Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed


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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. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Boston GlobeEntertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101873441
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/18/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 247,398
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)

About the Author

CHERYL STRAYED is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was the first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and became an Oscar-nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon;Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, a national best seller now the basis of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, co-hosted with Steve Almond; and Torch, her debut novel. Her books have been translated into forty languages, and her essays and other writings have appeared in numerous publications.

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Excerpted from "Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition)"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Cheryl Strayed.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Map xi

Prologue 3

Part 1 The Ten Thousand Things

1 The Ten Thousand Things 9

2 Splitting 28

3 Hunching in a Remotely Upright Position 38

Part 2 Tracks

4 The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California 47

5 Tracks 61

6 A Bull in Both Directions 76

7 The Only Girl in the Woods 102

Part 3 Range of Light

8 Corvidology 119

9 Staying Found 136

10 Range of Light 146

Part 4 Wild

11 The Lou Out of Lou 177

12 This Far 190

13 The Accumulation of Trees 206

14 Wild 222

Part 5 Box of Rain

15 Box of Rain 237

16 Mazama 262

17 Into a Primal Gear 274

18 Queen of the PCT 289

19 The Dream of a Common Language 300

Acknowledgments 313

Books Burned on the PCT 317

Reading Group Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s 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.

1. “The Pacific Crest Trail wasn’t a world to me then. It was an idea, vague and outlandish, full of promise and mystery. Something bloomed inside me as I traced its jagged line with my finger on a map” (p. 4). Why did the PCT capture Strayed’s imagination at that point in her life?

2. Each section of the book opens with a literary quote or two. What do they tell you about what’s to come in the pages that follow? How does Strayed’s pairing of, say, Adrienne Rich and Joni Mitchell (p. 45) provide insight into her way of thinking?

3. Strayed is quite forthright in her description of her own transgressions, and while she’s remorseful, she never seems ashamed. Is this a sign of strength or a character flaw?

4. “I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told” (p. 51). Fear is a major theme in the book. Do you think Strayed was too afraid, or not afraid enough? When were you most afraid for her?

5. Strayed chose her own last name: “Nothing fit until one day when the word strayed came into my mind. Immediately, I looked it up in the dictionary and knew it was mine...to wander from the proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild, to be without a mother or father, to be without a home, to move about aimlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress” (p. 96). Did she choose well? What did you think when you learned she had assigned this word to herself—that it was no coincidence?

6. On the trail, Strayed encounters mostly men. How does this work in her favor? What role does gender play when removed from the usual structure of society?

7. What does the reader learn from the horrific episode in which Strayed and her brother put down their mother’s horse?

8. Strayed writes that the point of the PCT “had only to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets” (p. 207). How does this sensation help Strayed to find her way back into the world beyond the wilderness?

9. On her journey, Strayed carries several totems. What does the black feather mean to her? And the POW bracelet? Why does she find its loss (p. 238) symbolic?

10. Does the hike help Strayed to get over Paul? If so, how? And if not, why?

11. Strayed says her mother’s death “had obliterated me.... I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill” (p 267). How did being on the PCT on her mother’s fiftieth birthday help Strayed to heal this wound?

12. What was it about Strayed that inspired the generosity of so many strangers on the PCT?

13. “There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. . . . But I was pretty certain as I sat there that night that if it hadn’t been for Eddie, I wouldn’t have found myself on the PCT” (p. 304). How does this realization change Strayed’s attitude towards her stepfather?

