Thoughts  Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Published March 20th 2012 by Random House Audio Publishing Group. 13+ hours (Hardback copy is 315 pages)

For The Bookies, my IRL Book Club.

I first wanted to read it after hearing about it on The Sophisticated Dork’s blog where she raved about it to the positive. I had just finished the audio of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and had been wondering if women ever went on these quests for spiritual enlightenment – not that that is specifically what Into the Wild is all about – only speculated – nor that Wild is about a female wanderer attempting to get away from it all. Still, I thought they might be good companion reads.

Second, Oprah opens up her book club again and selects this book.

Then, our book club selected it. I admit to being rather eager to vote for this.

I chose audio because I am really enjoying the ability to ‘read’ books AND do other things like mow the lawn. Audiobook-reading is the BEST!

It’s about how this young woman who was having trouble getting over the death of her mother from cancer decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

However, upon announcing to Twitter that I was now beginning Wild on audio, the feedback was less than flattering; I got the impression it was lots of sex and too much poor-me whining.

For the record, I did think she was incredibly stupid for embarking on this journey so woefully unprepared. Who gets to the start of the path and hasn’t even ever figured out how to fill her backpack and whether or not you can lift it?  Seriously?!

On one hand, she did try to move on and get her life back on a more healthy track despite being a slut and a heroin addict. But on the other, she slept around heedlessly and she screwed up her marriage to what seemed like a helluva nice guy. A point in her favor was that her reading choices were eclectic and inspired. And she did manage to plan for care packages to be mailed to stops along the trail – that showed forethought. And packing all those condoms for the trip could be construed as responsible planning. “Be prepared” is a good-motto. However, filling her campstove with the incorrect fuel was boneheaded.

Yes, sex is mentioned a LOT, but she didn’t really have but one hook-up along the PCT. Yes, I was keeping count.

I just failed to get a sense of how arduous and amazing it could be to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Sure, she complained about her toe nails falling off and her letting the boots fall off the cliff. It was hot, it got cold. She admired the deer who bounded into her path and the lovely massage from the frogs. She avoided getting snake bit – yay! But the trail, I wanted more of the trail.

This review is sounding almost as negative as the impression I got beforehand but I didn’t find it all that bad. It was easy to listen to. The narrator’s voice was believable and engaged.

She had adventures and she survived. Many people think she was incredibly brave.

As for it being a female companion read to the male psyche of Christopher McCandless and his Alaska Odyssey? um, NOT REALLY.

For a great review and 5-star rating from a friend whose opinion I value, read Kim’s at Sophisticated Dorkiness.

For a quick review from another blogger who often charms and delights (warning, she wasn’t impressed), try Softdrink’s at Fizzy Thoughts.


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

26 thoughts on “Wild

  1. I’m glad the audio version was at least enjoyable to listen to. The print version had repeats of the exact same sentence in more than one place and just a few pages later. I noticed it early on and of course, the fact that I didn’t like and then had to deal with all these editorial errors bugged me. I had little patience for it which I’m sure you noticed.

  2. I’ve been meaning to draft up a post about this one but my stepmom borrowed my copy (she loved and has been recommending it like crazy) and then my dad read. He was a little less impressed…as you can imagine. I finally got my copy back but all of my dogeared pages with the quotes I liked are gone!! Guess dad didn’t like me dogearing the book.

    Anyway–I really enjoyed this one and didn’t even realize there was whining until our book club met about it. They compared her to Eat, Pray, Love but other than the normal ailments from hiking, I didn’t get the complaining part. I was annoyed at her for the sex and the heroin use before the hike, but she was also young. I think people forget that she was only 26 when she did the hike. Dunno…feel like I need to defend this book. Kind of makes me sad that so many people seem to dislike it recently!

  3. I think I’m going to wait a while for this one. I recently read a similar book by Bill Bryson, A WALK IN THE WOODS. He hiked the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast. He is funny and well-read, and I found myself just carried along on the journey.

    1. I think the AT would be awesome. This might be a good companion read to Wild – I have it on my tbr, might have to move it up a bit. Thanks for the idea!

  4. You shoulda been there on Saturday when I was at lunch with Ti and Amy and OJ and Florinda. Ti and I did nothing but bitch about this one. It coulda used a champion.

  5. litandlife

    Well, damn – even tho Kim loved it, with Jill and Ti not so much, I had kind of written this one off. Now I’m going to have to reconsider. Maybe knowing some of the stupid things going in will help me not get so pissed at Strayed.

    1. Seriously, my book club is made up of lovely intelligent considerate women. And they LOVE it! So maybe Ti and Softdrink and I are lacking … something? Although, I really didn’t find the whole book annyoying. Mostly her lack of trek-preparedness.
      Reminds me The Paris Wife – did you read that one? I DNF-ed it because the character annoyed me (especially her impractical shoes to hike the Alps!) See a theme? My bookclub LOVED that book, too.

  6. I didn’t hate it as much as Ti and Fizzy Jill. She was really dumb about a lot of stuff but she was in a really dumb place in life. And I think the fact that she pulled it off speaks volumes. She has grit … and I think that is overlooked. I think part of the problem is that she went with the “flashy” stuff instead of the hiking stuff in order to sell books and I think she ultimately sold herself short. She did, in the end, hike 1100 miles mostly alone. That isn’t nothing.

  7. Literary Feline

    I have noticed a lot of books like this popping up recently–I mean the whole dealing with grief adventures. Or maybe it just seems that way since I lost my dad less than a year ago. Regardless, I haven’t been drawn to these types of books even despite that. This book does sound like it would make a great book club choice in terms of creating discussion.

  8. Hmmmm…. I bought this one on Nook because of the Oprah pick (I’m an Oprah geek, I admit it.) She said such great things about the spirituality of the journey. But setting out so unprepared really makes me wonder…?? I’m sure I’ll still read it, but it may not be as close to the top of the list as it was.

  9. Pingback: Tiny Beautiful Things – Care's Books and Pie

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