely knew) and then decided to go hiking 1k+ plus miles by herself with basically zero backpacking experience (I'm not an experienced hiker but I know you are supposed to at least practice walking with your pack so you get used to the weight). She didn't have boots that fit, was really, really, really lucky that almost every stranger she encountered wanted to offer her help and assistance. Oh, and she's really lucky she wasn't assaulted or seriously injured. She didn't seem that introspective on her hiking journey either. I cannot even count the number of times I thought "wow, she's stupid." However...

I loved her writing style and found the book engaging from start to finish. I found myself wanting to know more-specifically about her childhood and how someone who lived in a house in the woods with no plumbing became a high school cheerleader and prom queen. I also don't understand how she and her mother attended college at the same times nor how she funded the hiking. I also appreciate that she wrote this book several years after her hiking experience (unlike Eat, Pray, Love which I found very contrived from start to finish) which made the experience more authentic. 

Grade: 3/5

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