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My thoughts on the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed has guts. I don’t mean because she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone…but for writing a book this honest. She is very open with readers about her poor decisions and intimate thoughts. I mean, she really puts it all out there. That takes some serious courage. I think it’s really great that she was so real about that time of her life. Obviously, being a novelist…she’s going to write about it and it made a great book! That being said, at one point Strayed was an advice columnist. There is no way I’d ever want her advice. We are all guilty of making bad decisions. But the choices she made I couldn’t even fathom the logic behind them.

Regardless if I agreed with her views or decisions, I really enjoyed reading Wild. I’m not a big fan of non-fiction books, but I really did like this one! I don’t know if it’s because I kept hoping for some sort of redemptive moment at the end or because I was so aghast at the bad decisions she made or if I wanted to hear more about the technique behind a hike like this…maybe it was all three?

I had never heard of the Pacific Crest Trail but I am well aware of the Appalachian Trail here on the East Coast. I always wondered what it was like to quit your job and just set out to hike the whole thing, as many do. I was curious about how it logistically worked and Cheryl really explains it well. The logistics of hiking for months really fascinates me. I really do think that’s one of the reasons I kept reading. I liked hearing how she operated. How many miles did she hike each day? Did she just walk all day? How did she go to the bathroom? Did she shower? What if she got hurt? How many shirts did she have? Did she need money? Where did she get food?

There is a lot of symbolism between the weight she carries in her heart and the heavy pack she wears while hiking. The scars her heart bares and her hiking boots that tear her feet to pieces. My heart broke for her and the pain she carried by the loss of her mom. It was really sad that her method of grieving was wrecking her own life. I think her story is really relatable because we’ve all experienced heartache and loss. I think a lot of people don’t know what to do with all the pain or confusion they have inside them. Her book made me want to go on a hiking journey, it made me cry, made me think, shocked me and made me smile.

It also made me really sad that there was no redemptive moment at the end. From what she describes, up until the end of her journey she is still making decisions I would say are not smart. I thought she would have an epiphany on the trail or something, but I felt like there never really was one. I guess really the only good thing was that she finally came to grips with the death of her mom and was able to move forward.

Overall, It was a really great book. I give it 4 and a half hiking boots…because Strayed lost one while she was hiking.

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