Since the title of this blog is "Shida Book Club," I feel chagrined that this is my first entry regarding a book. It's about time I guess. It's not that I haven't been reading, but that the reading material I've been perusing has been abstruse, esoteric and in most cases so ancient and irrelevant to modern society that I found it inappropriate to write about on a shared blog. This novel by Krakauer, though, both moved me and is relatively contemporary. It follows the tragic tale of an idealistic youth that graduated from my alma mater, Emory University in Atlanta. His personal code of ethics and compulsion for communion with nature are all aspects that I highly resonate with. Hence, after watching the film (2007, directed by Sean Penn) by the same name, I was committed to reading the book as well.
Chris McCandless a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp has been vilified by numerous Alaskans for his supposed hubris and ignorance and lack of respect for the Great White North, where he perished. However, I am never one to pass judgment on another and on the contrary, I find his feat not to be a failure but an exultation of the human spirit in spite of apparent appearances.
I end this review with a short excerpt from a letter written by Chris himself to a man, Ronald Franz, who had only known Chris for a short period of time after picking up a lone hitchhiker (Chris) but grew so fond of the boy that he asked Chris for permission to be his adopted father.
"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be a crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty."