Into the Wild

Sometime, somewhere, someone (hope that narrows it down for you) recommended this book to me and so I added it to my list of books to read. I just finished reading it recently and really enjoyed it.

About: "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, abadoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself..."

Chris wrote, "Greetings from Fairbanks! This is the last you shall hear from me Wayne. Arrived here 2 days ago. It was very difficult to catch rides in the Yukon Territoy. But I finally got here. Please return all mail I receive to the sender. It might be a very long time before I return South. If this adventure proves fatal and you don't ever hear from me again I want you to know you're a great man. I now walk into the wild. Alex."

Chris was a very interesting person who led an equally interesting life. I could relate to Chris' desire to travel and explore and be free. I admired his courage, determination and resourcefulness. But the more I read, the more I realized he was one of those genius minds who borders on insanity. You really would have to be a little bit crazy to live the way he did.

The author did a lot of research to piece this true story together as best as possible with the limited resources he had. He interviewed many people who met Chris along the way, talked to his family and friends and retraced his steps. The timeline of the story was a little sporadic, not exactly chronological, but flows nicely overall. The book also included stories about other people who lived similarly to Chris. I would definitely recommend the book, although I think it's the kind of story that some people will find far more fascinating than others.

Quotes (none of these are Chris' quotes, just ones quoted in the book):

Page 155, "I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life." - Leo Tolstoy

Page 155, "It should not be denied...that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolutely freedom, and the road has always led west." -Wallace Stegner

Page 142, "A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-today existence - the lapses on conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes - all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from you thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand." - Jon Krakauer

Page 151, "It didn't occur to me that I might be bound by the same cause-and-effect relationships that governed the actions of others. Because I wanted to climb the mountain so badly, because I had thought about the Thumb [mountain] so intensely for so long, it seemed beyond the realm of possibility that some minor obstacle like the weather or crevasses or rime-covered rock might ultimately thwart my will."

Page 155, "It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it."

1 Response to Into the Wild

December 21, 2011 at 5:55 AM

This is one of my favorites. I own the national bestseller copy on the left. It's an old library copy that my mom gave me. I love this book and the quote by Wallace Stegner where it says, "and the road has always led west."

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