I bought this book out of pure curiosity; I had heard people talk about how great the film was and caught about fifteen minutes of it on TV once. I was intrigued.
If you have certain sensibilities then the product synopsis will be enough for you to want to read this book. The story of a man who leaves civilised society to discover 'the truth of his own existence', to chase adventure, meaning, truth and beauty in life could be the work of a great fiction novelist. But the story is true and Krakauer's account of Chris McCandless is incredibly moving but also honest; outlining his follies as well as his heart,spirit and intelligence.
One of the best things about this book is that it is not an exercise in pulling in sympathy for Chris or his family. As I said it is very honest and written from the point of view of someone who not only was drawn to the events but who is standing on the outside and wants to understand. In order to do this, John Krakauer draws parallels between Chris McCandless's story and other adventurers' to help uncover what would make someone embark on such a dangerous and brave undertaking. This book is as much of an exploration of human character as it is an account of a tragic 'Alaskan Odyssey'.
This book isnt for you if you are the kind of person who reads the synopsis and dismisses McCandless (and people like him) as arrogant and foolhardy. This book is for you if you have that own sense of adventure yourself. If you do, I dare you to not be moved and drawn into this poignant tale.
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