9 July 2012

Book Club: Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Yay, here is the first ever book review on the blog! One of the benefits of having left university is having a lot more free time to read whatever I choose to. This is, shamefully, only the second book I've read this year, but I hope to spend the summer adding to that amount. I also do reviews at goodreads.com and you can find a link to my account on the right hand side of my blog if you'd also like to join me there!

Into The Wild tells the true story of Christopher Johnson McCandless who, after graduating from university, decides he doesn't want to settle down into the life expected of him by his rich parents and instead travels around America. He ends up in Alaska where he walks 'into the wild' in an attempt to live off the land there. Unfortunately, it is there that his journey ends.

John Krakauer pieces together fragments of McCandless' diary entries, interviews with people who knew him and met him on his travels and the letters and postcards he sent. Krakauer narrates the history of McCandless' life in such a beautiful way- it feels like a work of fiction most of the time, with evocative descriptions and real drama, tension and emotion which pull you into the story. The interviews are especially well done- although emotive, they don't feel too overwrought and really add to the development of the elusive but engaging character of McCandless.

Krakauer also scatters the book with stories of other explorers, as well as his own story of adventure, in an attempt to provide an insight into McCandless' mind and motivation while he was travelling. This adds an extra dimension and more interest to the book.
In my case, having just left university myself, I can really feel the lure of the open spaces McCandless explored and the idea of travelling without borders and limits is so appealing. I think this is one of the reasons the book really resonated with me and I enjoyed it so much.

My only very minor criticism is perhaps the lack of pictures in the book. I feel that a few pictures of McCandless would have perhaps added to the intimacy of the book and really helped me visualise what he had seen and experienced. This is, however, a tiny point.

Overall, I'd really recommend this book. The story of the doomed McCandless is brilliantly told and it's clear the author has a huge amount of respect for him, while not being too sycophantic. It's really engaging and brilliantly told and provides and insight into a fascinating mind.


  1. Helloo Bekah

    I just tagged you for the Liebsters Award if you'd like to check my latest post and pass it along! :)


  2. I keep meaning to start a summer read.. it's now basically August and i've walked by Easons about a dozen times! Bit shameful really! Any other reccomendations? Atonement & The Lovely Bones are my favorite if you haven't read them already! xx

  3. ps. http://laurenjadem.blogspot.co.uk