Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
Release Date: 20 January, 1997
Krakauer did an amazing job of bringing Chris, a ordinary man with problems we can all identify with, to the awareness of the public. A lot of people take what they have for granted and forget that not everyone is living a priveleged life. A great deal of society in oblivious to people like Chris in this country and there are others out there. I personally could relate to Chris regarding his need to seek independence, I believe we would all be kidding ourselves if we couldn't identify a slight connection. I felt that Krakauer delivered a book that could really touch the reader because of the pure and simple honesty it conveyed. He did not hold back anything and was even comfortable to share his own personal ordeal, which besides coming out alive sounds a lot like Chris McCandless's story. I feel the people who wrote in to personally attack Chris were far too judgemental. We may not understand why Chris made the choices he did, but he deserves respect like every other human being. And unless you walk in the other persons shoes, you are not capable or entitled to pass judgement. The novel was excellent and it was a real race to get to the end. So I would definetly recommend it to anyone.
When faced with the opportunity to be sprung from prison and escape the death penalty, Socrates told Crito that the really important thing was not to live, but to live well.
As citizens of a wealthy and prosperous nation, most of us have the luxury of free time and can ponder Socrates' essential question: "What is a life well lived?" Many of us try to apply that question to the way we raise our children, to the books we choose to read, to how we choose our friends, and to how we recreate.
Jon Krakauer tells the story in Into the Wild of Chris McCandless, an Emory University graduate, who decided to explore Socrates' question by eschewing all the material luxuries of his life and experience life at its rawest.
I found this story to be the quintessential American story. Chris McCandless wants to be free. He wants to be pure. He wants to live life over the edge. And he does. He travels, first in a car he abandons and then by foot and water over large expanses of the USA, making friends who deeply love him, who can't forget him, who are deeply affected by him, until he decides to live in the wilds of Alaska.
It's in Alaska that the stakes of Chris's life become mortal and the story becomes tragic. Suddenly each choice Chris makes, whether dietary, navigational, or philosophical has consequences that are enlarged by the conditions he lives in. As readers, we begin to see a magnification of our own lives, how our deeds determine us, just as Chris McCandless's determine him and his fate.
Krakauer's research is comprehensive. The story is compelling. Krakauer's inclusion of his own experience as a young man in Alaska deftly parallels McCandless's and helps deepen and reinforce the idea that having the freedom to pursue one's dreams to their ultimate can be exhilirating, painful, and dangerous.
I consider Krakauer one of our country's very finest writers and recommend this book very highly as a first-rate narrative and a probing philosophical exploration written in lucid, taut, accessible prose.