Many people identified with Cheryl Strayed after reading her fantastic memoir, Wild. The author told NPR that one woman felt particularly connected to her; this reader "was just halfway into chapter one when she said she sat bolt upright in bed and realized that we had the same father."
Though Strayed doesn't name her father in her memoir, her half-sister recognized him by the description and emailed Strayed earlier this summer. Strayed's long-lost sibling had checked out the memoir from a public library while searching for books on travel. The worn hiking-boot on the cover appealed to her.
Strayed, who also wrote Tiny Beautiful Things and the column Dear Sugar, knew she had a long-lost half-sister and had made some vague attempts to discover her sibling in the past.
"As shocked as I was to be reading that email," the writer said to NPR's Rachel Martin, "I also had this feeling that I knew that was coming. I knew that someday life would turn on itself and I would be standing there facing this woman who shares my father… the human experience is full of serendipity and surprise and situations taking a turn that you didn't expect."