Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Knopf, 2012. 315 pgs. Biography
When she was 26 years old, Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail--2600 miles from the Mexican border into Canada--to pull herself out of the pit she fell into when her mother died, a pit filled with infidelity and drug use. Divorced from her husband, and determined to make the trek alone, she starts off with a way-too-big pack, and way-too-short boots to make her way through blistering heat, insurmountable snow slides, snake-infested rock slides, and encounters on the trail with moose, bear, and lascivious jerks. Strayed recounts her youthful ravaging and rebuilding adventures with clear-eyed immediacy. We feel her need for a cold fruit drink that she can't afford, and the painful ruin of her feet as toenail after toenail comes off. It is painful to see her resume her pattern of meaningless and perhaps hazardous liaisons as she tries to fill the emptiness of the losses in her life. But on the whole, Oprah Winfrey made a good choice of a title to bring her book club back to life. One will not soon forget this young woman's persistence, courage, and refusal to give up her goal when by all right she should have quit. But she didn't.