Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I really, really wanted to love this book. I wanted to open the pages and read the same kind of wisdom and deep insight that I found in Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. At first, I thought I would as I was totally absorbed by the first half of the book, but as I kept reading I was left wanting and disappointed.

After the swift and unexpected death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed, only twenty-two, thought she had lost everything. Spiraling downward in a pattern of self-destruction that included the end of her marriage, sex with strangers, drug abuse and even an abortion, Cheryl finally fixated on the idea of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Deseret through California and Oregon to Washington State. And to do it all alone, with no serious long-distance hiking experience or knowledge of backpacking. All in hopes of finding herself again in the solitude of the trail.

This memoir is beautifully written and surprisingly honest, but I found it lacking in the depth that I expect from such a book. I kept waiting for the breakthrough, for the wisdom and healing, and while it did occur in small degrees, it was mostly her continuing to be selfish and self-destructive. There was no redemption and that was what I expected.

So as much as I wanted to love this book, I did not.

Content note: Frequent foul language, mostly the F-word; sex scenes and sexual references; author has an abortion and uses drugs, including heroin.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

  1. I too was excited about the book, after hearing good things, but once I got to the point where she had the abortion, I was so upset with her hypocrisy and behavior, that I went all the way to the last few pages to finish off the book. Like you said, it didnt seem like much of a payoff to me either, as she just walked out from the woods and into a town, and for me to find out from you she continued that behavior, is just very depressing. One could argue that it was just the reaction to her mom dying, but not me. I am not a woman (and yes I am pro life), but just in the reading of the book, it seemed very selfish of her to for one, have the abortion, and two, not spend more than what, one sentence on how that made her feel? (something to the effect of: getting an abortion was super obvious). It was a very very frustrating read.

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