Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Into The Wild

This is the true story of Chris McCandless, a young American who, on graduating from college, gave away all his money to Oxfam, disposed of most of his belongings and set off into the wild parts of America to make a new life for himself. His actions raised many strong and differing opinions. Some thought he was an idiot, ill-prepared and fool-hardy as he set off for his final, ill-fated adventure into Alaska. Others saw him as some kind of hero, looking for a simpler, more noble way of life.

Jon Krakauer, the journalist who has written this account, takes a more considered view. He certainly doesn't gloss over the negative sides to Chris' personality, nor does he ignore the pain and worry he caused to his poor family, who had no idea where he was, or how to get hold of him. He paints a more complex picture, of a young man with deeply held moral views. I found he reminded me of what it's like to be young, headstrong, opinionated and judgemental.

Since moving to Yorkshire 10 years ago, I learnt the joy of walking alone. After more than a decade of living cheek by jowl to folk in London, I can really empathise with Chris' desire for solitude. There's nothing quite like being stood atop a landscape with not a soul around, just you and the sounds of nature. Undoubtedly he was also incredibly courageous and it would seem, simply terribly unlucky in his timing of his journey into Alaska. If anything, I think he managed remarkably well to survive as long as he did with so little equipment. So yes, I will keep walking and sometimes alone, but I will aways take a map, a gps and a mobile with me.

If you want to see the landscapes he travelled through, his story was made into a film, which from what I can remember, stayed pretty close the book. I would recommend both. Into the Wild Film trailer 

Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer   Into the Wild
 Related reads: 
The Call of The Wild 

Books bought 0 : Books read 2

1 comment:

  1. Chris McCandless' is an odd story, with relatively few facts known for certain. I think Krakauer creates a good book from this awkward material. The narrative manages to be both intimate and objective: I ended up feeling as if I 'knew' Chris, at least a little, but also that I had a fair understanding of the bigger picture and issues. It really helps that Krakauer has a background in mountaineering/ outdoor adventure-type stuff, giving credibility to his opinions on McCandless' alleged foolhardiness. (For the record, I think he was mostly really, really unlucky.)
    Definitely worth a read, and the film's worth a look, too.