Into the Wild was touching, sad, inspiring, and most thrilling throughout. At the end in a couple of parts, I must admit that my eyes swelled up. Krakauer does a great job of explaining what Chris must have been thinking. I enjoyed the narrative of the book and how Jon mixed in his own memoirs into the story. I can't help but feel compassion and comradeship towards Chris McCandless.
He did what we all talk about around the water cooler, but very few of us ever do or even try; live our dream. Unfortunately for him, his adventure as you find out in the book was not successful. At least not by most standards. Please don't think I'm spoiling the story, his tragic ending is revealed before the book even starts in the Author's note in the First Anchor Books Edition, Feb 1997:
In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do East Coast family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. Four months later his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters.
As I read the book I kept thinking to myself "I know what he must be thinking now" or "I bet I know what he felt right then" and the truth is that Jon's writing makes you believe this; he makes you think you can understand what was going through Chris' head. In all reality, few of us will probably fully understand the thoughts and emotions driving Chris as he sets off in a canoe down the Colorado river, or when he embarks on his last trip into the wild.
The book is easy to read and I found myself immersed in it right away, I was almost a third of the way into it when I put it down for the first time and I completed it in a couple more sittings. Some of the chapters begin with a simple map of the area which you are about to travel through. Constantly I found myself flipping back to review the maps to see where McCandless was and this gave me a great idea of the relative distances he traveled. Sometimes he made his way through on foot, other times hitchhiking but I absolutely think that if he had the choice, he would have used his little Datsun all the way to Alaska.
Half a dozen pages over 200, the book is definitely easily digested in a weekend and I definitely recommend it. Most of the books I like to give me a new piece of the puzzle to the great experience of life; this was certainly not an exception. I'll spare you the details of the emotions stirred and the dreams that it evoked in me, but I can tell you that I would recommend it to anyone.
Seems like I feel that about all the books I actually finish reading. Besides the new perspective in life that it presented, I was introduced to a new author. Jon Krakauer also has written other well-known books that have now been added to my list, namely Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven.
There are a lot of pictures on Flickr on the topic of Chris McCandless, and the story that became this bestseller. Here are links to some of the ones I found interesting; read some of the comments to understand more if you haven't read the book.
by Akfirebug, Into the Wild set
by Chriso2000, Chris McCandless. Jon mentions this picture on his book, and this flickr member has several other ones on there.
There's also a movie for the book Into The Wild, here's the trailer.