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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was at the top of my booklist since reading her Dear Sugar column, Write Like a Motherfucker. It gave me some encouragement I desperately needed. So I read it again. And then I read more of her columns. And still more after that. But I was not even a little bit satisfied, at least not until I closed the cover on Wild. At that moment I was content, happy that I was able to connect with Cheryl through her incredibly difficult, yet inspiring, story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

cheryl strayed wildWhat’s the Pacific Crest Trail? Well, have you ever heard of the Appalachian Trail? Yeah, it’s like that but through the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade ranges on the west coast. And by the sounds of it from her words, it’s about one thousand times more difficult than what Bill Bryson experienced on his trek along the A.T. in A Walk in the Woods. Of course, Bryson wasn’t going through what Strayed was – dealing with the death of her mother, a divorce to a man she still loved, and a heroin addiction, among a great many other things. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is about her dealing with these issues, learning to live again, while hiking the grueling trail.

I identified with Cheryl Strayed’s story in Wild. I laughed when it was funny, I cried when she talked about her mother – reconnecting with my same loss – and felt the ups and downs just as she did while on the trail. Even more importantly, I was inspired. This wasn’t just a column, encouraging me and pushing me to do more, leave it all on the page, this was a story on a whole different level. It was more heartfelt, stronger, and more tangible than anything else of hers I’ve read.

But while I was able to connect with it on a much deeper level than I have a lot of other travel memoirs, Wild by Cheryl Strayed also caused me to struggle at times. The basis for her story, the way it was possible to connect with her, was through repeated flashbacks. At times I found these confusing, too long, and sometimes even redundant. In the end, though, it all worked. Her story came together in a way I did not think she’d be able to pull off.

I closed the cover on Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and was left wanting more. I was more satisfied than before I read the story, but was still left wanting. I connected with her words on a different level than from other memoirs. It was as though they were my words, the ones I wanted to write in my book, only I couldn’t get them out like she did, in a story that shouldn’t be passed up for any reader, one of healing and growth when you think nothing can once again be right. So do yourself a favor, pick up a copy and give it a good reading before the movie comes out. Seriously. It’s already in the works.

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