Into The Wild
An examination of the life of Christopher McCandless, who adopted the life of a vagrant by choice, had many untold adventures all over America, and finally starved to death in Alaska.
“You could tell right away that Alex was intelligent,” Westerberg reflects, draining his third drink. “He read a lot. Used a lot of big words. I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking. Sometimes he tried too hard to make sense of the world, to figure out why people were bad to each other so often. A couple of times I tried to tell him it was a mistake to get too deep into that kind of stuff, but Alex got stuck on things. He always had to know the absolute right answer before he could go on to the next thing.”
“By then Chris was long gone. Five weeks earlier he’d loaded all his belongings into his little car and headed west without an itinerary. The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest sense of the word, an epic journey that would change everything. He had spent the previous four years, as he saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty: to graduate from college. At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence.”
“It is hardly unusual for a young man to be drawn to a pursuit considered reckless by his elders; engaging in risky behavior is a rite of passage in our culture no less than in most others. Danger has always held a certain allure. That, in large part, is why so many teenagers drive too fast and drink too much and take too many drugs, why it has always been so easy for nations to recruit young men to go to war.”
“One of his last acts was to take a picture of himself, standing near the bus under the high Alaska sky, one hand holding his final note toward the camera lens, the other raised in a brave, beatific farewell. His face is horribly emaciated, almost skeletal. But if he pitied himself in those last difficult hours — because he was so young, because he was alone, because his body had betrayed him and his will had let him down — it’s not apparent from the photograph. He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God.”
Update: As of today, I have stopped adding star ratings to books, and removed the existing ratings also. The ratings were rather pointless because I only ever finish books that I like, which meant that I was limited to basically three, four, or five stars for every single book.