Book Review: “Wild by Cheryl Strayed”


I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. ~ Jorge Luis Borges. There are people who love to watch heaps of books in their room while others love the smell of freshly printed books. And then there are those whose monthly budget includes expenditure on buying books.

I love reviewing a book. Sometimes I end up buying a book which turns out to be a literary torture and I don’t want anyone to go through the same experience and sometimes, I grab a book which captures the heart and stirs the soul and I want everyone else to to read the book, even at a Gun point :P

This is my second post as book review, I hope people like it!!

Novel: Wild
Author: Cheryl Strayed

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 had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’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: 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, and the trail 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 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.
(Summary from book)

*Disclaimer* – I finished this book in about a 4 days — then I had a function in family, supporting events, and few travels regarding work, and I forgot to write the review. So this is really more of a mini-review based on my impressions and what I can remember about the book…

My Review: Love hiking (for a short time, say for 2-3 hours). My work teach me the importance of hiking; Wild life photography, closeness with nature, peace, unique travel…. everything depends on the ability to HIKE!!

“Wild” follows writer Cheryl Strayed’s attempt to solo hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a winding path of desert, ice, and rainforest that stretches from Mexico to the Canadian border. However, her story really begins long before she sets foot on the trail – in the days and weeks that follow her mother’s diagnosis and sudden death from terminal cancer. Cheryl’s overwhelming grief propels her into a shadowy world of depression, heroin addiction, and sinister way of life that ultimately signify the end of her marriage and the dissolution of other family relationships that send her careening towards rock bottom. Lost and broken, Cheryl quits her job, finalizes her divorce, and sells nearly everything she owns in a quest to find solace and healing on the Pacific Crest Trail. It is there, in “entirely new terrain,” that this completely unseasoned hiker confronts her own demons, meets a variety of interesting characters, lives on pennies, and occasionally ends up shoeless or covered in frogs. Yikes. And EW.

While I enjoyed the opportunity to hike with Cheryl and experience her life through marvelous write up; I don’t know that I would recommend this book to every reader. The book is based on life experiences, which differ from person to person, and everyone may not relate their life with Cheryl. Some of her choices following her mother’s death, though she was entirely entitled to make them, were so far out from real situations! I had difficulty connecting with her story. Despite this lack of attachment, I admired Cheryl’s gutsy decisions to hike and embark on an adventure I know I’d never can have!!

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary: Woman’s remarkable experience as she struggles to overcome grief, loneliness, and addiction. The beauty and difficulties of the Pacific Crest Trail. And the connection with nature though out hiking!

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