Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Treat #9: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

I am not a huge non-fiction fan. I read it sporadically if the subject is something I am really interested in. I guess you could say I prefer the made-up worlds of fiction as opposed to reality; and there is really nothing wrong with that.

But my husband loves non-fiction. I have never seen him read a book that wasn't based on fact (granted, he reads FAR LESS than I do-maybe a book/year). He is especially interested in these types of discovery and disaster books. So when Matt said he was interested in reading Into the Wild I immediately bought it for him, trying to show some encouragement in hopes he would read more.

I was slightly familiar with Krakauer before I bought this for Matt. I read Into Thin Air the year it came out and loved the straight-forward account of the Mt. Everest disaster.

Needless to say, it took Matt a long time to get through this novel, so I ended up purchasing it on CD to listen to in the car.

If you know nothing about the story, Into the Wild depicts the life of Chris McCandless, a young man who after graduating college, disappeared into the Alaskan wild to love off the land. The book follows his journey from the moment he disappeared and gave away his savings to charity, to his time working for a company in the plains, to his hitchhiking journey up the California, to his eventual hike into the wilds of Alaska.

Krakauer dives deep into the life of Chris, who seemingly had everything going for him. What drives a young man away from civilization and into the wild?

The story is heart-wrenching and I found myself sucked in to Chris' struggles. Krakauer's writing is objective, but helps explain why someone would run away from everything and everyone they knew and loved. Krakauer also goes into some detail about other examples of people living away from civilization, but none of those stories grabbed in quite the same way.

I also love that Chris was a huge literary geek. Some of the few objects he kept with him were his books that inspired him. I love that Krakauer really hit on this and explained his love of literature and how it saw him through.

There was also a movie adaptation recently. And while usually I am of the school of thought that movies always fail to live up to the book...the opposite might be true in this case. The movie is beautiful, and the soundtrack is amazing. If you are not up for reading the book, you NEED to go and get the movie to watch-you won't regret it. I should also point out that the film stars Kristen Stewart....before her Twilight fame and she is actually pretty convincing! Chris is played by Emile Hirsch, who is an excellent actor.

*Like I said, I have also read Into Thin Air, which is also excellent. I full recommend either of these!*


  1. I really enjoyed your review of this one and I have almost picked this up a time or two at B&N. I will check out the movie sounds great and I do like non-fiction every now and again. Sounds like a worthwhile read!

  2. Lovely review!

    I read this one a bit back when the movie was out--and I couldn't stop reading. It's a sad story but Krakeur did an amazing job depicting it. I'd just read Into Thin Air in the short story version--or maybe it was an excerpt?--but it was amazing, which is part of the reason I picked up Into The Wild. Both were great! I need to read the novel version of Into Thin Air though :)

  3. I really enjoy these armchair traveler, seat of your pants sorts of books. Actually I think they are what got me back interested in reading more non-fiction after years of reading fiction almost exclusively.