Alternative Book Club – “Wild: From Lost to Found” by Cheryl Strayed

Wild front cover with boots
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Wild is quite a personal story about the author’s struggle to cope with bereavement and relationships while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It describes various parts of her life before she came to the decision to hike the trail. The story of walking the trail, the encounters she has and the struggles, are interwoven with threads from the past.

I really embraced the story of a woman who doesn’t really know her own strength yet hiking for survival. I felt that each time the author described the beautiful landscape or feeling calm and satisfied with herself, I would also be calm and happy. To be honest, the parts of the story where the author is alone with her thoughts (rather than meeting other people on the trail) were the parts I enjoyed the most. It takes a great writer to be able to return to (sometimes painful) feelings or experiences and write them down in such a way that made readers so aware of the surroundings in a book and that’s one of the things I really admired about the book – it’s like I was growing and becoming “found” with the writer.

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On another note, the story really made me want to go out for a hike! Not just for a day trip, but a long break to think about my life. There are a lot of people out there who feel like they’ve lost their way somehow in their lives and don’t feel fulfilled – whether it’s through bereavement and problematic relationship, or just boredom and lack of direction in their careers. I feel that this book would really resonate with these people as it did with me. I’m at a point where I do have a plan or at least a direction that I want to explore in more depth (this blog is part of that plan), and this book reaffirmed my belief in myself. If I had read this book before I’d manoeuvred myself out of the mire of intellectual frustration I was stuck in, I would have felt that a lengthy solitary hike (or something similarly drastic) would have been a pretty good idea!

Have you read Wild? Did it resonate with you? I haven’t seen the film yet; if you have, do you think it’s worth watching?

After I finished Wild, I read another non-fiction book (A Year of Reading Dangerously, in case you were wondering), but sometimes non-fiction can leave you a bit exhausted and empty. I felt like I needed to fire up my imagination again so I’ve started reading Simon Sebag Montefiore’s One Night in Winter. What are you reading at the moment?


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