Book Review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed


Sometimes readers, you should count yourselves lucky that you are not friends of mine on Facebook.  As I read this book, they were stuck listening to my almost daily griping about it.  I know it was a best seller, I know it was an Oprah booklist book (that shoulda warned me), but I am telling you, I should NOT have wasted my money on it!  At least I did an e-book, so I didn’t kill trees…

Now I really like what I call Adventure Books.  Hiking, biking, mountain climbing, rafting, arctic travel, I have an entire library up in the attic of these books.  So when I heard about a lady hiking the Pacific Crest trail (PCT) solo, I knew I would buy it!

Now this lady had some issues.  Her mom died of cancer, she ended up divorcing her husband and tailspinning down to heroin use.  This was one messed up woman.  One day in REI, while buying a shovel to dig out her car, she looked over a guide-book for hiking the PCT, and she decided to do it!

OK, so far I am ok with this, the mountains are good for your soul.  Get the gear, train for it, learn what you need to learn for hiking, and give it a go, heal yourself….

Yeah, not so much.  OK, she gets decent gear, from REI, but never once puts on her boots, loads her backpack or hikes (shoot, never even walked around the house) while wearing the pack.  Day one, at the hotel at the start of her trek, she finally loads the thing, and finds out she can’t lift it….

Then, after getting underway, she can’t light her stove, turns out she filled it with unleaded gas….  (Again a practice hike or two would’ve helped learn these things…)

Let’s see, she has an ice axe, but doesn’t know how to use it, no trekking poles, but brings a whole box of condoms???

But, being alone, in her 20s and cute, plus the only single female for miles, real hikers help her, teach her and she survives…  Though I was kind of hoping she would get eaten by a bear at a few points in the book.

And how does someone, in the middle of the woods, lose her boots!!!!!?????

OK, enough ripping on it.  I really do not recommend this.  But I think it’s because I am a guy.  My good friend Debra tells me part of the beauty of the book is that she wasn’t prepared and grew in spirit, strength and knowledge.

I see someone who got damn lucky the mountain gods were lenient (she work cotton???  Cotton kills!) and now she is cashing in on it.  I will give her props in one way though, she hiked farther than I will probably ever will, she DID carry duct tape, which saved her butt, and she never once asked anyone to carry her stuff.  Dumb yes.  Bear fodder, coulda been, but she sucked it up.

I really coulda done without the sex scenes or her describing her body, in complete detail, including (as Kaylee from Firefly call it) her Nether Regions!

I would have to call this a chick book that happened in the woods.  I gave it 2 stars simply due to the duct tape….

I was really rooting for the bear….

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

  1. I completely agree! As an avid backpacker, this book seriously pissed me off. The premise of the book is lovely (the whole reason I picked it up in the first place) but “Cheryl Strayed” is so unlikable (and so woefully unprepared) I just couldn’t handle it. I, as well, was rooting for her to get eaten by a bear or at least attacked by a mountain lion….

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