Into the wild. Wow…what a story!
A deep respect for Alexander Supertramp (Christopher Johnson McCandless) grew as I read of his solid character, his fierce determination and independence, and of course his stunningly daring adventures! Every person whose life he touched on his journey felt changed for the better by their association with him (That is one of my ultimate goals from the words of Mother Theresa). He must have truly been a phenomenal human being to have touched so many lives of so many different types of people and earned their respect and love!! Amazing! I adored Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) throughout this book! His premature ending was a tragic loss for the world.
I am envious of the life he lived in his final two years – an entire lifetime of experiences gathered in two short years. I felt his self-righteousness and his need to veto all the mendacity in the world and his life as my own. I admired his ability to make such a stand and his courage in walking away from all sense of security and achieving his dream. As I read on though, I began to wonder many things. In spite of his angry resentment toward his father, had he not had the kind of parents and support he did for his entire life prior to leaving it all, would he have been the same person? Would he have had such courage? I say no. To have such a vast sense of independence and confidence as he did, he must have been given the luxury of a powerful inner sense of stability created at his core that allowed and developed such a firm and fierce stance. …Until I read of his parents visiting the “magic bus” 10 months after his death.
Suddenly, I was envious of the parents he so vehemently and immaturely resented, wishing I had such loving and accepting people as the main characters in my first 24 years of life. I gather he had some major discrepancies with his father and the deceit his parents shrouded him in for so long and I certainly ”get” that. However, some of that was standard child versus parents stuff, that period most go through when forming their own individual identity ….if they are fortunate enough to have parents who allow such growth. With my history, I could never take such a gift as that for granted. We don’t all have parents like that.
My heart tore as I pictured his mother standing sentient in that dilapidated bus, among his personal belongings at the end of his life, breathing in his clothes for any trace of scent of her son to whom she gave so very much free love and acceptance. She loved him and he broke her heart. The movie indicated that he might have come to a place of recognition and understanding of his parents before he passed, although I was disappointed to not hear of him leaving them any kind of communiqué specifically telling them and so we can’t ever know for certain. He owed them both a huge apology!
As a mother, my heart aches for Billie McCandless and wants to have a strongly worded conversation with her son, Christopher. As a child of my mother, I can’t help but have a fierce envy of this boy and his wide open life possibilities which he was afforded due to the kind of parents and upbringing he had. It’s clear he was not nearly as stifled by them as he felt he was and it’s deeply tragic to me that he passed before gaining the maturity to acknowledge and comprehend what a priceless and precious gift that was for the very life he so resented.
I ended the story feeling conflicted among feelings of jealousy, admiration, disgust and adoration for this brave and intelligent, albeit selfish and “bratty”, young man.
An interesting personal point to me in Chris’ story is that he shares the same brirthdate as one of my best friends’. Doubly intriguing in its coincidence(?) of their very similar personalities! (I confess: I’m fascinated by astrology.) George was such a quiet, intelligent, and reflective type who was fiercely resentful of his parents (with good reason at times) and always far more comfortable alone than in society or groups. He spoke often of going off into the wilderness someday and living far from what he termed the “concrete jungle”. He dreamed of building a cabin with a huge garden and just living in relative isolation, free from the deceit of government, society and materialism in the world which deeply disgusted him. The similarities between George and Chris’s personalities are truly amazing. This added to my understanding of Chris (and surprisingly, George as well) as a soul who reveled in nature and shunned all things which society represents and reveres. It definitely added even more depth and beauty to his story for me, although the story certainly doesn’t lack those things entirely in its own right. Makes me more grateful to have the opportunity to read of this unique and morally strong man and makes me miss and appreciate my friendship with George from so long ago as well.