Wild

by jenna on July 7, 2012

I read this book last weekend when we were in Tahoe. It seemed like a very “Tahoe-ish” book to read while relaxing in the hammock. While reading, I actually got so excited about it, called my mom and told her I found a great book that she should read. She asked for the name and I said, “Wild. It’s a book about a girl that hikes the entire Pacific Crest Trail—all 2,650 miles of it—by herself. It’s insane”. She paused. Then laughed. Then said she was currently reading the same book and halfway through. Like mother like daughter, right?

I really enjoyed this book. In general, I really enjoy survival stories just because I think it’s just nuts what our bodies can put up with outside of our comfort zone. I was a big fan of Hatchet and Julie of the Wolves when I was a kid. I also really enjoy reading memoirs written by women dealing with grief. Maybe that’s an odd, slightly dark, subject matter, but since I wrote one myself I’m pretty partial.

In Wild, Cheryl deals with the death of her mother by taking her grief out on the trail. She decides to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, all the way from the California border near Mexico to Oregon, by herself. I think I was immediately drawn to this book because I thought, “I could NEVER do that.” And she did it! I couldn’t really relate to the main character much, but I still loved reading about her experience. Are you guys fans of survival tales? I liked Into the Wild but it made me crazy by the end.

On that note, Adam and I are doing a hike around here today….we probably won’t last as long as Cheryl did though. I’m thinking four miles….then stopping for ice cream.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) July 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

Have you ever hiked any of the pacific crest trail? It’s beautiful. Last month when I was in Truckee, my friends and I did 9.25 miles. I’ve also hiked about 15 miles of it near Shasta — such a great trail. I’ll have to check this book out asap!

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Jennifer July 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

It must be good 126 people have holds before me at the public library.

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Cristen July 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

Thank you for this review! Now I want to read it even more. If you liked Wild, you should check out the Barefoot Sister books. These two sisters, Lucy and Susan, wrote about their times hiking the Appalachian Trail while barefoot. They actually hiked it twice. I finished the book within a day it was so good.

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Karen July 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

I loved this book. I related mostly to the tight bond between mother and daughter and how difficult it would/will be to lose my dear mother one day. I also loved the whole idea of resolving one’s emotional difficulties through physical challenge. Finally, it was that rare memoir that was both believable and well written. In fact, I am considering buying her other books. Have fun on your 4 miler, Jenna! :)

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

Ice cream is pretty much an unspoken requirement anytime I do anything physical outdoors these days. You get so sweaty, that you simply MUST eat ice cream after! ;)

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Erin @ erinberries July 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

That book is on my “Books to Read” list! I’ll definitely check it out once I finish the series I’m reading currently. Right now I’m in the middle of A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones). Each book is like 700 pages so it was a pretty big commitment to take on this summer.

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Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope July 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I lost my mother over a year ago, so this definitely sounds like something up my alley. Thanks!

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Sarah July 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I saw this at Costco and thought it looked good! I’m glad to hear that it is! It’ll be on my list after I finish “Love Does” by Bob Goff (which I think you’d like)!

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Emily July 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’ve been eying that book for a while now. I’m too cheap to buy it, even on Kindle, but it’s on the library list! Right now I’m reading my way through the “Clan of the Cave Bear” series. If you like survival books, these are really fun!

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Jan July 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I LOVED Hatchet and Julie of the Wolves as a kid! Do you read My Side of the Mountain? That was good, too. I am going to have to check this book out!

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luv what you do July 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I’ve heard about this book and read great reviews. I am not that into survival tales, but was interested in this woman dealing with real issues on the trail. Thanks for the review! I am always so impressed with how many books you read each month!

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Dana July 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I just ordered this book online! Read the preface at Chapters here in Toronto during my lunch break from work and ever since I’ve been dying to dive in and being reading!!! Glad to hear you enjoyed it :)

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Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I’m so glad you posted about this! I heard about this book somewhere & added it to my Books To Read list a few months ago, but always appreciate hearing more reviews before diving in and actually reading a book. Now I’ll make a point of making it my next book to read!

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Devon | the food bitch blog July 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Being a little white girl, I’m totally afraid of doing stuff like that on my own… so it sounds like an interesting read! Maybe I’ll pick it up for my flight to SF in two weeks.

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Abby July 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

ohh I was just looking for my next book! I’ll have to give this a try, it sounds great :)

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Kristin@CelebratetheGoodness July 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

So glad to hear you liked this book. I have it on hold at the library as well. I had read good reviews and now yours makes another! I read Into the Wild too..liked the book more than the movie.

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Addy July 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This is next on my ‘to-read’ list, too! It really looks interesting, mostly because never would I ever think of hiking 2,600 BY MYSELF. And I’m on the same page (haha) with you about Into The Wild – cannot handle it!

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Liz @ iheartvegetables July 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Yeah I don’t think I could do that! I’m more the hike 4 miles, then grab ice cream kind of person, too ;)

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Dawn F. July 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Years ago, I found myself in a phase where I loved reading about the adventures of high-altitude mountaineers (I know, pretty specific, huh?). I read book after book, partially b/c, like you, I loved reading about what the human body/mind/heart can do (especially above, “the death zone,” which is above 25,000 feet above sea level) and b/c I kept wondering what on earth drove these climbers to pursue such a potentially deadly sport. Have you ever read, “Into Thin Air” by J. Krakauer?

