Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction
Originally Published: 2012
Format: Audiobook (315pages)
Synopsis: At 26, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk 1,100 miles of the west coast of America – from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington State – and to do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.
My Rating: ★★★★
Wild is a very honest memoir of Cheryl Strayed’s life and the journey she took through the PCT to rediscover herself.
I don’t know why it took me so long to finally read this. I’d owned a paperback for months before finally downloading the audiobook and taking the plunge last week. I’m glad that I decided on the audiobook actually as I generally have found this year that this is my preferred platform for most memoirs. They seem a lot more personal when you are listening to them and I thought the narrator did a great job on this one.
From learning about Cheryl’s struggles with her father, her own lovers and the painful loss of her mother, this book doesn’t really live much to doubt about why she decided to embark on her own journey. From beginning to end, this book is full of emotionally charged moments: both laugh out loud moments and cry into a pillow moments. I really enjoyed the way in which this flickered back between Cheryl’s life experiences and her trek on the PCT. I thought writing the book this way kept it more interesting as I never got bored of hearing about either one too often. Some of her experiences on the trail did leave me feeling a little nauseous (queue the losing of toe nails!!) but she definitely left me feeling inspired. Sometimes it takes a really bad life experience like losing a loved on to realise how important life is and sometimes to be truly happy you’ve got to give yourself the chance to experience life. I learnt a lot from Cheryl’s outlook on life whilst listening to this and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading memoirs.
What did I love most about the book?
Her honesty. From the very start right up until the very end, this book was so honest and that was really refreshing. She didn’t skip over the not so great parts of her life, she talked about everything head on and I can imagine it must have been very therapeutic to write this and truly discover herself.
“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.”
“The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.”
“I didn’t feel sad or happy. I didn’t feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right.”
Touching, beautifully written and emotional, this book will leave you feeling inspired and content.
Have you read Wild? What did you think?
Do you prefer to read memoirs or listen to them? Do you have any you recommend?