I read a review that said Wild made them want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail...riiiight. I definitely do NOT want to hike ANYWHERE EVER after descriptions of being smelly, dirty, hungry, thirsty, injured, and sleeping outdoors (my idea of camping is six people in one motel room) and especially not after the many descriptions of her feet (as a dancer I have had my share of gross feet stories and these are way, way worse). No way in hell do I want to go anywhere hiking ever now.
By now, courtesy of Oprah, everyone knows Strayed's story - someone spiralling out of control, grieving for her mother, a crumbling marriage, with a drug addiction who seizes the opportunity to hike the PCT both for something to do and just to see if she could do it. She definitely needed to do something drastic and not within her comfort zone because she was reaching the point of no return. If hiking the PCT with no hiking experience whatsoever did that for her, then more power to her.
Although I sometimes wanted to slap the Cheryl depicted in this book for sounding so damned whiney at times, it was interesting to see how she unpacked the mess of her life (spooling is a metaphor she used) and came to grips with her issues over the course of her hike. This is also a biography of-sorts about Strayed's mother and those sections of the book are the most moving. I should check out the Adrienne Rich poetry book Strayed read throughout.
I didn't buy the Oprah version - it cost 3$ more than the regular ebook. F' that. This book was fine without Oprah's notes.