'Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail' by Cheryl Strayed


At the age of 22, Cheryl Strayed unexpectedly lost her mother to cancer, sending her into a downward spiral of deliberate self-destruction and bad choices. Four years later, at the age of 26, Strayed’s marriage is the victim of chronic infidelity, she’s bouncing from one low-paying job to another, and most frighteningly, she’s dabbling in heroin. Strayed needs a way out of the unhappy life she is building for herself and finds in unexpectedly in the form of a guidebook about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is Strayed’s memoir documenting that experience. 

Strayed sets out on her 1,100-mile journey woefully unprepared, with too many supplies, a too-heavy backpack, and little knowledge of long-distance hiking. Choosing a route that will take her from the Mojave Desert in California through Oregon and finally Washington State, Strayed sets out on this seemly impossible solo journey with the hope of piecing her life back together.

Told in a vivid and exciting style, Wild draws the reader into Strayed’s experiences on the Pacific Crest Trail and life before her journey. The reader is given a clear perspective of how Strayed came to the point of taking on this massive physical and mental undertaking. And, although at times you may want to shake her for being so unprepared for the experience, you can understand how the decision to do something so out of character and outlandish would be the route the author would take back to knowing herself.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed was read and discussed by the Young Prose Book Club at the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library in April 2013. For more information about this book club, please visit our Meetup page or contact Megan at megan.biggins@dc.gov.

(You can check out the BookE-Book and Audio Book from DC Public Library.)