The call of the wild is like the lure of a siren. When you hear it, you can’t ignore it. Chistopher McCandless, a determined young man, felt its impact and acted upon it. I have just finished reading Into the Wild by John Krakauer, and although the salient facts of Christopher’s life and death are now clearer, I am left with dozens of questions. I was his age once, and I remember how, back then, the world was colored in black and white. But while I verbally raged against society and its vices, Christopher, known as Chris, after graduating from college at Emory, sick of the middle class’ hypocrisy left his family and ended up in Alaska. It took him two years to travel through the western part of the United States, with a stop south of the border in Mexico, before reaching his final destination into the wild. Chris spent two years on the road, taking jobs here and there, living mostly at the fringe of society, but still connecting with men and women along the way. Chris’s capacity of leaving such a deep print wherever he went is probably the reason why his story is so compelling. I can’t help but think that I would have loved to read a version of Into the Wild written by Alexander Supertramp (Chris’s moniker). Since I live in this side of the universe, where Chris died, I am grateful that John Krakauer took his time to narrate the young man’s last journey. The book starts with the discovery of Chris’s remains inside the abandoned Fairbanks 142 bus, and goes back and forth in time following the author personal thoughts, the heartfelt contributions given by the persons Chris met before dying, and Chris’s notes and postcards. John Krakauer didn’t stop at gathering information, he also investigated the facts that led to Chris’s death. The author, who felt a connection with the young man, didn’t believe, as many others who dismissed the story as a tale of arrogance and stupidity, that Chris would have confused two plants and ate the seeds from the poisonous one ( as depicted in the movie directed by Sean Penn). Krakauer’s theory is that Chris was poisoned eating from the right plant by a toxic mold which grew on the wet seeds. While reading the book I could feel Krakauer’s tenacity in defending Chris McCandless’ actions, as a brother or a father would have done. Or maybe he was defending himself, who had survived youth and its pitfalls, where Chris had not.
“I have had a good life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!” Christopher Johnson McCandless, 1968-1992.
Sometimes plan B doesn’t go as smoothly as…planned. I set my mind to read Into the Wild by John Krakauer , after plan A didn’t work out to my liking. Plan A is a book that I don’t think is worth talking about. It is otherwise written by an author I think there are tons of good things to say. Therefore I decided that I wasn’t going to sully her splendid reputation as a story teller. The book in question is also her first. I have a soft spot for first time authors, as one day I hope to be one myself.
P.S. of the P.S.