Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection.
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: At age 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself alone near the foot of the Pacific Crest Trail--inexperienced, over-equipped, and desperate to reclaim her life. Wild tracks Strayed's personal journey on the PCT through California and Oregon, as she comes to terms with devastating loss and her unpredictable reactions to it. While readers looking for adventure or a naturalist's perspective may be distracted by the emotional odyssey at the core of the story, Wild vividly describes the grueling life of the long-distance hiker, the ubiquitous perils of the PCT, and its peculiar community of wanderers. Others may find her unsympathetic--just one victim of her own questionable choices. But Strayed doesn't want sympathy, and her confident prose stands on its own, deftly pulling both threads into a story that inhabits a unique riparian zone between wilderness tale and personal-redemption memoir. --Jon Foro
From Author Cheryl StrayedOprah with Cheryl Strayed, author of Book Club 2.0's inaugural selection, Wild.
I wrote the last line of my first book, Torch, and then spent an hour crying while lying on a cool tile floor in a house on a hot Brazilian island. After I finished my second book, Wild, I walked alone for miles under a clear blue sky on an empty road in the Oregon Outback. I sat bundled in my coat on a cold patio at midnight staring up at the endless December stars after completing my third book, Tiny Beautiful Things. There are only a handful of other days in my life--my wedding, the births of my children--that I remember as vividly as those solitary days on which I finished my books. The settings and situations were different, but the feeling was the same: an overwhelming mix of joy and gratitude, humility and relief, pride and wonder. After much labor, I'd made this thing. A book. Though it wasn't technically that yet.
The real book came later--after more work, but this time it involved various others, including agents, publishers, editors, designers, and publicists, all of whose jobs are necessary but sometimes indecipherable to me. They're the ones who transformed the thousands of words I'd privately and carefully conjured into something that could be shared with other people. "I wrote this!" I exclaimed in amazement when I first held each actual, physical book in my hands. I wasn't amazed that it existed; I was amazed by what its existence meant: that it no longer belonged to me.
Two months before Wild was published I stood on a Mexican beach at sunset with my family assisting dozens of baby turtles on their stumbling journey across the sand, then watching as they disappeared into the sea. The junction between writer and author is a bit like that. In one role total vigilance is necessary; in the other, there's nothing to do but hope for the best. A book, like those newborn turtles, will ride whatever wave takes it.
It's deeply rewarding to me when I learn that something I wrote moved or inspired or entertained someone; and it's crushing to hear that my writing bored or annoyed or enraged another. But an author has to stand back from both the praise and the criticism once a book is out in the world. The story I chose to write in Wild for no other reason than I felt driven to belongs to those who read it, not me. And yet I'll never forget what it once was, long before I could even imagine how gloriously it would someday be swept away from me.About the Author:
Cheryl Strayed is the author of Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and the novel Torch. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, The Rumpus, Self, The Missouri Review, The Sun, and The Best American Essays. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Book Description Knopf, 2012. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "When a book has this kind of velocity, when a narrative is enriched by the authority and raw power of a voice like Strayed's, it barely needs a plot to pull the reader into its vortex. But this first memoir by the author of the well-received novel Torch does indeed have a tightly loaded trajectory. Wild is a poetically told tale of devastation and redemption that begins with the death of Strayed's mother when Strayed was 22, and ends four years later, after she writes herself an unusual prescription in hopes of saving her own life. . . . Although Wild is the story of an exceptional young woman who takes exceptional measures to ease an exceptional amount of pain, the universality of Strayed's emotions, paired with the searing intimacy of her prose, convince us that she's more like than unlike us, and that she did something most of us would never do, but for reasons we can all understand. . . . And so we relate to her and root for her as she walks, through searing heat and trail-blurring snow, wearing boots that don't fit, with inadequate supplies of money, food, water and experience, escaping the clutches of scary wildlife and scary men along the way. For three months. Alone. She keeps going even when her feet are shredded and her water runs out and an unseasonal blizzard blocks her way. Reading a travelogue of a long hike could be as thrilling as watching a faucet drip. But Strayed is a formidable talent, a woman in full control of her emotions, her soul, and her literary gift, and in Wild she's parlayed her heartache and her blisters into an addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it." -Meredith Maran, The Boston Globe "[ Wild ] is really two books in one. Initially it's a story of grief and a chronicle of the loss of her mother, her marriage, even the loss of her last name. . . . And in this way, Wild is much more than a book about grief and loss. [But] it's also about change and transformation, an adventure story full of hope, friendship, and second chances at life. From all appearances, this is a woman who has found her place in the world, both on the home front and in literary circles, where the buzz about her new memoir has steadily grown into a roar." -Leslie Schwartz, Poets & Writers "A long-distance hike through the wilds of the West is a perfect metaphor for someone seeking to draw a new line from past to future, and it''s with such self-awareness that Strayed sets out-with woeful preparation-to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to the California-Oregon border. The journey''s purpose is to correct the trajectory of her life and lead her to a better version of herself. Flashbacks to her childhood in northern Minnesota, to the collapse of her marriage, and, most of all, to her mother''s death and the subsequent dissolution of her family, give us a troubled and complex figure whose lostness is palpable. . . . It''s a fearless story, told in honest prose that is wildly lyrical as often as it is physical." -Scott Parker, The Minneapolis Star Tribune "We readers love memoirs for the most selfish of reasons: As we encounter the writer''s decisions, collisions, the chances taken or missed, some part of our brain is simultaneously revisiting the things in our own lives that got us this far. Strayed''s Wild is one of the best examples of this phenomenon to come along since Poser by Clare Dederer last year and Bird by Bird , Anne Lamott''s classic. . . . Anyone who has read a lot of this genre in recent years can''t help but brace herself for the sordid details of a downward spiral. Strayed, however, takes to a different trail. The Pacific Crest Trail, to be precise. . . . Wild will appeal to readers who dream of making such a hike, and Strayed''s descriptions of the landscape will not disappoint. They are as frank and original as the rest of the book . . . This isn''t Cinderella in h. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0307592731
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