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Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

The author at a certain point admits to an obsession-like interest in the topic of this book. This interest is sparked by the interesting life of Christopher Johnson McCandless. But mainly, its focus is on the fascinating, and somewhat unbelievable journey that ultimately led to his grim demise. As the author states it, Chris was on an “odyssey” of an adventure en route to reinventing himself and completely severing himself from his former life, even to the point of going by the new name of Alexander Supertramp. This seemed to surprise the author as he makes it a point to mention Chris’ success and that of his family as he grew up and went on to receive a 3.72 GPA in college just before giving the entirety of his remaining college fund, which consisted of $25,000, to an organization dedicated to aiding world hunger. The author also mentions Chris’ interest in Africa’s troublesome issues with nourishment in which inhabitants rely mainly on small portions of rice. This, along with a certain incident in which Chris had survived in a Mexican desert for thirty-six days with only five pounds of rice and any fish that he managed to catch, fueled his notion that he could survive in the rough Alaskan bush for an extended period of time.

Within the first twenty-five pages, it was obvious that the amount of research done by the author was immense and in great depth. Although the book is well put together and eloquently written there are some apparent downfalls. Being the largest downfall, I found the majority of the book to be long-winded and somewhat boring. For instance, there seemed to be an abundance of information that could become quite redundant. For example, there are a number of places in the book that took an overwhelming amount of space to describe the environments and people that Chris had encountered. It came to the point that the information had become quite irrelevant and monotonous in the conveying of the fact that Chris was impressively intelligent, despised lavish living, was incredibly stubborn, and was absolutely infatuated with “White Fang” author Jack London. Also, the book as a whole seemed to be quite haunting due to the over description of some surprising details which made them quite vivid and capable of lingering in your thoughts.

If I were to have the opportunity to give advice to the author, I certainly would. My first suggestion without a doubt would be to put a stronger focus on the actual words of Chris in the form of personal journal entries and also letters and postcards to the acquaintances met along his journey. I feel that these additions would reduce the need to drone on about many of the same points throughout the entire book. In addition, personal journal entries, first person narratives, and the path Chris had taken as described by the author gave much insight into a troubled and confused psyche. But the insertion of the passages of certain novels regarding survival in harsh conditions or passages in relation to the possible mindset of Chris at certain points of his travels was a fine addition to the book. Overall, I think that the dullness throughout the book severely hurt the author’s execution and his final result.



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