It was raining, the day I finished reading Into the Wild. I realised I hadn’t moved an inch from where I was sitting. Later, I caught myself staring blankly into the rain. I was silently mourning Chris’ death.
Into the Wild, for me, is special. I could, in more ways than one, relate to Chris McCandless.
My school of thinking is not very much unlike his, though I possess, in the words of Krakauer, neither his intellect nor his lofty ideals. He was a genius. He is who I have always wanted to be (and still do).
This book carries a personal meaning for me and it only helped that it is both eloquent and meticulously researched. For the most part, I read the book with an intoxicated dread that continued long after I finished it.
There is a chapter on a Roland Franz, an 82-year-old devout Christian. It is probably the most poignant of them all.
“When Alex left for Alaska," Franz remembers, "I prayed. I asked God to keep his finger on the shoulder of that one; I told him that boy was special. But he let Alex die. So on December 26, when I learned what happened, I renounced the Lord. I withdrew my church membership and became an atheist. I decided I couldn't believe in a God who would let something that terrible happen to a boy like Alex."
This passage, towards the chapter’s end, sums up how deeply Chris affected Franz and all the people he met on the way.
He lived a life he wanted to live, in his own way. I’m saddened by all the anger and scorn spewed on Chris and his decisions. Had he been alive, it would have been a different story altogether. He would have been hailed as a hero. But it doesn't matter. He will always have my deepest respect.
This book delivers a fitting tribute to him, in a prose that rival the best of travel literature.