Travel Book Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The travel memoir kick continues. Each month I aim to read one memoir or travel-focused book within the three to five books I usually consume. The last book giveaway of Behind the Beautiful Forevers was a serious selection and the giveaway generated a lot of interest. This month I look at a different flavor of book, Cheryl’s Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

This book leapt into my awareness earlier this year as I heard rave reviews from friends and online book clubs. Always one to take a recommendation, I picked up a copy of Wild with mixed feelings—a book about hiking? Could be hit or miss. By the third chapter, I was hooked.

Wild follows Strayed’s journey hiking across 3000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs through the United States and connects the Mexican and Canadian borders. During her long days on the trail, it’s Strayed’s raw honesty about every aspect of her life, her flaws, and her journey that keep it compelling.

Strayed decided to hike the trail after parts of her personal life fell apart. From the aftermath of that, she started her long hike with the hope that clarity of purpose would come on the other side. I deeply understand that impulse; last month I wrote about running my first marathon, and the personal pieces of my life that made that physical task appealing. I also walked 500 miles of along the Camino de Santiago in Spain for the challenge and the inner journey.

Strayed’s writing is vivid and descriptive without ever getting to the point of waxing too poetic on the scenery on her hike, which is what I feared when I first realize it chronicled three months hiking through remote mountains in California and Oregon. She’s also a little wacky, which never hurts: she start the hike without any pre-trip training, she loses her hiking boot over the side of a cliff, and is completely flawed. I just couldn’t help but root for her to come out the other side of her trip changed.

Wild is one of the more compelling memoirs I’ve read this year past year and worth hunting down online or at your local library. If you’re keen to read it, you can find the book on Amazon.

Also note that I deeply, deeply love and was moved by Tiny Beautiful Things, Strayed’s choice collection of articles from her time as “Dear Sugar” for the Rumpus’ advice column.

Book Giveaway

I offered a free copy of Wild to newsletter subscribers and readers.

If you liked the review, I’d be thankful if you shared this post, liked the ALA Facebook page, or supported the site in some way. :)

Read my past travel book reviews, or browse my selection of the best books about countries around the world. And read my reviews policy and disclaimer. Although I occasionally allow a company or author to host a giveaway, I sponsored this month myself. :)

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8 thoughts on “Travel Book Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed”

  1. I am a complete bookworm and her book sound ands great! I hiked solo for 3 days in the Spanish Pyrenees in July last year, which was great for many reasons. It was also a ‘practise run’ for proper travels, and I have a flight booked to Central America in March (and nothing else!) so I am in search of awesome travel reading material, (apart from your blog!) so would be chuffed if I won it!

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  2. I’m about to set out on a similar journey in June, after my retirement. Your review makes the book seem quite compelling…….would love to read it.

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  3. I love this book, it is one of my favorites. I don’t own a copy though and I’d like to take it with me while I travel (I leave March 3 for a year!)
    It makes a great gift, I’ve given it to many friends for birthdays.

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  4. I love reading books written by women who travel solo. Myself I have travelled s The Oregon coast and the acidic coast so would really enjoy reading about Cheryl’s trip.

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  5. Last week I was reading a great review of this book and I was thinking of get it, so this is a great chance to read it and enjoy it!

    Reply

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