This book is no doubt a pleasure to read, and the way it has been written is in itself marvelous and credit
should be given to the author, that how by this creative manner he has been able to explain what could have inspired him Chris to do what he did and why is it that his life should be taken as a success instead of a joke that many among us have done.
The book binds you in its spell from the very start, but not due to an element of surprise. From the start the author lets you know what would be the fate of the adventurer. But the entire suspense of the book is in the time that he spent. The great mystery and the only mystery the book has to offer is to understand the mind of the person, to understand Alex a bit more, to understand why he did what he did. And by the end of it you do know a bit more about why is it that a young man would take on a journey like this that promises more risk than safe u-turns.
Each Chapter starts with a quote from a book that truly describes his state and what is it that he was searching for. And this makes it easier to understand him more clearly than any one might have understood him even if they had know him their entire life.
“Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.” – Thoreau
“I wanted movement, and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” – Leo Tolstoy, “Family Happiness” Passage highlighted in the books found with Chris.
“The desert is the environment of revelation, genetically and physiologically alien, seriously austere, esthetically abstract. historically inimical… Its forms are bold and suggestive. The mind is beset by light and space, the kinesthetic novelty of aridity, high temperature and wind. The desert sky is encircling, majestic, terrible. In other habitats, the rim of sky above the horizontal is broken or obscured; here together with the overhead portion, it is infinitely vaster than that of rolling countryside and forest lands… In an unobstructed sky the clouds seems more massive, sometimes grandly reflecting the earth’s curvature on their concave undersides. The angularity of desert landforms imparts a monumental architecture to the clouds as well as to the land….
To the deserts go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality” – Paul Shepard, Man in the Landscape, A historic view of the esthethics of nature.
The book actually shows the way he matures, from a young boy looking for freedom, escape, to fulfill the desires of a young mind.. of going out and exploring the world, to try and make it on one’s own to finally understanding that what is life all about, to understanding what are the things that really matter, to learning the lesson of what is real “Happiness is real when shared”, and what are the things worth doing on this planet, in this limited existence that we have been given.
Since I got done with the book, I have been wondering that although many of us have learned to spend our lives in this 9-to-5 existence, there are many among us that just want to break away from it, to escape and run away to something real. How is it that people are able to trap themselves in this meaningless and unnatural existence and go on living it? Why is it that they don’t want to run away and see all that there is to see! This is all that we have… a few more years before we are mixed with the dust, then why is that we are wasting our time not knowing the real face of God or nature or soul, or whatever it is that any one of us is comfortable in describing this great earth!
What Chris did is not so hard to understand.. at least not for me.. he wanted to explore, to see what this world is all about.. to live- to really live. How is it that we as humans can deny the instincts that have been a part of us, of our ancestors for millenniums and to surrender so easily to this concrete jungle where having a few plants is considered equivalent “to be close to nature.” It makes complete sense to me to read what he did! His life, for me at least holds more meaning, than a man who might have lived 50 years and still doesn’t has anything this real or has had any real contact with the God that he has bowed before for so many years!
This book has something to offer to everyone, all of us can relate to something or the other in this book. All of us can find some form of connection or line or memory that we can link ourselves with in this book and with the life of Chris McCandlees.. from the author to me and to the many many more that would be reading this book and watching this movie.
My prayers and wishes for the family of Chris McCandlees! Your son was one of his kind among the millions that walk this earth…..!!