Jessica's Reviews > Into the Wild

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 03, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction, book-club
Read from June 25 to July 01, 2011

I'd already seen the movie and knew the story, but I really enjoyed reading this book about a young man who decides to drop completely off the radar and go explore various wilderness areas of the US, leading ultimately to his death in an abandoned bus outside of Denali National Park in Alaska. Christopher McCandless - or "Alexander Supertramp" as he called himself - is definitely not an easy person to understand or relate to, but I thought Krakauer did a very good job of trying to get into his head.

Alex was clearly a very intelligent and charismatic person, but he possessed a recklessness that made his ending seem inevitable. I understand why some people want to write Alex off as an idiot kid who should have known better, and why others want to glorify him as some kind of American Adam hero, but I appreciated Krakauer's evenhanded treatment that allowed Alex to be a sympathetic character without suggesting that he had traits the rest of us should aspire toward. Krakauer obviously admired Alex, and there's a certain "there but for the grace of God go I" introspection when Krakauer compares his own youth to Alex's life, but he keeps bringing the reader back to the human side of the story, all the people who cared about Alex and the small gestures that showed that Alex cared about them too even while he ran away from each of them.

When Alex's body was found in the bus, nobody knew who he was or how he had ended up there, and I think one of the most remarkable things about this book is how fully Krakauer was able to put together the story of Alex's travels from the day he left town after his college graduation to the day his body was found inside the bus. The fact that this book exists is by itself no small journalistic feat.

I do feel that the two chapters where Krakauer talked about his own youthful adventures and mishaps exploring the Alaskan wilderness were unnecessary. He had plenty of insights to help us get inside of Alex's head without needing to switch gears and talk about himself for two chapters, and I don't feel like my understanding of the story was improved in any substantial way by the addition of that information.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Into the Wild.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

06/28/2011 page 72

No comments have been added yet.