Review of Into Thin Air
Because I am in AP Language and Composition this year, my studies are being focused on non-fiction writing. I personally prefer novels, but I do understand the merit and value of non-fiction. Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air was a book that I- a difficult reader to please- thoroughly enjoyed reading and believe that any reader would as well.
I was first intrigued by Into Thin Air because it is about a Mt. Everest expedition. This alone appeared to be more gripping than other non-fiction options such as compilations of essays or biographies. It also seemed to be educational- which is always a plus. This book is a #1 National Bestseller which indicates that what lies in the pages must be something of value and interest. Reading this book is rewarding in a number of ways; the reader will be entertained, as well as educated.
Into Thin Air is a book about Krakauer’s experience during his Mt. Everest expedition. He recounts the tragedies that are faced during the descent of he and his crew. The details that Krakauer provides make the reader feel like he or she is on the mountain with him. As painful as it may be to read at times, the reader finds themself not wanting to put the book down. I wanted to- and did- keep reading because I simply had to know how the bottom was reached, and by whom. The “body count” plays a factor in the desire to read, but there is another aspect that kept me interested- the information. Throughout each chapter, Krakauer interrupts his story telling with additional information that helps the reader to understand what he went through. For example, to address the financial commitment involved he discusses the pricing history and the economy of guiding an expedition up the treacherous ascent. He does not let himself get too off topic though.
Krakauer’s writing is both intellectual and easy to follow. His diction is complex, but it’s not too difficult to where the reader will find his meaning obscure. He gains credibility because he is constantly informing the reader of various feats he has taken on, and those of others. He is very familiar with the outdoors and has a great understanding of climbing, and the history of it.
I would highly recommend Into Thin Air to any high school student looking for an enjoyable, on the edge of your seat, non-fiction book. From an interesting and gripping personal experience, to details about a popular adventure, to a prime example of exemplary writing technique, the reader of this book will be enlightened in a number of ways.
--by Natalie Lautrup