Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Into The Wild

Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
Villard, 207 p.
92 M1197K

I feel like I'm the last person to have read Into the Wild, so it seems kind of odd to review it here on the blog. But I feel compelled to talk about it.

Into the Wild follows the last year in the life of young adventurer Christopher McCandless. Following in the footsteps of Thoreau and John Muir, McCandless divests himself of all the trappings of modern life and heads off into the Alaskan wilderness to live off the land. Armed with a hunting rifle, a ten pound bag of rice and book about indigenous plants he makes a fairly successful go of it, until tragedy strikes around day 100.

As a journalist Krakauer spends a lot of time going through McCandless' past, his journeys across America, his attempts to live deliberately and alone, and the people whose lives he touched with his passion and joie-de-vivre. And that's what I found so moving. Christopher McCandless reminds me a lot of myself, and many other people I have known in my life. A young idealist with strong moral convictions, eternal optimism, and an industrious attitude toward life.

For those who liked this book you may want to read other titles of a similar vein, here are some suggestions:

Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The original experiment in American intentional living

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
A recount of a man's journey on the Appalachian Trail

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
One of the books that inspired McCandless to take the Alaskan journey

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu
For those who want to walk out the door and leave everything behind

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