A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Feb 24, 2008

Into The Wild


The recent release of the movie, and the conversations about the book it spawned, reminded me of this book and caused me to look it up. As I heard people discussing the movie I heard over and over again about how much they had loved the book. The movie itself seemed to get mixed reviews.

The book is about a young man given to wandering and poverty. A Thoreau adherent to a greater degree than Thoreau himself, like so many of us who have grown in the generations subsequent to Walden, he eventual takes a trip to Alaska where he attempts to live off of the land. As the reader is informed during the opening passage of the book, he is unsuccessful and ends up perishing due to starvation.

What is fascinating about this book isn't so much the arc of Christopher McCandless' travels and eventual demise so much as the exploration of a wanderlust given to young men raised in environments of pressure to succeed. The universal story is in the desire of a young man reaching adulthood who must define himself in opposition to his past so that he may eventually reconcile himself to it. This is such a ubiquitous state of affairs for so many of us, and I know I for one have felt the desire to live in such an extreme way. For me it was veganism, weapons, and Jujitsu. For Chris McCandless it was living in the wild.