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jenna July 8, 2012 at 7:45 am

No! I’m going to go look it up now—thanks for the recommendation!

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Dawn F. July 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I will warn you that it can make you lose sleep for a variety of reasons (you can’t put it down, you try to figure out all the drama within the controversy and tragedy, etc.). However, it really is a thrilling and great read, in my humble opinion. :)

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See July 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Oooh definitely need a good summer read. I’ve tried a few books but just haven’t found anything I love yet!

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Sonal July 8, 2012 at 4:33 am

Wild sounds amazing, i need to collect books for a summer holiday! :)

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lcgrant03 July 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

It was a great read. For being a large book, I breezed through it. Very inspiring & has me adding PCT to my “must list” – just to see part of it. I’m not crazy enough to be able to hike it! Great blog entry – look forward to your reviews (along with your regular posts, of course.)

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts July 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

Sounds like a great book, I will have to look for it. I am in between books right now, so I need a good one!

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Liz July 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I haven’t read Wild yet, but if you liked Wild, you will probably like “Becoming Odyssa.” It came out a couple years ago and is about a girl who hikes the Appalachian Trail by herself after college. (Since then, she’s rehiked it and holds the women’s solo speed record, as well as speed records on a number of other trails including the PCT. But the book is about her very first long-distance hike and is sort of a coming-of-age memoir.) I have a thing for hiking memoirs and a thing for the Appalachian Trail, so this was right up my alley, and Wild has been on my list for a while.

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Liz July 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I also second Into Thin Air! I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it. Funny, I also went through “mountaineering literature” phase.

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Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk July 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I just went camping this weekend and someone was reading this book. I will definitely be downloading it to my Kindle…love these types of stories!

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Aileen July 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I wanted to start reading a new book and was going to order yours! Sadly, I didn’t realize it hasn’t been released yet…or at least not on Amazon. Do you know when it will be? Will there be a Kindle edition? (please, say yes!) I can’t wait to read it!

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Lisa July 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

Thanks for the review. I’ve hiked some of the PCT so I will definitely check out this book.

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Shannon (A Fork In Each Hand) July 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

I want to read this. I just finished The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. A truly beautiful and amazing book! I recommend it!!

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Judith July 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

Jenna, This book does look interesting, and it’s nice to see a female entered into a male dominated arena.
But, I have a new author to tell you about today;Jessica Barksdale Inclan. 1st, she’s local (well at least to me, she writes about my little corner of the East Bay) and I find her writing style similar to Elizabeth berg’s. She really gets into relationships, and family dynamics. The 1st book of hers I read was “One Small Thing” about a young wife who finds out her husband has a secret past, involving drugs, stealing and a crazy girlfriend, who just just died and left him something in her will: a 10 year old son he was totally unaware of. Then ensues the wife’s struggle to accept his past, and having a troubled young boy in her home.
I have met her, took an online creative writing class from her and just attended a women’s writing workshop at her home in Montclair..she is awesome. Hope you check her out.

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Erin @ small things July 10, 2012 at 6:01 am

You’ve already received a bunch of good book recommendations, but I’m going to add my reco to the list anyhow! It’s less adventure, more grief memoir and it is soo, so beautiful. “The Rules of Inheritance” by Claire Bidwell Smith (a fellow blogger). I wrote about it here on my blog: http://juniperandsage.typepad.com/smallthings/2012/03/book-nerd-alert.html
it’s awesome and speaks really honestly about grief

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Barbara The Healthy Nut July 10, 2012 at 6:05 am

This book sounds terrific for my book club. I have always had a secret desire to walk the Appalachian Trail but the chances of that happening are slim to none. Maybe I can live that dream vicariously through Strayed. Next up on my reading list is ‘Still Alice.’

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Cindy Robinson July 10, 2012 at 6:59 am

I love tales of survival as well. I watched a show on this man who decided he wanted trek the entire length of the Amazon River from West Coast, to East Coast of South America. It was truly amazing. Thanks for all of your book recommendations. Our tastes are so different, I would almost never pick up half the books you mention if you hadn’t recommended them and gave such a great review.

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Carissa @ ChoiceSustenance July 11, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’m reading this now, too. I keep getting to gross parts when I’m reading & eating breakfast. I’m amazed by how she did it without any training whatsoever!

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Andrea July 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Ooh! So Cheryl Strayed has been writing an advice column called Dear Sugar for quite a while now, and until recently she wrote it anonymously. Just this week a collection of some of her columns was published as a book – it’s called Tiny Beautiful Things – and I cannot recommend it highly enough! This is unlike any advice column I’ve ever read – she’s tender, brutally honest, encouraging, and writes with wisdom I’ve very rarely encountered. I don’t often evangelize about books, but this one you should read! I can almost guarantee you will feel braver and more committed to living a life rooted in your own truth. (As if you needed another book recommendation!)

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