14. To lighten her load, Strayed burns each book as she reads it. Why doesn’t she burn the Adrienne Rich collection?

15. What role do books and reading play in this often solitary journey?

Customer Reviews

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Wild Movie Tie-in Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 876 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's hard to pinpoint what, but something about this story just resonated strongly with me. I don't typically like 'healing' type memoirs (too sentimental), but this has such a kick-ass tone to it; its just fantastic. And so real. I even bought this for my 18 year old daughter to read, and she's hooked. I'm female so I can personally relate to some things in here, but I think men would find this interesting as well. Of course you don't know me from anyone else here, but believe me when I say it's hard for me to say I love a book - I'm incredibly picky and have difficulty finding a lot of writers whose work I truly respect. This is one of the great ones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im not one for personal memoirs. Usually I go for fiction, historical novels, womens insightful fiction a la Jodi Piccoult. However, this descriptive blurb attracted me so I bought the book. Several weeks later I decided to read it. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!! I am a mature (over 50) woman who's been through a lifetime of ups and downs. This author's saga is a true example of what we humans can accomplish when we set our hearts and minds to a task, despite being woefully inadequate and poorly prepared. I loved this book. I didn't want it to end. It made me face up to a personal journey I need to start. BUY THIS BOOK! READ IT! You will not be disappointed,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptional. Not your average good book. It's full five stars. I didn't know what to expect but only hoped not to read a systematic account of a 1100 mile-hike. It's nothing like that, nothing like anything I've read in my life. I'd like Isabel Allende's Maya character to meet Cheryl Strayed. The author's smoothly-told memoir and story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail absolutely captured my heart and head for a the few days I was reading it. Only few, because I could not put the book down. The unexpected happened in each chapter. Her style is not a predictable writing style where the author gives you literally everything. Wild is not a self-help book, but I certainly found healing from not few wounds. It's neither a book on how to become long-distance hiker, but I now want to go to my next state park and hike for hours. Read the book, you will be glad you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a reasonably well written narrative of a young women's growth towards self awareness. The reader should recognize how incredibly irresponsible and reckless her behavior is throughout the book. She demonstrates a remarkable lack of foresight, a consistent inability to recognize the dangers both physical and emotional, she places herself in, and an almost total lack of judgment. She destroys her marriage, expirements with extremely dangerous and destructive drugs, and describes herself as being wildly promiscious to her regret. She begins her journey without the slightest idea of preparation. Nonetheless, thru a series of brutally painful experiences, sheer dumb luck, and the kindness of strangers, she survives. How easily her story could have turned tragic. Raped and left dead on the trail, death from cold, hunger, thirst, injury and infection, as well easily becoming an addict, all were real possibilities. Personally the risk to reward ratio is simply unacceptable. My fear is that many will believe that they too can follow this model of risky, potentially deadly, and reckless behavior and, like the author, emerge unscathed with a stronger sense of self direction. I have always found this genre of spiritual and personal growth thru suffering and ill considered expirementation boring and indulgent. However, I believe that in person I wouldfind much to like in the author and it is a much better read thsn one would expect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 3 days, and find myself feeling sad that it's done. I keep thinking of Cheryl herself, wondering where she's at in her life right now. It was a too-quick experience, but I'm glad I got to be privy to the innermost thoughts and unimaginally amazing experiences Cheryl went through. Her brutal honesty was refreshing, and she blended seemlessly humor with poignant, touching memories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will show that anything you come up against in life can be managed. I was amazed at what this author accomplished all alone without prior training and warning. I read it with dread at times and with a desire to be there with her on the trail. I think that if I were 30 years younger, I would take a leave of absence and see if I could attempt even a small sample of what she achieved. I was touched to tears at the end of her journey. You will be too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stays on focus while giving flashbacks. Some very gut twisting moments. Good flow.
HoustonMom95 More than 1 year ago
We read this book for book club and everyone in the book club loved it. The narrative was honest,unpretentious and,at times, emotionally raw. On top of this, she is actually a great writer! I'll have to say, she is not easy on herself- she is very candid about her flaws- and she is not easy on the reader-there are some passages that just leave you emotionally drained- but when she reaches the end of her journey you finish the book feeling great about the strength of the human spirit. Everyone can relate to Cheryl's journey on some level and come away from the book wiser and more human.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was both entertaining and inspiring. It is an interesting window into the soul of a troubled young woman that found a rather unconventionable method of finding herself by simply taking a hike. It just so happened to be a very long and adventurous hike for which she was totally unprepared. Though she was taking a 'hike of faith' it worked out ok largely due to the kindness of strangers. It inspires me to try some hiking of my own but in a much better prepared manner! I found myself glued to this book and have my wife reading it now. Buy this book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who hasn't wanted to run away sometimes? But to choose such a rough road and to traverse it with blistered feet and a fifty pound backpack makes it as much a pilgrimage as a journey of self discovery. Very likable main character, flaws and all. Also gives you hope in the basic goodness in MOST of the people you meet along lifes way. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Regardless of how Cheryl Strayed was criticized by what appears to be avid/experienced hikers for her lack of knowledge of her adventure, I think what she did was nothing short of remarkable. I can almost bet that she showed more bravery and true grit than even the best.....when on their first adventure as hers and even more prepaired. Her story telling put me on that trail right along with her, but without my feeling the pain, hunger and fear. A must read !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Self indulgent and a bit painful to read Let me say that no matter how much I may not like a book, I finish it in hopes that something may change my feelings about it. I felt as if I was stuck on this Pacific Crest Trail with Cheryl and no way out. She was definitely in need of therapy before going on this trip and perhaps this might have helped. Everyone has bad things that happen to them and everyone has their own way of working them out and some never do, unfortunately. There were times I forgot to breathe as I read because it was so self indulgent and boring going on and on for multiple paragraphs that displayed an arrested development and a psychosis. If this is truly her life, I feel sorry for her, but I did not find her believable or honest. The qucik fix of a hike and at the end of it a husband, two children and a perfect life and Oprah behind this book that sent many of us to purchase it even thought previously we did not want to. Oprah's comments at the end was the best part of the read and her kind insights to passages that were highlighted in the ebook. Thank you Oprah. It is archived and I wish I could get rid of it completely from my reader.
