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Rated 3.91
163,617 ratings

Wild

By: Cheryl Strayed

Publisher: Knopf

Imprint: Knopf

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780307592736

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  • About the Book
  • Reviews
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her motherĂ¢Â€Â™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 StateĂ¢Â€Â”and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
When I started "Wild," I kept waiting to wince, partly because of the back story.... And yet the book never turns too sweet or leans into self-pity.
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Wild" is at the height of its power when Strayed confronts her demons with clear-eyed intensity, allowing for the heartbreaking messiness of life to be just that.... 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
Cheryl Strayed's load is both literal and metaphorical — so heavy that she staggers beneath its weight.... Often when narratives are structured in parallel arcs, the two stories compete and one dominates. The reader skims the less-favored one, eager to get back to the other. But in “Wild,” the two tales Strayed tells, of her difficult past and challenging present, are delivered in perfect balance.
—New York Times
Tragic notes that a less skillful writer would draw out — a heroin addiction, an unintended pregnancy and abortion, a string of extramarital affairs — are struck quickly and ruthlessly.... Though Strayed's story is inspirational, it's not aspirational — the Pacific Crest Trail won't be lousy with hikers this season because of this book. Some memoirs make the steps between grief and healing so clear that the path seems easy for readers to follow. Strayed, on the contrary, respects mystery. She knows that her hike revived her soul but doesn't pretend to understand, minute by minute, exactly how that happened.
—Washington Post
Brave seems like the right word to sum up this woman and her book. The arc may be familiar - it's not hard to guess whether the ending will be redemptive - but Strayed's journey is exceptional, her voice clear and resonant. And she did not embark on her hike in order to write a memoir, but endured an experience that lingered in her memory and proved worth writing about.
—San Francisco Chronicle
It's uplifting, but not in the way of many memoirs, where the uplift makes you feel that you're committing mental suicide. This book is 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 lack of ease in her life made her fierce and funny; she hammers home her hard-won sentences like a box of nails. 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.
—New York Times
Strayed writes a crisp scene; her sentences hum with energy. She can describe a trail-parched yearning for Snapple like no writer I know. She moves us briskly along the route, making discrete rest stops to parcel out her backstory. It is improvised and often unnerving.
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Wild" is Ms. Strayed's vivid, touching and ultimately inspiring account of a life unraveling and of the journey that put it back together.... "Wild" easily transcends the hiking genre, though it presents plenty of details about equipment ordeals and physical challenges.
—Wall Street Journal
Though Strayed's plan for re-creating herself is highly determined, the execution is so haphazard and improvisational that she is led to some truly unexpected moments that are worthy of the psychological burden she's put on them. It's a fearless story, told in honest prose that is wildly lyrical as often as it is dirtily physical.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Wild" will appeal to readers who dream of making such a hike, and Strayed's descriptions of the landscape will not disappoint. They are as frank and original as the rest of the book... "Wild" could slide neatly into predictability, but it doesn't. 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, unafraid to show inevitable moments of monotony. She is deliberate and detailed without contrivance, and deftly revisits the mix of bravado and introspection inside the head of a wounded young woman.
—Seattle Times
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