🎧 Wild by Cheryl Strayed @CherylStrayed #BernadetteDunne ‏ @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks @4saintjude

Posted February 2, 2024 by KC in Book Review / 9 Comments

🎧 Wild by Cheryl Strayed @CherylStrayed #BernadetteDunne ‏ @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks @4saintjudeWild by Cheryl Strayed
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Published by Penguin Audio on March 20, 2012
Genres: Non Fiction
Length: 13 hours, 2 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & NobleApple
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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: 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.

I recently started backpacking after being away from the sport for almost 30 years.  I did my first section of the Appalachian Trail last summer.  I received a lot of advice and opinions on gear, routes, hiking strategies, etc. However, I can’t count the number of times I was asked if I’d read Wild.  I hadn’t (nor had I seen the movie adaptation) but I resolved to definitely read it before my next trip.  Wild, subtitled “Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” is Cheryl Strayed’s autobiographical experience of her transformative solo hike on the PCT.

As a way to escape her inner demons, Ms. Strayed braves the untamed wilderness.  She’s woefully underprepared and over-packed, and immediately humbled by the task she’s undertaken.  However, by the end, it is obvious that Wild is a triumphant journey of self-discovery.  I feel the author made it very easy for one to draw parallels with the emotions and struggles she faces on the trail with those one might experience in everyday life.  Small details about her journey are starting points for deeper lessons about life.  In one case, the author is determined to not be swayed by fear.

“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…”

I’ve been paralyzed by fear (whether that is fear of leaving my tent in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or fear of leaving a job that was killing my spirit); and choosing to not be fearful is empowering in its simplicity.  Another key point was that even though one might have a framework or plan one needs to move forward (in the author’s case a book called The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California) life has many unscripted and unexpected moments and learning to deal with them is part of the human experience.

Ms. Strayed’s writing style is raw and unfiltered, yet full of grace and wry humor.  The prose is effortless and unfussy, drawing the reader onto the journey with ease.  The prologue begins at a moment of desperation for the author on the trail, and from there the story unfolds through a series of backflashes intermingled with the narrative of her hike.  She weaves her past into the present in such a way that it doesn’t jar the reader from timeline to timeline, but works perfectly to explain how she arrived at that one point in time.  Although this was a solo-hike, there are many people Ms. Strayed meets along that way.  I really enjoyed how she featured these people in the story; the fruits of their generosity, the motivation and support they provided and in some cases, the cautionary tales.

I wouldn’t be able to finish this review without touching on the healing power of nature.  There is something about the mountains and wilderness that possesses the ability to soothe and restore my spirit.  My version of ‘nature’ is not necessarily someone else’s, but I believe everyone can reap the benefit of an environment without the distractions of the modern world.  We might not all be able to take three months to thru-hike the PCT but we can spare a moment or two to appreciate the beauty around us; whether that is a bouquet of flowers, the ocean waves, or the night sky.

In Wild, Cheryl Strayed takes readers on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery and resilience.  The story and the author’s honest writing style are universally appealing and this is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.  For backpackers and wannabe thru-hikers, it is motivational tale that will definitely make you feel better about your pack weight.



Bernadette Dunne does a great job narrating Wild.  Her pace and diction are perfect for the story.  Since the book is told in the first person, I found myself thinking of her as the actual author.  I liked how the narration kept me in the performance so completely.

Listen to a clip: HERE

Rating Breakdown
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Narration (Audio)
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Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Posted February 2, 2024 by KC in Book Review / 9 Comments

9 responses to “🎧 Wild by Cheryl Strayed

  1. That’s so awesome that you hiked your first section of the AT last summer! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. How far did you get? Do you have plans to hike the rest of it? I’ve read this book and I love that quote about telling herself a different story. So good. 😀

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    • KC

      I only did about 2 nights/18 miles (Roan Mt). I intend to do about 20 miles in March weather permitting, then a ~40 mile section in the summer. (NC/TN/GA end). I am geared up for 2-5 night trips. You are more than welcome to join -just email me 🙂

  2. I’m not a very outdoorsy person, but I love the idea of being outdoors in nature. I haven’t read this book but I’d been wanting to, and I think I’ll look for the audiobook. So much respect for you hiking the Appalachian Trial! That’s just amazing to me.

    • KC

      There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors. I am a huge fan of sitting on a chair in the park with a book and a flask of tea too!

  3. I recently read a book that mentioned this one, it was about someone who hikes the Appalachian Trail after getting inspired to do long distance hiking after reading this book. So I’ve been curious about Wild, glad to hear you enjoyed it and thought it was such a great read. And that’s awesome you hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail yourself.

    • KC

      Interesting! I’m excited to read about more people’s experiences on the AT. Thank you 🙂

  4. KC

    Interesting! I’m excited to read about more people’s experiences on the AT. Thank you 🙂