Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed (read by Bernadette Dunne)
A book simply about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and all of its accompanying adventures alone would have made Wild worth reading. Instead Cheryl Strayed follows in the footsteps of female writers who seem hardwired to explain life's 'journeys' by airing their dirty laundry. Strayed, who writes well and whose narrator Bernadette Dunne does her justice, tells about a three-month escape into the wilderness to make sense of a parent's death, the breakup of a relationship and her heroin use and promiscuity. In 1995, at 25, never having backpacked before, and three years after her mother's death from lung cancer, she attempts the trail from the Mexican border in California into Canada along nine mountain ranges, a distance of 4,286km. Strayed's descriptions of her physical pain will warn others off similar feats without training, but it is the shocking section on putting down her mother's prized horse, which she and her brother undertake without the help of a professional, that sears itself into the brain.