Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail

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Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | March 20, 2012 | Hardcover

3.7222 out of 5 rating. 18 Reviews
Oprah''s Book Club 2.0 selection.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe-and built her back up again.
 
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: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State-and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than "an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise." But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
 
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 Pages, 6.3 × 9.45 × 1.18 in

Published: March 20, 2012

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307592731

ISBN - 13: 9780307592736

Found in: Biography and Memoir
“Original voices knock you out. And, that is exactly how I felt reading Cheryl Strayed’s new memoir Wild. At its core, the story of a deep and reverential love between mother and daughter, Wild is a searingly honest account of what it means to lose someone and yourself and then make yourself whole again. Strayed loses her mother to a totally unexpected illness. Shocked and devastated by the loss, her life spirals downward as she seeks out increasingly dangerous pursuits to dull her pain. Sensing her own collapse, and the imperative to change course, Strayed sets out on what can only be described as an awe inspiring journey. Over the course of three gruelling months, she hikes The Pacific Crest Trail with nothing but a backpack and her sheer determination to put one foot in front of the other. She faces down pain, hunger, thirst, injury, black bears and rattlesnakes – but she also discovers new levels of joy, accomplishment, courage and extraordinary friendship. Throughout, Strayed moves us seamlessly between present and past – giving us not only never to be forgotten images of her trek but also a moving account of her relationship with her quite remarkable mother. This book, which in fact brims with optimism, is a tour de force … the Mother’s Day book of this year.” “I cannot recall a book that has so genuinely brought me to tears in the early chapters and yet by book’s end, left me both amazed and comforted by one person’s ability to ‘come out the other end’ of what nature and life serves up. I loved it.” – An Indigo Mom

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– More About This Product –

Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 Pages, 6.3 × 9.45 × 1.18 in

Published: March 20, 2012

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307592731

ISBN - 13: 9780307592736

About the Book

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.

Read from the Book

THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS My solo three-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail had many beginnings. There was the first, flip decision to do it, followed by the second, more serious decision to actually do it, and then the long third beginning, composed of weeks of shopping and packing and preparing to do it. There was the quitting my job as a waitress and finalizing my divorce and selling almost everything I owned and saying goodbye to my friends and visiting my mother’s grave one last time. There was the driving across the country from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon, and, a few days later, catching a flight to Los Angeles and a ride to the town of Mojave and another ride to the place where the PCT crossed a highway. At which point, at long last, there was the actual doing it, quickly followed by the grim realization of what it meant to do it, followed by the decision to quit doing it because doing it was absurd and pointless and ridiculously difficult and far more than I expected doing it would be and I was profoundly unprepared to do it. And then there was the real live truly doing it. The staying and doing it, in spite of everything. In spite of the bears and the rattlesnakes and the scat of the mountain lions I never saw; the blisters and scabs and scrapes and lacerations. The exhaustion and the deprivation; the cold and the heat; the monotony and the pain; the thirst and the hunger; the glory and the ghosts that haunted me as I hikedbeleven hundred miles from the Mo
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From the Publisher

Oprah''s Book Club 2.0 selection.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe-and built her back up again.
 
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: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State-and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than "an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise." But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
 
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

About the Author

Cheryl Strayed is the author of Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and the novel Torch. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, The Rumpus, Self, The Missouri Review, The Sun, and The Best American Essays. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
 
www.cherylstrayed.com

Editorial Reviews

“A rich, riveting true story . . . During her grueling three-month journey, Strayed circled around black bears and rattlesnakes, fought extreme dehydration by drinking oily gray pond water, and hiked in boots made entirely of duct tape.  Reading her matter-of-fact take on love and grief and the soul-saving quality of a Snapple lemonade, you can understand why Strayed has earned a cult following as the author of Dear Sugar, a popular advice column on therumpus.net. . . . With its vivid descriptions of beautiful but unforgiving terrain, Wild is a cinematic story, but Strayed’s book isn’t really about big, cathartic moments. The author never ‘finds herself’ or gets healed. When she reaches the trail’s end, she buys a cheap ice cream cone and continues down the road. . . . It’s hard to imagine anything more important than taking one step at a time. That’s endurance, and that’s what Strayed understands, almost 20 years later. As she writes, ‘There was only one [option], I knew. To keep walking.’ Our verdict: A.” —Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly “Strayed’s journey was as transcendent as it was turbulent. She faced down hunger, thirst, injury, fatigue, boredom, loss, bad weather, and wild animals. Yet she also reached new levels of joy, accomplishment, courage, peace, and found extraordinary companionship.” —Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor     “It&r
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. "The Pacific Crest Trail wasn't a world to me then. It was an idea, vague and outlandish, full of promise and mystery. Something bloomed inside me as I traced its jagged line with my finger on a map" (p. 4). Why did the PCT capture Strayed's imagination at that point in her life?

2. Each section of the book opens with a literary quote or two. What do they tell you about what's to come in the pages that follow? How does Strayed's pairing of, say, Adrienne Rich and Joni Mitchell (p. 45) provide insight into her way of thinking?

3. Strayed is quite forthright in her description of her own transgressions, and while she's remorseful, she never seems ashamed. Is this a sign of strength or a character flaw?

4. "I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told" (p. 51). Fear is a major theme in the book. Do you think Strayed was too afraid, or not afraid enough? When were you most afraid for her?

5. Strayed chose her own last name: "Nothing fit until one day when the word strayed came into my mind. Immediately, I looked it up in the dictionary and knew it was mine . . . : to wander from the proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild, to be without a mother or father, to be without a home, to move about aimlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress" (p. 96). Did she choose well? What did you think when you learned she had assigned this word to herself-that it was no coincidence?

6. On the trail, Strayed encounters mostly men. How does this work in her favor? What role does gender play when removed from the usual structure of society?

7. What does the reader learn from the horrific episode in which Strayed and her brother put down their mother's horse?

8. Strayed writes that the point of the PCT "had only to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets" (p. 207). How does this sensation help Strayed to find her way back into the world beyond the wilderness?

9. On her journey, Strayed carries several totems. What does the black feather mean to her? And the POW bracelet? Why does she find its loss (p. 238) symbolic?

10. Does the hike help Strayed to get over Paul? If so, how? And if not, why?

11. Strayed says her mother's death "had obliterated me. . . . I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill" (p 267). How did being on the PCT on her mother's fiftieth birthday help Strayed to heal this wound?

12. What was it about Strayed that inspired the generosity of so many strangers on the PCT?

13. "There's no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. . . . But I was pretty certain as I sat there that night that if it hadn't been for Eddie, I wouldn't have found myself on the PCT" (p. 304). How does this realization change Strayed's attitude towards her stepfather?

14. To lighten her load, Strayed burns each book as she reads it. Why doesn't she burn the Adrienne Rich collection?

15. What role do books and reading play in this often solitary journey?

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