Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Author Cheryl Strayed
Country United States
Language English
Genre Memoirs; Education and Reference
Publisher Knopf
Publication date
March 20, 2012
Media type Hardcover, Kindle Edition, Audio CD, Audible Audio
Pages 336 pages (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0307592736

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is a 2012 memoir by American author Cheryl Strayed, describing her 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 as a journey of self-discovery. The book reached No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was the first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0.

The film adaptation was released in December 2014.

Plot summary[edit]

Wild is Cheryl Strayed's first-person memoir of her 1,100-mile (1,800 km) hike along the Pacific Crest Trail during the summer of 1995. She began her journey in the Mojave Desert, hiking through California and Oregon before ending her trek ninety-four days later by crossing the Bridge of the Gods into Washington. The book also contains flashbacks to prior life occurrences that led her to begin her mountain-climbing journey.[1]

Strayed had been devastated by the death of her mother, Bobbi Lambrecht, in 1991. Her stepfather disengaged from Strayed's family, and her brother and sister remained distant. Strayed became involved in heroin use, and eventually she and her husband divorced. Seeking self-discovery and resolution of her enduring grief and personal challenges, at age 26, Strayed set out alone, on her 1,100-mile journey, having no prior backpacking experience. Wild intertwines the stories of Strayed's life before and during the journey, describing her physical challenges and spiritual realizations while on the trail.[1]

Distinctions and recognition[edit]


Main article: Wild (film)

By the time the book was published, actress Reese Witherspoon's film company, Pacific Standard, had optioned Wild for film rights, with Witherspoon to portray Strayed in the movie.[9][10] The film Wild, released in December 2014, was written by Nick Hornby and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.


In The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that "the lack of ease in (Strayed's) life made her fierce and funny; she hammers home her hard-won sentences like a box of nails," adding that the memoir reflected a "too infrequent sight: that of a writer finding her voice, and sustaining it, right in front of your eyes."[11] The Times Dani Shapiro called the book "spectacular... at once a breathtaking adventure tale and a profound meditation on the nature of grief and survival, ... both a literary and human triumph."[12] Shapiro wrote that unlike many parallel-arc stories, Strayed's two parallel narratives—the challenging hike itself and the difficult life events that preceded it—are delivered in perfect balance.[12] According to Shapiro, the memoir did not overdramatize its events, but followed a "powerful, yet understated, imperative to understand (their) meaning," allowing readers "to feel how her actions and her internal struggles intertwine, and appreciate the lessons she finds embedded in the natural world."[12]

By the time of the film Wild's release, in December 2014 A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that Strayed's memoir was "already a classic of wilderness writing and modern feminism."[13]

Discovery of half-sister[edit]

Strayed wrote the following on Facebook, republished in The New York Times:

"I often get e-mails from readers who tell me we’re connected because their lives are so very much like mine — similar childhoods, similar losses, similar struggles. This experience has been a great reminder to me how very connected we are, in spite of our differences. As I read one such e‑mail recently I thought I was reading the usual until I came to the part about how the e‑mailer sat bolt upright in bed as she read Wild because halfway into Chapter 1 she realized we have the same father. My half sister, who came upon my book by chance, who knew of my existence but not my name, found me."[14]

Strayed told the Times she made efforts to locate her half-sister and half-brother over the years with no success. But when her half-sister started Wild, she "knew just enough about me and my siblings that she put it together. She read the rest of the book and then she wrote to me. She was stunned. I was, too, and yet I always knew our paths would cross. Life is like that. There's always more, always a reveal." [14]


  1. ^ a b Shapiro, Dani (2012-03-30). "The High Road / Wild, a Hiking Memoir by Cheryl Strayed". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  2. ^ "Oprah Announces Oprah's Book Club 2.0 - Video". Oprah.com. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  3. ^ "Best Sellers - The New York Times - Hardcover Nonfiction". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  4. ^ "15 best books of 2012 – nonfiction - 'Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,' by Cheryl Strayed". CSMonitor.com. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  5. ^ "Best Books 2012 — Goodreads Choice Awards". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  6. ^ Book of the Week - Wild bbc.co.uk
  7. ^ "Wild / Awards and Recognition". NPR Arts & Life > Books. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kin, John (April 12, 2013). "2013 Oregon Book Awards Winners Announced". OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting). Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. 
  9. ^ Hallett, Alison (2012-03-15). "Cheryl Strayed's Wild Optioned by Reese Witherspoon | Blogtown, PDX". Blogtown.portlandmercury.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.  WebCite archive.
  10. ^ "Reese Witherspoon Set For Nick Hornby’s Book Adaptation ‘Wild’ For Fox Searchlight". deadline.com. 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  11. ^ Garner, Dwight (March 27, 2012). "The Tracks of an Author’s, and a Reader’s Tears / ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed, a Walkabout of Reinvention". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Shapiro, Dani (March 30, 2012). "The High Road / ‘Wild,’ a Hiking Memoir by Cheryl Strayed". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ Scott, A. O. (December 2, 2014). "Walking With Solitude, and Her Baggage / ‘Wild’ Stars Reese Witherspoon". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Cowles, Gregory (2013-08-09). "Inside the List". The New York Times Book Review. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 

External links[edit]