One of my best friends in the world bought this book for me, as we watched the film together and simply fell in love with the idealistic dreamer that was Christopher McCandless and every moment of his journey. So I confess right this moment that this will be a biased review as, in short, I absolutely adore it.
My copy, originally, looked identical to this one. Wrapped in clear plastic of medium thickness, it was a perfect, new, shiny paperback when I received it, but it is in quite a different state now. This book travelled the world with me, much as McCandless’s own books travelled with him, all around Thailand, to Switzerland, Abu Dhabi and back and now he travels with my father on frequent trips to Singapore and other close-to-home destinations. ‘Loved’ is the word I think I would use, for each of my favourite lines has been neatly (or not so, depending on how much sleep I had got the night before) highlighted for future reference or for those who I chose to share this very unique copy with.
Into The Wild takes you on McCandless’s journey through North America as if you were in a van with both Krakauer and McCandless, and they were competing for your attention. Krakauer tries his best to deliver the beautiful, life changing stories of the people who met ‘Alexander Supertramp’ without any personal bias, but he does fail on many levels. One of the last chapters is entirely about Jon’s own experience climbing The Devils Thumb, another Alaskan mountain, and as interesting as his personal narrative is, I’m willing to bet that not one single person bought the book to find out about Jon Krakauer’s mountain-climbing experiences.
That was my attempt at criticism for this otherwise perfect book. Little maps of the areas Chris explored at the beginning of each chapter, quotations that were found highlighted in the books that he carried, each little detail just added to the rapidly snowballing love that I had for this book. I will confess that I did see the film first, and Emile Hirsch’s rugged, dark, carved-by-angels good looks may have been the first thing that really grabbed me, but even the movie captivated me from the first moment.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would 100% recommend it to absolutely everyone, but especially teenagers, because it questions the requirements for a happy life and a fruitful future which is something we all need to hear once in a while.