Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Into the WIld -- Jon Krakauer -- Book Review

I finished Into the Wild about 5 minutes ago and am rather shaken and feeling very, very sad. Jon Krakauer is a master at "putting you there" ... as he did in his masterpiece "Into Thin Air", which documented the 1996 Mount Everest climbing season, a major disaster.

In Into the Wild, he documents very thoroughly the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who is a fascinating combination of extreme intelligence and rather profound naivete. He managed to survive for a very long time in the harsh Alaskan interior, something that apparently the majority of his critics never did. But ultimately, a couple of setbacks cost him his life.

The movie shows one plausible ending, and indeed one of the endings that was accepted by the author for a long time. That being the tragic error of mistaking one plant for another. But the book goes on to document a much different and more likely cause of death ... and I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. You will read it, I hope.

Krakauer punctuates the book with long discussions of other tragic souls who perished in the bush, and of his own extremely risky climb of the Devil's Thumb. But for the grace of God ...

These injections of contrast and facsimile make the book a far richer experience than the movie ... so don't assume that you know anything having seen the movie. I really liked it, but the book kicks its butt.

So ... read it ... the emotion you should be feeling as his life winds down and ultimately ends is worth even a bad read ... and this is a GREAT read ...

3 comments:

Lili said...

Been quiet the past few days, you OK?

Kim Letkeman said...

Hi Lily, very kind of you to ask. I'm in Winnipeg visiting family with minimal access to Internet. I'll be blogging the trip when I get back. Including some stunning images of my niece ...

crazy football mom said...

The most beautiful girl in the World!! (his niece...my Grandbaby :-))