Wild by Cheryl Strayed

*Trigger Warnings for the book/movie: sex, drug use, vomiting, body gore

Wild is a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed of her several month trek on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. She took to the trail a few years after her mother’s death nearly broke her and she was dealing with a crumbling family, drugs, and an ending marriage.

I originally saw the movie before reading the book and while the movie was done well enough, it would have definitely helped to read the book first. The movie starts with Cheryl starting on the trail and has flashbacks to why she’s walking from California to the Oregon/Washington border throughout. As someone who had very little knowledge of the story, I was a bit confused for the first part of the movie trying to figure out what had happened before the trail.

The book is definitely well written but ultimately, it wasn’t mind blowing or revolutionary. Her several month trek (and subsequent memoir) happen in a relatively predictable way so there weren’t many surprises or particularly gripping parts. It’s not that the book was poorly written or that the trek was a terrible journey – it was just predictable. Woman loses mother, goes through several rough years of sex and drug use, goes on several month hike, finds herself again.

Ultimately, the book was really well written – Strayed is definitely a writer with a strong voice. It’s definitely a book I’m glad I read but probably will not pick up again. While the journey is predictable to a certain extent, I would recommend reading it if you are into hiking and backpacking.

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