I just finished Into the Wild and I have to say that it was much much better than I had anticipated. The book is basically a speculation on the last few years of Chris McCandless's life. If you don't know anything about this book, Chris McCandless was found dead by starvation in an abandoned bus in Alaska (about 25 miles from the nearby town of Healy) in 1992. He was in his twenties, college educated, and was apparently trying to prove something to himself.
I really didn't want to read this book at first for various reasons. My family has lived in Colorado, Alaska, and Nevada among other places and my parents were and are extremely active. My mom and dad hiked roughly forty to fifty of the fifty-three fourteeners . My dad and mom taught us to always be prepared...no matter what. I would go hiking with my mom on a short couple hour hike and she would ALWAYS bring a backpack with water bottles, snacks, first aid kit, etc.
Living in Alaska (Fairbanks and Anchorage) taught me to never underestimate nature. So of course, like many other Alaskans, I saw Chris McCandless to be reckless and unprepared. However, the book was very well written and did not excuse Chris McCandless's behavior but tried to see what motivated him to try to eek it out in the wild. There are some theories that it was a rift with his father that caused him to try and prove himself. Another theory states that because he was very smart and gifted that he seriously believed he would accomplish his goal and did not see the recklessness of his behavior.
I actually immersed myself in the book and can understand the fascination with this man. Is he a hero/role model or reckless and naive? I am nervous that the upcoming movie will promote the hero aspect and a lot of copycats who will un-necessarily risk their life and maybe others. But perhaps it will do the opposite and show people that there is never a point in our lives where we are immortal and invincible.
Also reviewed by:
Fyrefly's Book Blog