Literary Review: "Into the Wild"

Cover of "Into the Wild"
Cover of Into the Wild

By Barry Strauss
Staff Writer

Jon Krackauer’s Into the Wild is written much like a mystery novel, except for the dire fact that the tale is actually a work of nonfiction. The work is a true-life story of a young man, Chris McCandless, who decided to go against the contemporary norms of our society.

After graduating from a prestigious college, on the brink of entering the realm of the real world, Chris decided to embark on an adventure. He gave his $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car, burned the cash in his wallet, and invented a completely new life for himself.

The tragedy of the tale was that a few months later his decomposed body was found in an abandoned school bus in the Alaskan wilderness.

Jon Krackauer, through his brilliant words and insights, tries to reveal why this young man cut himself off from his prosperous Virginia parents and plunged himself whole heartedly into a world of estrangement. He introduces each of his chapters, and his epilogue, with quotations from the literature of the wilderness that Chris (and perhaps the author), may have been feeling while partaking in the journey.

Jon Krackauer’s story parallels Chris McCandeless’, as he too ventured for a 20-year period. He became well acquainted with the country as a carpenter, angler, journalist, and mountain climber enthusiast, while almost losing his own life under the bitter cold of the Alaskan landscape.

This book is a great read for anyone who has ever dared to dream, hooking the reader until its gripping last pages have finally ended.

Life, courage, tragedy, maturity, and the power and adventure of the human spirit are all included and developed by Krackauer in this riveting work, which digs deep and goes far beyond the riddle of this young man.

Into the Wild grips and twists you by giving the allure of risk taking, the complexity of what we call life, and the scrutinizing bonds we all have with our own family, friends, and mind. Two thumbs up!

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