LincolnRob87 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Highly Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i really enjoyed this book.i loved all the details that she put into her writing.it made me feel like i walked the trail with her.iam sorry it had to end.WELL WRITTEN BRAVO.!!!!THE RACE IS NOT ALWAYS GIVEN TO THE SWIFT BUT TO THE ONE WHO CAN HOLD ON TO THE END.!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the most part I enjoyed the book and all the characters. Parts of it got long causing me to skim those sections. Not the best book I've ever read but still worth the read
peakbagger06 More than 1 year ago
Being a hiker myself, yes, Cheryl Strayed took a ton of risks but her life's circumstances, her youth etc. didn't allow her to evaluate her situation like an accountant analyzing numbers. Instead, she prepared in the best way she knew, learned from her experiences, and accomplished an amazing thing which shall make her strong for the rest of her life. She will have "Can do" in anything she tries in the future. Her back story informs the hike, its risks etc. Early on she realizes that she should have tried a few three day backpacking trips in snow, in muddy conditions, in dry conditions to try it on for size so all you critical readers out there should give her a little credit. While her promiscuity unnerved me, it was mainly for her safety that I winced, not for the shear pleasure that she derived from close sexual contact that she so craved. This is not the indulgent book that some readers are calling it. It is rather a profoundly honest book...frankly, I would be embarrassed or too timid to relate some of the parts of her life that she did and I give her a pat on the shoulder for being so brave. You go girl!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it sells itself as a book about a woman who is lost and finds herself in the wilderness. I am a young girl as old as she was in the novel looking for direction so i thought she might have some insight for me. She did not. The narative is just that a narative lacking a punch line. The plot is boring and i found myself thinking that reading each page was just as hard as her journey on the PCT. Waste of time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read, - felt like I was on the trail with Cheryl - thought provoking, - inspirational !
kalevala More than 1 year ago
Disappointed with this book and the hype behind it. Wish i could return it. Author egocentric and emotionally needy.. Hey, we all suffer loses and deal with it. So don't take a year off to wander about, indulging in risky sex with sketchy men, enticing strange men, continuing a cycle of substance abuse, and relying on the help of others.. Author's references to past family life disturbing. A supposed beloved, starving old horse is put down horrifically, this haunts me. Once again putting the self over the needs of others, including pets. The mother so mourned and missed smoked pot in the childrens' presence and left them alone while she went out I don't see this person as having seen the light, except perhaps those of Hollywood? Do not recommend.
JulleeJullee More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Cheryl Strayed. I own hiking books that are meant to be to helpful when you're....going for a hike! Wild is different. Cheryl wrote a memoir as well as a guide through one of the most facinating parts of the Earth. I applause her for honesty and giving me hope that I too can be free to roam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Anyone who has lived any form of reckless life will see themseves and grow from the authors story. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. To go along on this journey is one I won't forget for a while. Sherrie O
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cheryl Stray has an excellent command of prose. She paints word pictures that can be clearly visualized. I just wish she had something interesting to say. WILD is about a "not too bright, damaged, immature twenty something that goes on the PCT to "find" herself. Much of the journey is through flashbacks of a life dripping with self pity for unfaithfulness, drug abuse, and the inability to cope with a mother's death. A hippy in hiker's clothing. To me there is more objectionable material than the shallowness of the pity party. The flippant way Ms. Cheryl Hyphen Strayed deals with sex, drugs and abortion is nauseating. On the trail, she dreams about the possibility of getting laid by almost anyone. In her flashbacks she expresses her concern to both her brother and the man she commits adultery with about their getting hooked on drugs while at the same time getting high day after day on heroine. The depth of her emotion is alarming when writing about her abortion. "I got an abortion and learned how to make dehydrated tuna flakes and turkey jerky and took a refresher course on basic first aid and practiced using my water purifier in my kitchen sink." Now that is heartfelt! It's hard to read a book in which the climax is just that...her climax. If you what a trip that goes on forever try WILD>
kallenherndon More than 1 year ago
A young women seeking to dispel the clouds following a divorce, her mother's early death from cancer, and other family difficulties, seeks a way to cleans her spirit. With little experience, she tackles physical endeavor to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, a similar but more difficult sister to the east coast's Appalation Trail. A good read. You won't want to put down,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is so hard to relate to or root for given her poor choices throughout even the first 76 pages. So I stopped and had to look up people's reviews given how badly the reading experience was going. Reminds me of James Frey's "Million Pieces" - how much of this is for the publicity vs something real and meaningful. Glad I didn't spend money on this and was able to get it from my library - I hope I suppress my natural urge to finish all books I start in hopes of finding redemption. Too low probability of the book improving and continued torture to press on...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book of the summer! It is such a deep and honest telling of a personal journey, but written in such a way it feels like a novel. Great read and the trail and scenery become its own character. Fabulous!