Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild. (from Goodreads) 

Flo's Review
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. It is a true story, but it was put together so well that it pulls you in like a novel. The author, in fact, wrote an article about Chris McCandless for a magazine, but then was so enthralled with the story that he dug deeper into it and ended up with this book. I was a little worried about first because this book is often compared to On the Road by Jack Kerouac, which has a bit of a history with the Book Nerds (basically, none of us liked it.) But the major difference between that book and this one is the purpose. While I felt that the main character in On the Road was just wandering aimlessly, Chris McCandless had a goal -- one he was very passionate about. A good way into the book we get a revelation about the author that sheds great light on how this story is told. Because of what I learned about Krakauer, I am happy that he is the one who told this story. But I am also glad that he didn't "show his hand" right away, because I feel like that would have changed my view on how the story was presented. I think one reason I was so attracted to this story was because, like Chris, I have a sense of Wanderlust. I am not going to strap on a backpack and disappear one day, but I do understand his desire to see, to see, and to see some more. This, to reiterate, is what makes this story. This is a story of passion. At the end of the day it did cost him his life, but Chris McCandless also did truly live his life in the exact way he wanted. And I think this is why this story strikes the heart of so many: the journalist who couldn't let the story go when the article was done;  Sean Penn, who turned Chris' story into a movie with Vince Vaughn, Kristin Stewart, Jena Malone and more; and the many, many people who read the book. 

1 comment :

  1. I read this book over the summer for school, and I really enjoyed it as well. It was a very interesting story that was told very well. I think it's definitely something everybody should read.