Welcome to Online Book Club Week 2!
This month, we’re reading and watching Into the Wild, the true account of Chris McCandless’ life. From the very beginning of the book, we know that Chris left behind his family and friends and adventured out into the Alaskan wilderness. Unfortunately, his body was found by hunters several months later.
How do you like Jon Krakauer’s writing style? According to his website, Krakauer got his start by writing for magazines, so his writing style is fast paced and detailed. I really enjoy reading Krakauer’s writing because it is so detailed, but it doesn’t feel dry or scholarly. I think this story just flies by—maybe it’s because Chris/Alex is always traveling and doing something new?
In the first six chapters, Krakauer sets up the narrative for Chris. Chris, seemingly out of nowhere, decides to leave his family after graduating from college, burning all of his money and renouncing earthly possessions. He hitchhikes around and has great adventures, and he meets new friends wherever he goes. Also, he doesn’t contact his family—a note that seems particularly sad to me. We also find that Chris tells everyone that his name is Alex Supertramp, further separating himself from his family and past.
In the book, Krakauer doesn’t really go into much detail about why Chris would want to leave his family. However, the documentary Return to the Wild that I mentioned last week goes into more detail. According to Chris’ sisters, Chris grew up in a really chaotic family with an abusive father. Hearing these details kind of helped me to better understand how Chris could want to sever all ties with his family and live in the wilderness. I really encourage you to check out the documentary. It’s really interesting.
What do you think of the book so far? Are you interested by the story? Are you disappointed to know the ending from the very beginning of the book, or does that make you feel more intrigued? Let me know what you think!
Before I go, I’ll leave this link from Outside magazine that shows some of the pictures Chris took on his adventure in the wild. It also gives a little blurb that explains when and where the photos were taken. Make sure to check it out because it gives a more complete picture of Chris and his travels.
I hope to hear from you in the comments. And make sure to check back next week as we talk about the next six chapters.