My Thoughts on Into the Wild


Joshua Webb, Staff Writer

Into the Wild is an award winning novel written by John Krakauer. The book follows the life of Christopher McCandless, a 24 year old college graduate from California, on his journey to Alaska. The story not only shows his adventure around the United States, but explains his interactions with the people he meets. John Krakauer does a great job following up every detail in the timeline of McCandless and uses elements of his own life and other people’s lives to compare to McCandless. Coming from a person who doesn’t like to read during their free time, I really enjoyed this book.

The book itself is a pretty easy read, with only a few words I had to look up. I finished it in about a week. The story isn’t structured like a typical book, meaning that it doesn’t follow McCandless from the beginning to the end. It moves around to different points in his journey and the tales of each person come together in the end to explain their significance.

There were no twists in this story because Krakauer reveals the ending in the first chapter. The rest of the book shows you how specific events unfolded for McCandless. The real life story of McCandless is extremely entertaining and brings out the feel of adventure in most people. It makes the reader envious of some elements of McCandless’ life, even if at some points he seems insane. Krakauer also brings in other stories of people similar to McCandless to compare and reveal who McCandless really is as a person. By the end of the book, it leaves you with unanswered questions to ask yourself. Krakeuer leaves the decision to the reader to decide if McCandless was right doing what he did and if it was worth going to Alaska.

I have liked fiction adventure stories such as “The Odyssey” and “Treasure Island”, but “Into the Wild” doesn’t have the same feel. Given that it is nonfiction, it has more of a sad and realistic tone and really tries to put the reader into the mindspace of McCandless during his journey. At some points, it is obviously less fun than these other stories, but it makes up for it in the realism and repercussions that you witness from the characters.

The one negative aspect of the book, in my opinion, was the order in which the events were written. Krakauer jumped around to many different time periods and introduced a lot of characters. At some points it was hard to follow. Many characters were referenced multiple times and sometimes it was difficult to remember the names and what the characters did. A few times I had to go back a few pages or look up on the internet the names to remind me and not get lost.

The book is a read that I recommend for everyone, even if you don’t get the chance to read it in school. The book shows a lot of influence from the philosophy of transcendentalism and Henry David Thoreau. The story really makes you think about the decisions you make in your life and the different lifestyles people live. It shows that no matter what mistakes you made in the past, you can always change your life tomorrow.