Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed, follows an emotionally broken and unprepared woman’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. After losing her mother suddenly to lung cancer, Strayed finds her life and marriage spiraling out of control. So what do you do when your life is falling apart? For Strayed the answer was to spend an entire summer hiking the thousands of miles that make up the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed’s ability to tell her story in an honest, powerful, witty and sometimes funny way makes this book an excellent read.
From the beginning it is known that Strayed is grossly underprepared for the journey she is about to embark on. By no means is Strayed an experienced hiker or camper. Making simple mistakes such as the wrong sized shoes and too heavy of a backpack make her journey that much more challenging. As Strayed travels along the PCT she meets a variety of people with both good and bad intentions. But, she seems to learn a small lesson from each of them. In the end, her journey is truly about re-discovering yourself. Strayed’s brave journey across the Pacific Crest Trail shows how far a woman is willing to go, both figuratively and literally, to find her true self.
One of the reasons that I loved reading this novel was how personal it felt. Almost everyone can unfortunately sympathize with losing someone important in their life and how that loss can change you. As the story unfolds you (as a reader) cannot help but to feel Cheryl’s profound loss. Experiencing her journey also makes the reader focus on important milestones and losses in their own life.
In the end, I am a better person for reading this novel. I walked away a little stronger, a little braver, and a little more in touch with how loss has affected my life. This is a great read. In fact, this novel is such a great read it made Oprah revive her book club.