(Note: Personal info) I work at Outside Magazine (where this story was first published as an article) and received this book from my father back in 1990. When I applied for my position at Outside, my high school english teacher based his recommendation for my position here, by way of a comparison between myself and McCandless. I think many of us can relate to the experience of finding ourselves, often in the most extreme and dangerous of situations. (In my case, I was one of the few students in my high school who left the safety net of my family and friends in RI, to attend school in VA, and ultimately move more than half-way across the country to NM.
The emotional reaction I had to this book was very personal and charged. I felt that the strength and perseverence it took for McCandless to make this journey (although naive and fully irresponsible) was very powerful nontheless. When McCandless was going through his time at the end "on the bus", it was so grueling to 'witness'...as if again, I were personally experiencing this. Emotionally, it is such a coming of age, though iconic tale of dying before 'ones time' though experiencing a 'condensed life version' to almost make his life seem fully lived and realized...
I would recommend reading this book to children coming into their teenaged years, as well as people who really enjoy a good adventure and who enjoy the great outdoors. It is a great story for those who love a compelling drama, and excellent writing.
The setting so perfectly depicts the feelings of isolation and loneliness which was the backdrop of McCandless's experience. It is almost as if the setting were a character in and of itself, which provided much of the emotional intensity of this beautiful, heartwrenching tale.
I feel that McCandless was so very angry and agitated in his home life, suffering something of an "Iron John Syndrome", though throughout his adventures and mishaps, he surrendered to a place of peace and near-enlightenment.
In my opinion, the movie adaptation was well cast and executed. Of course, like most adaptation films, it is challenging to capture the literary detail on film, however, since the setting played such an important role, it seemed to soften the edge of the adaptation process.
What did you think of this review?