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Wild- Cheryl Strayed


Wild is a captivating non-fiction novel of Cheryl Strayed's real-life experiences while hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). She deals with her mother's passing, her divorce, and bouts with heroin while re-discovering who she is along the trail. She is an inexperienced backpacker and faces many challenges along the way. This work does a great job of showing themes of rediscovery, grief, and ultimately growth within oneself. The book is split into five parts with different intertwining themes throughout each Part. The following few paragraphs will dive deeper into these parts.



Part one, titled The Ten Thousand Things, talks about the start of her journey. We learn of her mother's death and the actions that lead up to her starting this journey. Common themes include follow-through, inexperience, and having faith in your own decisions. Does inexperience ever halt your decision to do something? Have you grown from doubting your potential?



Part two, titled Tracks, continues to talk about her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. We start to meet people she meets along the trail and learn some of her difficulties while hiking the trail. There are themes of starting something new, running away from pain, and reinventing yourself. What feelings are evoked for you when you start on a new journey? How do you push yourself despite feeling pain?



Parth three, titled Range of Light, delves into the middle of her journey along the PCT. We learn of difficulties she must overcome while hiking the PCT. We start to learn of the issues she has with her father; she starts to worry about getting lost and wanting to stay found. We see a repeating theme of new beginnings. With new themes of hope and holding on to essential things from the past. What do you hope for in your life? Is hope pushing you to reach your goals? What does it mean to stay found?




Part Four, titled Wild, takes us along the end of her journey. We see her starting to feel alone, stronger, overcoming fear and dealing with her problems and emotions that brought her to start this journey. We see similar themes in this part, along with loneliness, being lost, wounded, and being afraid. How do you overcome fear? What does it mean to be lost? Have you ever felt alone?



Part five, titled Box of Rain, dives into the ending of this journey and lessons she has gained along the way. We see how her insecurities have affected her. We see her following her instincts more and dealing with the grief she has from losing her mom. There are themes of restraint, grief, growth, and insecurities. How do you get over your insecurities? Is it hard to restrain from something you want? How have you come to terms with grief? How significant is growth in one's life?


Wild is a great book to read by yourself or with a book club. Feel free to answer these questions in the comments or use them for a book club discussion.

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