“It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty…”Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
If you’ve ever found yourself a book that holds a special place within your heart, that encapsulates all that you feel about the world and all that you feel within yourself, than you’ll understand how I feel when I read this book.
I first fell in love with ‘Into the Wild’ in tenth grade when I was given the book to read as a homework assignment. Over the years, I’ve probably read this book 100 times over. Each time that I read it, I get something new from it.
Known for starving to death in the Alaskan wildnerness, Christopher McCandless was an ambitious man from a well-off family with an aching need for adventure and a stubborn penchant for self-reliance.
After graduating from college, McCandless leaves everything behind and begins on a several years long journey across America in search of a place to call his own. He changes his name and leaves everything from his former life behind so that his family is unable to find him. Eventually, McCandless’ journey leads him to the Alaska wilderness, where he believed he found the solitude he’d been searching for so long for.
It’s a real-life story of adventure and heartbreak, telling the tale of lost soul who only wanted to find his happy in the world and would stop at nothing to do so. McCandless was an intelligent, extremely self-aware, caring and kind man who lost his life in search of solitude.
The book weaves McCandless’ journal entries with letters, interviews and a few speculations as to his state of mind along the way. It’s filled with incredible passages of thought provoking stories and quotes that cause one to think about the world in the very best of ways.
Most seem to think he was crazy, but many also think he was quite smart and admired him for what he did even though he managed to succumb to a couple of bad choices along the way. Personally, I can understand it. I can understand how one would search to vastly, so thoroughly for peace in this world that they’d be willing to stop at no bounds to find it.
McCandless was a visionary, who spent his life chasing something many of us are too afraid to even consider. His words are well spoken, his thoughts a little skewed (perhaps) but extremely intelligent, and his life is definitely one worth knowing about.
It’s not a long read, but it’s a great read if you’re looking for a new book to check out this summer. And, if you need some more convincing, google “Into the Wild Quotes” and read some excerpts from the book. You won’t regret it.
Also, read the book first. Don’t just watch the movie. The book is a lot better than the movie.