Book Review: Wild
One of my personal goals for the summer has been to read more and I feel like I have been making some headway in my list of books, which means I have a couple book reviews coming up for you! Yay! I know you’re bursting with excitement.
The book on deck for today is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I found out about this book from Julie over at PB Fingers as it was her July book club book.
Here’s the description from the author’s website:
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again. At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she’d lost everything when her mother died young of cancer. Her family scattered in their grief, her marriage was soon destroyed, and slowly her life spun out of control. Four years after her mother’s death, with nothing more to lose, Strayed made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker–indeed, she’d never gone backpacking before her first night on the trail. Her trek was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and intense loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
This book is going down as one of my all-time favourites. The writing is beautiful, Strayed writes with such honesty, and it is an inspiring story of determination to not only conquer the PCT, but to find her way back emotionally after the death of her mother and a divorce. I didn’t want to put this book down as I found it so engaging. I wanted to know what happened next, how she overcame all of the challenges thrown her way (not enough money, hiking shoes that were the wrong size, encountering suspicious people on the trail) and how she eventually embraced all that she experienced (there were times she thought about leaving the trail).
You don’t just follow Cheryl on her journey along the PCT, but also on a journey to re-discover herself and learn what she is capable of doing, perhaps much more than she ever imagined. The honesty with which she shares her feelings, thoughts, and her past is refreshing and makes her a more sympathetic character. I found myself rooting for her, wanting her to succeed, wanting her to finish her trek and feel empowered to take control of her life.
One of the reasons I was so eager to pick up this book was because of my recent trek in Peru. Reading this book made me realize how easy we had it compared to Cheryl! We had porters carrying most of our stuff, food and drink waiting for us at each stop, and the trek was only three days. It made me even more appreciative of the support we had.
There was one part of the book where I was literally crying. It involves her mother’s horse and I’m a sucker for animals and just bawled my eyes out. There were other parts that were extremely sad and also parts that were quite uplifting and even funny.
I’ve already recommended this book to a few people and will not hesitate to recommend it to more, especially if you are interested in trekking or on your own journey of self-discovery (aren’t we all?) and need some inspiration to take the next step to really grab hold of your life and live it to the fullest.