The Best Nonfiction of 2012

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild

336 pages; Knopf
At 26 Cheryl Strayed was, by her own admission, a total mess. Her beloved mother had just died; she'd broken up her young marriage; she was dating a junkie and was well on her way to becoming one herself. But Strayed—who adopted that name because it fit her behavior so well—righted herself by setting out on an 1,100-mile hike up the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert to northernmost Oregon. How she did it, and what she learned about life, love, and survival of the emotional and physical sort, is the subject of her moving memoir, Wild.

Featured in Oprah's Book Club 2.0 in 2012
— Sara Nelson

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