The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless


In 1992, the body of Chris McCandless was found in an abandoned bus in Alaska.  The book, Into The Wild (which I reviewed here) tells the true story of Chris’s restless life.  After graduating from high school he left in his car,giving away the $25,000 dollars he had in his savings for college never to be seen or heard from his family again.  Into The Wild shares what Chris’s life was like after his disappearance, pieced together through a journal he kept.  Into The Wild, as I mentioned, portrays Chris as someone who does not want no submit to the ways of the world; yet marches to his own drum.

Now, 18 years later, in The Wild Truth, Chris’ sister comes forth with more to the story.  With a forward from the Into The Wild author Jon Krakauer shares that Carine had showed him letters from Chris that back up some of his reasons for leaving, reasons that Carine asked Jon not to share in the original book and he honored this request.

The Wild Truth shares more to the story.  At the time of Chris’ birth, his father Walt was having an affair with Chris’s mother Billie who worked for Walt, while still married and having children with his own wife as well. There were times that both women were pregnant at the same time.  While Walt would have been happy to keep things as they were, seeing and having children with both women, eventually, his wife Marcia divorced him and moved away.  Walt and Billie had a second child, Carine.

Walt and Billie’s marriage was unhealthy.  They fought constantly and Walt was both physically and verbally abusive.  Chris and Carine were often called into the room to choose a parent which was a losing situation.  When Chris was in high school his father once hit him as hard as he could in the spine of his back.

In Carine’s account in her book, Chris’ departure was sad as she loved her brother but not surprising.

One of the final pictures Chis had taken of himself while living in the bus in Alaska days before he died.
One of the final pictures Chis had taken of himself while living in the bus in Alaska days before he died.



I have always been fascinated with the Chris McCandless story.  When I reviewed the book, I followed it up with the movie – both of which I would recommend.  In The Wild Truth, Carine paints a much different household picture as I mention above.

While the first part of the book is about their parents Walt and Billie; the affair, the fighting, the half siblings… it later goes into a mix of poor relationship choices that Carine makes throughout her younger years including two failed marriages.

I am glad I listened to this book, I did enjoy knowing more of the Chris McCandless story and Carine’s narration of her own book was excellent.  I do however find myself torn on how I feel about the book.  The information on Chris I liked and getting to know him more through his younger sister was nice.  Yet her own personal relationships and some of the books content left me questioning where I land on this.

I am glad I listened to it.  I understand after all these years she wanted the full truth to be known.  I just am left in limbo.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 47 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Release Date: November 11, 2014


8 thoughts on “The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless

  1. I can see why you were interested in following up with this second book. What a troubled life so many live. Really did Carine have a chance with her own relationships?

    1. That’s what I was thinking too about Carine’s relationships – she says that she broke up with anyone who showed any signs of abuse because she had grown up with that and was not about to put up with it again. She said her mother thought that meant she was a failure but she feels it makes her a strong woman.

  2. so glad to read your review. honestly, I never read the original story written by Krakauer but I did see the movie. All three of my kids read the book and loved it. We always discussed that there was a whole lot more to the story which this book supports. thank you for sharing!

  3. I don’t know why I haven’t been drawn to read this one because I loved Krakauer’s book. I know McCandless’s family was upset by the way he was portrayed — on the other hand, it’s hard to sugar coat some of McCandless’s bad decisions.

  4. I’ve been wondering about this book. I haven’t read Wild yet (though it’s sitting on my shelf! My son read it for high school), I absolutely loved the movie – one of the most emotionally powerful films I’ve ever seen. So, I’m interested to know more of the story, too. Thanks for the review!


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