WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail ~ by Cheryl Strayed
I thoroughly enjoyed reading WILD and was very happy that one of my book groups chose it for this month’s selection. It is a good read and I find it enjoyable to discover the route of various “self-discovery” biographies and in discovering how others have made significant changes in their lives.
I especially enjoyed WILD, because I heard Cheryl Strayed being interviewed on a radio show and she included in her discussion why she took some time to integrate the lessons of the journey before writing her experience and getting it published. I enjoyed the author’s including additional stories and more information on the Pacific Coast Trail.
After Cheryl’s mother died of a very aggressive form of cancer, the author was having difficulty finding her inner self. She was wandering and exploring, but unable to write the last paper to graduate from college. At 18, she was trying to hold the family together and walk in her mother’s shoes and keep everything connected to assist her siblings. Strayed and her husband spent some time moving around and trying on various locations to see if leaving Minnesota would help her find her way. She struck off on her own to Portland, Oregon and there disappeared into a heroin addiction. Loving husband to the rescue and detox later she came across the field guide to the Pacific Crest Trail Book 1: California. It drew her in and captured her heart and soul.
At 22, she divorced her husband and bought a “too big” backpack and boots from REI in Minnesota. She did not work out or study to make preparations, she just purchased what the field guide suggested, made up boxes with new supplies for each rest stop, and dropped $20 in a Ziploc baggie inside each re-supply box.
Her friend in Portland shipped the resupply boxes as she called and let her know the next location.
Cheryl was determined to do the 1,000 miles of the trail alone, beginning in Mojave, California and within 4 months’ time. She enjoyed being in nature, contemplating, singing, and discovering the wild life and beasties of the trail. She met a number of interesting people and has stayed in touch with some of them. She strengthened her resolve and problem-solved a number of life-changing situations. I often felt as though I was right there under the stars, too hot and too cold. I could identify with the blisters and lost toe nails each step of her journey. I think I even enjoyed her ice cream cone when she reached the Columbia River as much as she did.
What a great summer read. What a great opportunity to witness how someone else explored their values, their relationships, and their perceptions. Her tributes and sharing of her mother’s gifts and bounty were worth the whole read. That Cheryl found her center in writing on this venture; one can tell that this medium will keep her moving forward on her journey to her authentic self.
OPRAH put WILD on her book group list.
I gave this book a good solid 4 and hope you will pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did. I enjoyed feeling part of nature and being well grounded on that 2 foot wide trail!
No one asked me to review this book and it was a Kindle purchase which I added to my personal library.