Why would a smart kid, with an excellent future, leave everything behind only to end up starving to death in an abandoned bus in the middle of the Denali National Forest? This is the question Krakauer sets out to answer when he follows Christopher McCandless’s adventurous trail. Chris leaves behind his car, money, nearly everything and sets off on foot, a journey of self discovery and adventure. To write the book, Krakauer followed in Chris’s foot steps to interview the multitude of characters that his magnetic spirit attracted
Kraukauer weaves in other stories throughout the book to offer personality comparisons in hopes of gaining some insight into what Chris was thinking and why he would take such risk. Some of these stories are of a young Krakauer himself and others are of similar risk takers and adventurous spirits. I felt like these tied in well with the story and did offer the glimpse at the inner mind of McCandless that Krakauer was hoping for.
I have to admit there is some sort of fascination in me with this leave it all behind and see where the world takes us mind set. Many will read Into the Wild and think to themselves, how idiotic and selfish Chris was, but also many readers, maybe even the same ones, will wonder what it would be like to do the same. It makes me think of a modern day Oregon Trail, risk it all on the unknown and see what happens along the way.
The storyline is full of fascinating characters and interesting thoughts, but does lack in excitement. It probably captures the slow moving lifestyle of someone that sets out crossing America without a car perfectly. For me it wasn’t a non-stop page turner, but I really got to where I felt like I knew Chris and could relate to his decision.
Overall Into the Wild is very well written and a fascinating book. It was a bit slow, but to be expected with a true story of this type. I enjoyed reading it, but wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because of its slowness and the fact that you know what is going to happen in the end.
Side Note: There is a movie also called Into the Wild that is very well done. I think this was one of the few movies that I actually enjoyed more than the book. It really captured the carefree spirit and magnetic personality of Christopher McCandless.