Wild by Cheryl Strayed

WildTP_Books-330Wild by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wildpowerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Robin: I had mixed feelings. This book is well written technique wise, with smooth transitions from flashback to her journey. But it was too pat. The analogies too apparent, like the clear cut analogy. I felt like an editor must have done the transitions. I had the same emotional reaction to this book as I did to Aaron Ralston’s book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” DISGUST. Why? Because these people are irresponsible, putting themselves in danger through impulsive actions, and then whining about it. And making money off of it. Yep, I know, no one wants to read about the boring adventures of someone who trained and planned and made the trip safely. At the beginning of Wild each chapter introduced something that made me dislike Cheryl – heroin use, cheating on her husband, even changing her name! I tried to have some sympathy for the character, but couldn’t pull it together. Rate: 2 stars

Laura: I really liked the book A Walk In the Woods better because it had a good writer, funny, character observations interesting, a joy of hiking the Appalachian trail. In this book, I didn’t want her vision of places that I treasure, I don’t want her messing up my memory of my walks. I just got tired of hearing about her pains, her conflicts, I didn’t want any more angst. I don’t need to add someone else’s angst to my life. Star: 2.0

Gloria: I would change the title from “Wild” to “Stupid.” There was nothing wild, she’s not a good writer, the book felt like it was written to make money, there was nothing enlightening about the Pacific Crest Trail, which I’ve always wanted to hike.  She wasn’t prepared for the hike. I didn’t like anything about the story –  not the person, not the story, and as a person who buys books, I don’t want to encourage that kind of writing. Rate: .75

Cindy: Only read the first three chapters and took it back. I hated it because I didn’t like her. I didn’t like how she talked about nature, she was stupid. I could only see the story not getting better. I wondered is there going to be a moment that was redemptive, so I read the end. And there wasn’t. So I didn’t finish. Rate: .5

Lynne: She was totally stupid, it was kind of like Eat, Pray, Love, a whiner, she created her own problems. I didn’t take it seriously, it was just a silly little book. I didn’t hate it. I thought he scene with the horse was interesting, sad, but interesting. Her mother died, blew her away, screwed her up, made her do all these dumb things. but she decided to shoot the horse to put it out of its suffering. It was too contrived – like she is trying to make you feel a certain way – Stars: 3.0

Kristina: I read the whole book before our meeting, isn’t that amazing! I got to the end. I was entertained by the angst. I wasn’t sure she was going to finish the trip. Well, she did hop off the trail. I liked that it took place in areas familiar to me. She wasn’t the most compelling character, but I did feel sorry for her. I would love to do something like (hike the PCT) some day. I don’t know if everybody who did what she did would feel like they were unprepared. The boots falling off the mountain was ridiculous. Would anyone really do that? Rate: 3.0 stars

Linda: I’m going to buck the trend. I can dislike the character and still like the book. I read Angela’s ashes and I wanted to slap Angela, but I enjoyed the book. I thought Strayed had interesting things to say and an interesting way to say them. Like “Fear, to a great extent, is born of the story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told”. In Wild, everything she did wrong, led to the ultimate healing. She was able to see that. That was the theme of the story. A personal thing, for example aloneness and the pluses and minuses was a strong theme, one I can relate to. She started out fearing and and feeling sorry for herself. but in the end she was scared of the opposite things – in the beginning scared of being alone, and in the end scared of not doing it anymore. She made positive movement. I thought she was a fair writer. Another quote I loved “I realized I didn’t understand what a mountain was . . . they were . . . layered and complex, inexplicable and analagous to nothing. Each time I reached a place that I thought was the top of the mountain I was wrong. There was still more up to go”.  God, I know that feeling. There’s still more up to go.  I was very touched by the book. Rate: 4.0 stars

Paula: I enjoyed the beginning of the book. By the end, every time I read a chapter or two, I kept waiting for it to be over. I kept asking myself how much longer is it going to take for this book to finish? I had the same feelings as others, frustrated by her stupidity,  but I was willing to give her some credit that the trip changed her life and she became a healthy, healed person, in spite of all the stupid things. She was obsessed with her mother’s death. She would have been a lot better off if she compartmentalized it. I have lost people, and I know the need to move on. I was glad she ended up with a good person. I didn’t think it was well written, but I let that go for the entertainment value. Stars: 2.5


  1. Thanks for all the reviews which were well written and helpful. With so many good books to read, I am thankful I don’t have to read this one! I would hate to see it rise to stardom as “Eat Pray Love'” as whining should bot be rewarded! Thank you members of the Book Club.

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