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Book review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Reviewed by Kathleen Keenan

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild is the moving, surprisingly engrossing account of her 1,100-mile solo hiking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail. After the death of her mother and a devastating divorce, then-22-year-old Strayed decides on a whim to hike the Trail after finding a guidebook in an outdoor store.

From inauspicious beginnings in a dusty California parking lot, struggling with her overloaded pack, Strayed makes her way up to Oregon by hiking, camping, and occasionally hitchhiking. She encounters and often depends upon the kindness of complete strangers along the way, but the memoir is ultimately the story of how she comes to terms with her mother’s death, forgives herself for her mistakes—including those that led to her divorce—and figures out what kind of life she wants to have back in civilization.