One of the best non-fiction, travel-adventure books I have ever read, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed is a magnificent publication. Few, if any books capture my imagination in the Prologue, but this one sure did. Cheryl Strayed (her post-divorce surname reflecting her “lostness”) lays her soul bare for all to see, warts and all. Some of it ain’t very pretty. But, her personal triumph over the deepest throes of despair following her mother’s early death at age 45, appears to have been worth the heartache, sorrow, regret, and tremendous pain. Given the passing of my mother earlier this week, many portions of Wild certainly struck a deep and resounding chord within me.
I have read a number of non-fiction, travel-adventure books as it is my favorite genre. None of them come even remotely close to the release of raw emotions and cleansing of sins that this book spills forth. Even Bill Bryson‘s A Walk in the Woods pales sadly in comparison to the rigors Ms. Strayed endured and the depth of introspection put down onto paper.
Ms. Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) mostly alone, for approximately 1,100 miles from the searing heat of Mojave, California to the damp, chilly forests of Cascade Locks, Oregon. In doing so she endured many traumatic hardships, but she also was rewarded with innumerable extraordinary experiences, countless breathtaking vistas, and many new friends. Eventually, she earned the nickname of “Queen of the PCT.”
To this writer, one sign of a good author is whether I intend to locate and read other books published by them. In the case of Cheryl Strayed, I most certainly will do this and look forward to her future releases. Bloody well done (both literally and figuratively)!