Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail”, was a heart-breaking, heart-warming and tricky tale, leaving readers crying and laughing all the way through its 336 pages.

It is written in first person by the main character, Cheryl.

It begins with a little bit of backstory on her strange life as a young person and all the hardships she endures, including losing her mother at age 22 from cancer, her heroin addictions caused by her toxic ex-boyfriend and her divorce with her seemingly perfect husband.

It then shifts to her describing her 1,100 mile solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail where she chronicles the literal ups and downs, as well as the figurative ones during her voyage of self-discovery.

Strayed decides to begin her adventure after picking up a book about the Pacific Crest Trail and indulging in the idea of doing something bigger than what she has in the past.

She gives into the excitement and unknown, and begins to train her body to complete the west coast hiking trail.

During her journey, she encounters several people, all of whom she ends up connecting with on some level and works hard to not let herself give into temptations with many of the men she encounters, as that became one of her coping mechanisms after her mother passed away.

Wild was on Oprah’s Book Club and held a spot on the New York Time’s Best Seller’s list for several weeks. It was later made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

As a young woman and self-proclaimed “traveler”, this memoir appealed to me in many ways.

While some critics have judged this book to be “whiny”, I respectfully disagree.

What I got from reading this book was that people handle things in many different ways and Strayed was no different.

She described every part of her journey, whether it be personal or less so, she let her readers understand that everyone copes in a different way; it’s how you bounce back once you’ve hit your low point that is even more important.

She allows the readers to immerse themselves into the feelings and emotions that she was faced with.

While I was reading this memoir, the wheels started turning and I began to research a lot about the Pacific Crest Trail because of Strayed’s experience.

I believe any person, young or old, can resonate with many of the things in this book. As long as it is understood, it isn’t meant to be an extremely well-written, educational book.

It is the story of a woman finding herself and working towards making herself a better person, someone she can love.

Overall, this book allowed me to think outside of the box and begin to think of all of the options and opportunities there are in the world.

I would give the book a B because of the story and plot, but nothing more because of some of the mistakes and typos, along with some grammatical errors.

Mary Curtin can be contacted at

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