Wild (audiobook)

Title: Wild
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Published: March 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 11 CDs
Procurement: Library
Relationship to Author: none

This is a book that I’ve waited far too long to read. I bought a paperback copy last fall, but life gets in the way, you know? This summer, knowing that I would be traveling to Virginia from Indiana, I got the Wild audio book from my library. Within a mile of my house, I knew I would never finish the audio book version. Cheryl Strayed, now 45, wrote Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was published in 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is wildly (pun intended) popular and has been made into a movie (which most authors can say is a dream come true). Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone–when she was 26! You may have seen the trailer for the upcoming film version starring Reese Witherspoon (who has 12 years on the Strayed in the memoir), and it looks amazing. Witherspoon always retains the look of a younger woman (especially when she played Elle Woods in the bubbly Legally Blond films), so it’s no big deal that the ages don’t quite match up.

What’s my problem, then? Why did I only make it that one teeny mile?

Because Random House Audio chose Bernadette Dunne to read the audio book version of Wild. Dunne is an amazing voice actress, and I thought she was perfect for the audio in Margaret Atwood’s books The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. Her voice is wise and calm. I feel like things are going to be alright when I listen to Dunne.

Which was why she was a terribly choice for Wild. Isn’t Strayed supposed to watch her world get harder and more painful over those four years between the chaos of losing her mother and getting a divorce and then deciding to hike the PCT? Dunne remains steady. Isn’t Strayed supposed to be…young? Dunne remains the voice of wisdom and experience. I’m not sure how old she is, but the voice doesn’t fit. Therefore, I had a hard time immersing myself in Strayed’s book and following along with this 26-year-old woman. Thus, Wild (just the audio book version) was abandoned.

I’ll be back with a review of the written version after I’ve read it. Promise!


  1. I completely understand. Bernadette Dunne was a real challenge for me. I would have loved to hear from a younger woman narrating this book from the start. I honestly almost gave up on Dunn’s performance, but I was so interested in Cheryl’s story that I just kept going somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could imagine Reese Witherspoon doing the audio book, even. I thought about how Strayed is older when she wrote the book, but I couldn’t get into how the story feels so present, but the voice sounds far into the future. Definitely get the movie! I reviewed that, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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