A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. After her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than an idea: vague, outlandish, and full of promise. But it was a promise of piecing together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces rattlesnakes and bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and intense loneliness of the trail.
Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
©2012 Cheryl Strayed (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I have to start this review by admitting that this book was a total impulse buy for me, based more on interest generated by the many posters on the London Underground promoting the spin-off film starring Reece Witherspoon. It has turned out to be one of the best audiobooks I’ve bought for years.
Following the death of her mother the author finds her life and her family unravelling, and to say she goes a tad off-the-rails would be an understatement. After a few years of this destructive freefall Cheryl decides she must make a change, and a chance encounter with a guide book on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) stirs her interest and she sets about planning a solo hike that will take her over 3 months, and hopefully enable her to move on from her recent traumas.
And you are there at every step, practically walking alongside the author as she talks of the events that led her to be here, a woman alone in the wilderness, miles away from anywhere or anybody. She talks of her childhood, her family’s early struggles, her violent and unstable biological father and, after he had left them, the loving, caring man who became her step-father. The book does a first-class job of being able to talk aloud about the past whilst keeping the listener in the present, with the sights, sounds and grandeur that such an epic trek would entail. You are right there with her at every turn of the trail, savouring every meal, dressing every blister, feeling palpable frustration at every wrong turn when the trail becomes overgrown or disappears altogether. But you will also smile warmly at the kindness of the people you will meet on the trail, their openness and generosity toward a perfect stranger.
Recognition must also go to narrator Laurel Lefkow who does a first-class job; energetic and always engaging, she brings the whole story to life.
At the time of writing I’m still only midway through the second-half of the book, but am totally hooked, and look forward to my daily commute just so I can pull on the headphones and continue my hike through the woods.
An exceptional book, and very highly recommended.
Just what I have dreamt I would like to do.
Loved the no nonsense way she came to terms with life and the way it was written,
Very good, written well. always wanted to know what happened next. Made you think if you could do a similar project it took a lot of guts to take on such a dangerous journey
Saw the film that is based on this book, so thought I would give it a read. Fabulous book, sad, sweet and funny. Would definitely recommend. Performance was very good, very enjoyable.
Brilliant narrator, great story, very interesting memoir. I'd definitely recommend it & look forward to seeing the film
I love many aspects of this book - the independence to strike out on her own. Her pure honesty of her feelings and emotions through out. The rawness of her experience.
What I found difficult to listen to was the level of pain she has felt through the tough parts in her life. I found it really difficult to listen to in parts, tears rolling down my face - this experience in some ways overwelmed the rest of the story.
Worth a listen and maybe bypass the really gritty bits if you like me don't want to fall asleep crying!!
Say something about yourself!
I throughly enjoyed this book; I'm a community nurse and I listened to all 12hours during my visits! The narrator is very easy to listen too, and I enjoyed her accents. However the book does make me want a Snapple lemonade!
Following her story, the ups and the downs, the funny mistakes she makes and the way she describes how she goes through her ordeals is captivating
The journey. I felt like I was on the journey with her and felt more determined in my own life too.
I LOVED her read. I thought she was absolutely spot on. Best narrarator I have heard.
No, its not like that. For me it was a journey I wanted to take over time, the same as the character. I found it relaxing and listen at bedtime.
The way she describes her ordeal with the passing of her mother at the start of the book it actually amazing. I normally dont want to read about grief. But she drew me in and I felt every inch of loss for her. It was fascinating and incredible. So well written. And the pace of it was awesome too from the narrator. It was so well written and read.
It makes me feel like to hit the road right now. If you like traveling, very recommendable.
"Good journey story. Not for the faint hearted."
Yes I would, but with a few warnings. I liked the journey part of the story. However I felt there was quite a bit of dysfunctional grieving, explicit references to sex, and a terrible story about killing a horse that I could not listen to.
I've not read any of her other books.
I enjoyed her stories of other hikers along the trail.
A few laughs here and there. Definitely cried! Was pretty traumatised by the horse story, I had to skip ahead.
"Wild and free"
This story is beautiful, transformative, adventurous, relatable and so well told. The narration is spot on, with full scale emotion and joy conveyed to the listener. Fantastic. My favorite audiobook so far.
"Better than the movie"
An inspirational listen. Beautifully read and far more entertaining than the movie which missed a lot of the key content
"Gripping. Inspiring!Felt like I was on the PCT too"
Thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. Having seen the movie, I was compelled to read/listen to the book and was even more inspired. The honesty and open way in which Cheryl has told her very personal story, is an inspiration in so many ways. I am still amazed she did this journey alone AND at such a young age! What a courageous women she was/is and I'm so thrilled her story is out there now for us all to enjoy and be part of. I admit I was a tad saddened when my listening journey came to an end as I had enjoyed it so much.
I feared the narration of such a journey could be not up to the task of capturing the beauty, emotion and challenges that such an endeavour must have been for ms. Strayed.
Well I was pleasantly surprised.
It is totally captivating and a great read!
(....makes me want to put on my backback and head out of the door NOW).
"Insightful, wise and courageous"
I love Cheryl Strayed's dear sugar, her wise and gentle counsel on some of life's difficult questions. Wild gives you a glimpse of why that counsel is so wise and insightful. A wonderful book that I really didn't want to end. I may have to buy a hard copy to keep, to underline, to have at hand for reference.
Saw the movie first, wish I had read the book beforehand. Still worth listening to, inspiring story, Cheryl has come a long way in more ways than one!
"Worth a read"
Great read, well written and interesting story. Narrator is easy to listen to. Listened to this all the way through in 2 sessions as it kept me interested the whole time. Worth a read.
"I'm glad I listened to it"
Genuine, interesting, touching
Into the wild
When she and her brother have to shoot her dead mothers horse
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