I read Into the Wild around the time the movie came out. I can’t remember if I read it first or saw the movie first, but in any case, both had a pretty big impact on me. I was fortunate enough to teach excerpts as well during a unit on transcendentalism. I had the students read the excerpts alongside excerpts from Walden, comparing and contrasting the thoughts and ideas each presented. Obviously, the ideas were a bit different since Walden is a first-person account and Into the Wild is told about the author, rather than the author’s own words, but Jon Krakauer was also an outdoorsman who presented the Chris McCandless’s ideas seamlessly.
The Wild Truth is the other side of the story from Chris’s sister’s perspective. Carine discusses their rocky childhood. Their father was married to another woman when he had children with Chris and Carine’s mother. They have a slew of half-siblings. Their parents eventually married, but life wasn’t easy. They were verbally abused on a daily basis from both parents. Carine explains why this information wasn’t included in Into the Wild. She told Krakauer the entire story but was always hopeful for reconciliation with her parents, so she asked him to gloss over the terrible childhood. When she felt she couldn’t keep quiet any longer, she published her own story.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book, simply because it’s really painful to read about other people’s suffering. And I really didn’t see *why* this book needed to be published. I’m not saying Carine should have kept protecting her abusive parents, but this could easily have been told in a series of articles. Much of the book was about Carine and her life, which was fine, but not really all that interesting to me. She reiterated her love for Chris, which I fully believe (she named her daughter after him) and her half-siblings who were always there for her and Chris. As far as memoirs go, this one felt a bit unnecessary, but it was nice to revisit Chris and reminisce on the impact he had in the world.