Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

In 1992 Christopher McCandless, a top student of the University of Atlanta, known to be strong-willed, idealistic, and an exceptional athlete, walked away from his family never to be seen by them again.  It was soon to be discovered that Christopher had given away his entire savings of $24,000 to a hunger charity.  Later yet, his beloved car was found abandoned with a note on it basically saying “finders… keepers.  It’s yours.”

Four months later he was found dead inside an old bus in the Alaska wilderness.

What would cause a young man with such a bright future, a good home, family and friends who loved him, to shut everyone out without a reason why?

His diary which was found at a remote camp site tell a tale that is so unbelievable – it has to be true.  Chris (who changed his name to Alex at this time) writes of odd jobs he found along the way to earn enough to get by, the people he met, and continued to connect with, the loss of his car, no food for days, and eventually moving into the Alaskan wilderness believing he would live off the land – catch and kill what he needed to eat to survive.

The bus where Chris spent his last days. The bus still remains in the deep wilderness of Denalie National Park in Alaska and local guides can take you there.

Into the Wild has been a book that has interested me since I first heard about it.  Christopher McCandless was someone I wanted to know more about.  I could imagine the pain of a family not knowing where there son was, and I was curious about a boy just graduated who could walk away from his family and not look back.  Not so much as a note to say “I am ok”.

I found Chris’ story – as told from what he left in a dairy of his journeys to be one that was both sad and fascinating at the same time.  I was sad for his family and could not imagine what it felt like to not know where there son was… and I was fascinated at the decisions Chris made along the way… for a while it seemed like quite the adventure.

Even after listening to this book on audio, I am still left with questions.  Did Chris have a death wish?  He had not packed properly for his journey, not even having a compass.  And no one knew where he was.  No one.  Or was Chris just a boy with an over inflated idea of himself and his knowledge to survive away from people and the comforts of home.  He had several books on identifying edible plants after all…. 

The world will never know… but I like to believe the latter. 

An audio that astounded me.  I was held to listening to it long after I should have been running my errands, or moving on to another project.  It is a rare audio that stops me to just sit and listen… and that is what I did.

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

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27 thoughts on “Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

  1. I had heard a little bit about this book, but wasn’t intrigued until I read your review. And since I am wanting to listen to more books this year, I will definitely find it in audio. Thanks!

  2. I didn’t realize the bus is in Denali (haven’t read the book; I’ve just read about it. Interesting. Having been there, I can’t imagine trying to live off the land. It’s a wild and dangerous place. I read a review of the movie while we were in Alaska and Alaskans tend to be contemptuous of people who go into the wilderness unprepared. I do think he was just clueless, one of those people who go to Alaska to find adventure without really thinking about what they’re getting into. I doubt he was suicidal.

    Great review.

    1. The audio mentions that Nancy – how the Alaskans especially have no love lost for him… feeling he was just plain dumb for going in as unprepared as he was and in the end he was actually only a quarter of a mile away from help… I don’t think he was suicidal either.

  3. I didn’t make it through this book even though everyone else seemed to find it so interesting. I liked Krakauer’s Into thin Air better. I’m glad you liked it though; students at my school read it a lot

  4. I’m so glad you loved this one, Sheila. I listened to it this summer while my 15 year old brother was reading it for his school’s summer reading program. We both loved it and I loved discussing the story with him. I totally get what you mean about listening longer than you should have after finishing errands–I was obsessed with the story and so longed to know more. What a tragic and fascinating life. Have you seen the movie?

  5. I have been meaning to read this for a while, too, ever since seeing the movie a few years ago. The movie was moving and powerful and stuck with me long after I finished it.

    My son read the book for his American Lit class a couple of years ago, and I was surprised when he said he didn’t like it since our family loves both travel and the outdoors. He said he wished it had been written in 1st person (but of course, that would have been impossible). I also think he probably didn’t like the sad ending – he hates sad books and movies!

    Anyway, I want to read it for myself now more than ever – thanks for the great review!


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