Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, scripted by Nick Hornby and starring Reese Witherspoon, is now out in UK cinemas. It tells the story of Strayed’s 1,100-mile wilderness walk towards personal discovery along the Pacific Crest Trail. Witherspoon has been nominated for Best Actress in the Screen Actors’ Guild, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and now the Oscars, where she’s joined by Laura Dern as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress. The book’s prologue, which is mirrored in the opening of the film, sets the scene…

The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California. Moments before, I’d removed my hiking boots and the left one had fallen into those trees, first catapulting into the air when my enormous backpack toppled onto it, then skittering across the gravelly trail and flying over the edge. It bounced off of a rocky outcropping several feet beneath me before disappearing into the forest canopy below, impossible to retrieve. I let out a stunned gasp, though I’d been in the wilderness thirty-eight days and by then I’d come to know that anything could happen and that everything would. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked when it did…

This extract is no longer available on Bookanista, but you can read on at the Waterstones blog.

Wild is released on DVD in the UK on 25 May 2015.


Author portrait © Joni Kabana

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Torch, the New York Times-bestselling memoir Wild and the collection of essays Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There, all published by Atlantic Books. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Allure and The Rumpus. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Read more.

Author portrait © Joni Kabana

Read our interview with Cheryl.