What’s it about? Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is a powerful memoir following the journey of Cheryl Strayed as she sets out on a 1100-mile solo hike up the Pacific Crest Trail. While the book contains plenty of adventure – Cheryl faces rattlesnakes, black bears, intense heat, record snowfalls and predatory men – the main story is Cheryl’s personal journey of piecing together a life that has come undone as a result of personal disasters, tragedies and poor life decisions.
At the age of 22 Cheryl lost her mother to lung cancer. As her family splinters apart and her marriage collapses, Cheryl begins to experiment with heroin and casual sex. At 26, with nothing more to lose, she made an impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – and to do it alone. She not only survives the journey, she emerges stronger – healed – and finally willing to forgive herself for her mistakes.
Is the narrator any good? Bernadette Dunne’s narration is excellent. Her reading is smooth and consistent, while also perfectly capturing the author’s grit and heart.
The verdict? In Wild, Cheryl skillfully weaves together an inspiring adventure story of physical struggling and succeeding against all odds, with a reflection on coming to terms with grief and abandonment. The raw emotional power made this audiobook hard to stop listening to. I also appreciated the honesty, humor and self-awareness with which Cheryl describes her journey.
To sum up: I loved this audiobook, and I can see why Oprah decided to pick it for her Book Club 2.0.