In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
My opinion of Chris McCandless changed throughout the book. Initially I thought he was a spoilt rich kid who wanted to give up his affluence to spite his family. In the early chapters describing his initial time spent wandering the southern US, I felt cross with his total lack of consideration for his family.
As the book progressed I felt more empathy for Chris. I think Krauker’s idea of including tales of his own and other explorers’ hazardous journeys broke up the telling of Chris’ story too much. However, it did help to explain the motivation behind Chris’ need to go to the wilderness. It was tragic that he went off so unprepared.