With talk of a film adaptation coming soon, I knew I was running out of time to read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. As someone who believes that the book is always better than the movie, I knew it was time to break the self-imposed book-buying ban.
After several life-changing events Strayed saves every cent earned at her waitressing job to buy everything she’ll need to spend three months, alone, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from southern California to the Oregon-Washington border. She’s not an experienced hiker, but the trail calls to her from her trusty guidebook The Pacific Crest Trail Volume 1: California. The journey doesn’t start without a hitch. Instead, Strayed struggles with her pack in the hotel room and once on the trail through the Mojave Desert she realizes that hiking is not just like walking.
Faced with blistered and battered feet, raw shoulders and hips, and relentless weather variations, Strayed’s journey is anything but easy. The PCT doesn’t just come with the dangers of bears, mountains, snow, and relentless heat. It’s a lonely place that forces Strayed to look closely at herself, her emotions and regardless of the despair she may feel, forces her to keeping moving forward.
Easy to read, engaging and emotional in a way that wasn’t expected, Cheryl Strayed gave more than I asked for. A physical and spiritual journey, Wild is heartbreaking, harrowing, and inspirational.
Ashley Houk is an Online Editorial Assistant for Ogden Publications, the parent company of Utne Reader. When she’s not reviewing books and producing online content for Ogden, she’s probably still reading and vigorously scribbling poems, or blog posts of her own. Find her on Tumblr.