Written by Cheryl Strayed, Wild is a memoir focused on Strayed's navigation of her grief and the mountain wildernesses of the western US. After the death of her mother, Strayed decides to hike the PCT with little planning to "fill the hole in [her] heart."
I've always been curious of hiking (especially backpacking) as my dad loved to tell me stories about the time he spent hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. I haven't gotten to experience much hiking because I live in Texas, so I was quite excited when I came across this book.
One fault of the book is how similar many of the scenes are. Repetition is an important element of writing, but Strayed overuses it, using more or less the same turns of phrase to describe her emotions. I would have liked to see more of her struggles with grief on the trail itself, not just her grief before she went on her hike. Presumably, she also went through negative emotions on the trail along with the positive + the expected exhaustion.
Frankly, it's amazing Strayed safely navigated the trail alone. She hitchhiked with complete strangers on many occasions, encountered rattlesnakes, carried too little water and a too heavy bag, and walked for a few days with duct-taped sandals as shoes. I can imagine there was a little embellishment involved, but it's still an absolute feat. This comment is separate from my writing judgements.
Wild is an entertaining book for those who love memoirs of nature and grief. I was absorbed by Strayed's story, though some of her arrogance pulled me out of it.