Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughts: Call of the Wild by Jack London

Since a Frankie Muniz movie about a boy and his dog turned me into a shuddering mass of tears in the 4th grade, I've shied away from books/movies about animals. A) Someone always dies. (Remember Bambi's mother? Holysweetjesus, that truly scarred my childhood) and B) SOMEONE ALWAYS DIES. That's the main reason why The Call of the Wild has been in my TBR pile for eight years.

A couple of days ago, I finally manned up and started reading it. I know Jack London will be proud, because guess what? I couldn't put the book down. From the very beginning, when Buck was kidnapped and sold to help men searching for gold, I felt compelled to find out what would happen to him.

To say that The Call of the Wild is atmospheric would be like saying Mother Theresa was nice. Not saintly or good beyond comprehension. Just nice. I read the book during a sultry afternoon in the tropics, but I was really somewhere near the Yukon, knee-deep in snow. Some books make you believe that a fictional place is real, but other books like The Call of the Wild transport you to those places.

And the whole thesis of the novel? (I always get nervous about posting my thoughts on the themes of classics, because I’m scared of sounding like a blithering idiot) Buck, cliché as it may sound, really did hear the call of the wild. He didn’t turn into a strong Alpha (male?) dog, because he was kidnapped and forced to run miles and miles everyday without rest. He became a semi-wolf/total badass, because it was in his blood. Even if Buck's a dog, I think the same urges to give in to who we truly are inside can be found in humans. Sure, Buck tried to stay civilized, but he didn’t succeed for long. He soon succumbed to his instincts, and morphed into the kind of dog he should really be.

Overall, I’m glad this book didn’t make me cry, but it was pretty UH-MAZING anyway.

Rating: 5/5

Note: Sorry, guys, if I disappeared and haven’t replied to your comments yet. I promise I’ll get to them in the coming days.

13 comments:

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

There's lots of these 'boy' childhood classics that I haven't read, like this and Treasure Island. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

simplerpastimes said...

The only London I've read is a short story called "To Build a Fire" (I think--something like that, at least) for school. It wasn't exactly uplifting, so I haven't been anxious to read any more of his work, but your description of being transported makes me curious. The best books always transport us!

Zibilee said...

Why is it that I haven't read this book yet? It sounds amazing, and the fact that it's an animal book that doesn't end in tragedy really speaks to my heart. I am so glad that you enjoyed it and that it was such a good read for you. I know my daughter has a copy of this one...off to go find it!

Audra said...

I too avoid animal-y novels for the reason you cited but after your enthusiasm for this one, I think I have to reconsider!

Trisha said...

I tend to avoid animal-books, but it's not for the nice reason you say; I just assume they will be...silly or sappy. Stupid prejudices.

mel u said...

I just read London's most famous short story recently, "To Build a Fire"-I enjoyed it-I also found it a but hard to relate to the icy cold weather where just going outside can kill you in a few minutes if you are not prepared-more and more I am thinking about how weather effects our outlooks.-I enjoyeed your very well done review a lot. Please dont ever be afraid to express your thoughts.

Jessica said...

This one is on my list as its such a classic but normally Im not that keen on animal books.

I have only just popped on here after a blogging break and I love your new look btw

Kailana said...

I have actually owned this book for a while, but I haven't had much interest in actually reading it. One day!

Mel said...

I read this last year, and like you, I couldn't put it down either. You're so right, London completely takes the reader there, including into the midst of all of the action sequences.

You can read my review here if you like

http://melbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/2010/06/jack-london-call-of-wild.html

Emma said...

I feel the same way about animal books. I read Marley and Me and cried like a baby, like breath sucking sobs.

A friend read this one and couldn't get past an 'animal cruelty' element of it and couldn't finish it. Since she told me that, my desire to read it has completely subsided. But after this review, I may reconsider. Was it very graphic and terrible at parts?

Kristen M. said...

I read this a week or two ago too for the first time and thought it was amazing. I just really had no idea what it would be like, much less that it would be from Buck's point of view. Normally I'm not a fan of that but it totally worked this time. Jack London is an amazing writer. I will have to decide what of his to read next!

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Oddly enough, I think I've never read this book. Though I know for a fact that I checked it and White Fang out of the library as a child. Wonder why I never read it...

Out of semi-idle curiosity, was it My Dog Skip that traumatized you so badly? That movie was based on a book whose author I sort-of knew and definitely idolized.

Caro said...

Great review! When I had to read this book in high school I thought it would be terminally boring, so I put it off for as long as I could. I then ended up reading it in one sitting and unable to tear my eyes away from the pages. It's been one of my favorites ever since.
I love how accurately the title of the novel represents the whole theme- you're right, Buck feels the call of the wild in his blood. He was a wild animal deep down and the freedom quality to the end of the novel never fails to make me smile.

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