Unlike the movie, in the book you know how the story ends from Page One. I suppose the author (Jon Krackauer, columnist for Outside magazine) felt that it would help him tell the story, since he's constantly weaving in his own experiences and opinions throughout the book. Krakauer is an extreme adventurist in his own right, having climbed many mountains - in fact I also plan to read 'Into Thin Air', a book he wrote about his tragic trip up Mt. Everest.
Much of his life experience follows a path similar to that of Chris/Alex's, or vice versa. Sometime solitary adventurer, sometime extreme chance-taker, sometime stubborn idiot. It's no wonder I relate to both of them so much...
The book contained many memorable quotes. One of my favorites, from a letter that Alex wrote to the old man in the desert, trying to convince him to change his sedentary lifestyle:
"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
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."
OK now read that again.
I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves to travel, loves the outdoors, is searching for something, or just loves to read. You won't be disappointed.