Chris McCandless, after abandoning his family and hitchhiking across America, decides to spend the spring in Alaska as his ultimate adventure. He dies four months later, and his body is found at a well known traveler’s respite along a trail.
Why this book?: Most original excuse ever: a class reading assignment.
Before reading this book, I had never heard about Chris McCandless at all, and honestly had no interest in learning more when I heard what this book was about. It started off well enough, provocative and alluring in it’s own way. It’s written like an extremely long news article, something that I hadn’t run into before in any nonfiction I’d read before.
But in the chapters after these first one or two interesting ones, it dropped off into a boring, monotonous narrative that just seemed to lengthen out the entire story. Krakauer added in unnecessary tellings that took up multiple chapters, ones that I found myself nearly falling asleep to. Into the Wild was based off a topic that had little to no information, making Krakauer flounder for more information that he can’t present. Instead of settling for a shorter page count, he decided to talk about other people who have done things similar as to what Chris had done, as well as talked compulsively about himself.
I feel like I learned more about Krakauer and his opinions on what happened rather than Chris’s true story and his life.
Hypocritical to the very end
Not much is known about McCandless and his journey, and it felt like a lot of what was said in this book was either made up or embellished. The majority of what was said seemed to contradict itself, never giving a clear image of who Chris McCandless was.
All of the dialogue from the family was stiff and uncaring, as if they barely even noticed that Chris was gone, despite the fact that it was also written to portray extreme grief and sadness.
This would have been a very interesting book, had Krakauer waited longer for better research and hadn’t decided to write an entire book like a news article. That writing style gave the entire book a feeling that it was supposed to be brief and to the point, while in actuality Krakauer struggled to fill in details, and instead decided to make them up.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Into the Wild was an extremely long-winded, boring book that had so much potential. It’s a book about a man named Christopher McCandless, supposedly, but in the end you learn more about the author than the subject. Being written like a news article made the book even more stuffy and unbearable.
Would I Recommend?
If you want to learn about McCandless’s journey, then this would be a worthy, if not disappointing choice. There’s not much literature out there about McCandless’s story, so obviously there isn’t much to choose from, but watching the movie or reading Chris’s sister’s book might be more benefiting.
Published: January 20th, 1997
Page Count: 207
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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 party of moose hunters. 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