Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review of Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not a hiking guide.
This is not a trail log.
This is not a feel-good story.

But you will feel what it's like to hike up to 20 miles a day with a 50-pound pack on your back.
You will be able to imagine the desert, the scrub, the snow, the Douglas fir, the lakes, at different points along the trail.
And you will at times be very proud to be a fellow hiker through this thing we call life.

This is the story of Strayed's journey, both the one her battered feet made over 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the one her heart made in beginning to mend from loss and more loss, from betrayal, from wounds received and given. The journey that made her who she is today. It's a human story of love, mistakes, trial, failure, and success, that happens to take place on a trail, that needed to take place on this particular trail.

Strayed spares no details of the trail when it's important to the story. But more importantly, she spares no detail of her own foibles and failures. The failures that led her to the trail in the first place and the failures that she stumbled through along the way. She is brave to have recorded this portrait of herself--a not always likable, but always lovable, always human, character in her own story. And finally, you get the sense that she's become the person now who has a bigger heart--a live, warm heart--a person who's forgiven her back-then self for such stumblings and has grace for others'. Because at the end of her journey, and if we let ourselves at the end of ours, we learn not only how to be a better person but how to forgive the person we were that helped make us.

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  1. Sarah, have you read Walk Across America (old by Peter Jenkins) - and the sequel - Continuing the Walk or Barefoot Sisters (Letcher sisters) or Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age (Ted Kerasote)? A different kind of "soul" in each story and great outdoor adventures.

    1. I have read Walk Across America--in high school in fact. And I loved it! I haven't read any of the others, but I'll keep an eye out for them. Thanks for the suggestions! I love books like that.