By Cheryl Strayed,

Book cover of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Book description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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…

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Why read it?

14 authors picked Wild as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Being forged by nature doesn’t come more visceral than Strayed’s wilderness memoir. Her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, as she sloughs off layer after layer of pain, regret, and disillusionment—along with skin and toenailswhile fortifying herself with newly realized strength, comradery, endurance, and insight, is cathartic for the reader. Scenes where she processes the death of her mother… read only when you need a deep, purging, life-affirming cry. 

This is a book I’ve read more than once. It features a strained mother-daughter relationship made more complicated by a drawn-out battle with cancer. After the death of her mother, author Cheryl Strayed sets out on a 1,100-mile solo hike that begins in Mojave, California and concludes at the Bridge of the Gods in Oregon. This book perfectly balances the fragility of life with the resilience of the human spirit (no catching required). 

From Jessica's list on contemplating your own mortality.

This time I began with the film. "A female adventurer against the wilderness," the blurb stated, and I thought: that’s for me!  I loved the film, then went on to read the book and loved that even more, although I was surprised to find that a lot of the adventures were in Strayed’s head, not dealing with rattlesnakes and falling rocks. It was a reminder that the two kinds of challenges go hand in hand and when I came to write my book these were the two elements – the interior and the exterior – I had to balance to…

Some women deal with grief and marriage breakdown by shopping too much or eating a lot of ice cream. Cheryl Strayed decided to hike from Mexico to Canada instead! Her memoir, Wild, became a bestseller because Cheryl is relatable and you really feel how hard this journey was, and how rewarding. I love her candid and revealing style that made me feel like I was taking every step by her side. If rugged armchair travel is your thing, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a bit like Eat Pray Love, but more Hike Collapse Camp.

This brave, captivating book came out shortly before I published my own memoir. I was drawn to the cover because of the boot. Mine is a different kind of boot, but like hers, is pivotal to the story. 

Another strong woman writing beautifully, fearlessly, and honestly about her past, her childhood, and her shortcomings as a human being on this earth. It’s the story of a girl and her mother as much as it’s the story of pain, loss, and overcoming great odds. Cheryl’s strength and determination ring through on each lyrical page. She paints vivid pictures as we walk…

From Vanessa's list on memoirs by badass women with grit.

Beyond the eloquence in Strayed’s prose is a gritty story of a young lady on a long, perilous mission to accomplish nothing. There is no prize money for her effort, she had no team coaching and inspiring her to win, and not a sponsor or charity in sight to claim a victory for. I found the sheer power of “I can do this thing” drives the story step by step, page by page. A solo travel memoir reveals gold nuggets when the author puts us on the road with them, equally feeling the need to complete the mission.

Not only is this the extraordinary story of Strayed’s solo trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed’s writing is masterful, and it drew me in from the first page. She writes from the heart and has a turn of phrase that elicits empathy and allowed me to vicariously go on this epic journey with her―both the actual trek and her emotional transformation. The stories from her childhood that are interspersed throughout bring even more emotional heft to this book and allowed me to connect with her as a woman. I was blown away by this book.

From Sandy's list on personal growth and transformation.

I loved Strayed’s raw, honest, vivid writing and fearless dive into her deepest, ugliest feelings following the death of her beloved mother. Strayed deals with her grief by smashing up her life and heading out on a grueling, lonely hike. My husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and I was working on my book about our sailing adventure at the time. Little did I know how helpful Wild would be both in dealing with my husband’s passing and in writing my book. I read Wild when it first came out and aspired to write like her.

Not a runner story, but a long-distance amateur hiking story. Who hasn’t dreamt of hiking off into the wilderness with just the pack you can carry? Cheryl is scared, she is healing, and she is growing. Her journey shows what’s possible when you take a leap of faith and follow that voice that nags you to do something extreme. 

From Janet's list on ultrarunning for amateur adventurers.

Wild is the quintessential journey through grief and back to self. There are a handful of experiences that unite all humans and loss is one of these threads. Cheryl weaves her narrative of grief with the powerful magic of wandering in nature. Together they illustrate just how strong our connection to the Earth and each other is.

From Heather's list on for hikertrash and other vagabonds.

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