Wild

Cheryl Strayed, the name the author adopted when divorcing her first husband, is a descriptor for her sense of self. Her memoir, Wild, elaborates. It’s a brutally candid, fascinating account of a sort of penitential hike of over a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Although much of her early life was outdoorsy in very rustic conditions in northern Minnesota, she had never actually done any hiking.  Her preparation for the long hike was buying equipment and arranging supply boxes to be mailed to her every 150 miles or so. She didn’t actually read the guide book that had inspired her to do the hike until the day she started it. And the actual preparation she had done was a bit off mark. Once she packed her gear, she found the back pack too heavy to lift. But she does carry out her plan, a hike from the Mojave Desert to Oregon. Wild recounts the remarkable trek which is much more than a physical achievement. The journey is an age-old growth and redemption motif in literature and Cheryl develops it with humilty and humor. She’s a pilgrim on a quest. Wild is wonderfully written, irresistible, a book you are sorry to come to an end.