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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Call of the Wild

By Jack London

Reviewed by Taylor "Frost-Whitman-Emerson" Earwood, BCCHS student

Setting down The Call of the Wild by Jack London was one of the hardest things I have done this year. The action, the suspense, the love, and the pain all were intertwined magically in this well-crafted novel about the early gold rush into Alaska.

Buck, previously the pampered pet of a judge in Southern California, gets stolen from his easy lifestyle and is brought to the harsh lands of the north. Buck doesn’t go without a fight, but soon learns that the law of the land circles around the rules of club and fang, the strongest wins and rules, and man is the strongest, so Buck has no choice but to adjust. Through many trials and tribulations, Buck moves from owner to owner, job to job, all while becoming stronger and smarter. In the flash of a second though, everything changes for Buck when he is sold one last time to a party that has no clue what they are doing and leads the dogs and themselves to a watery grave.  That is, except for Buck, who was rescued by a mountain man living off the land. He finds a new kind of friendship with this man that he has never felt before, but despite his new, peaceful, and almost perfect life, he still feels like some part of his ancestral past is clawing and trying to become real again. He has heard the call of the wild, the call that fills those who hear it with the desire to run though the woods at night, to swim in the fast-flowing streams of the wilderness. He soon starts wandering off from his new companion, often for days at a time. He meets other creatures like him, wolves, and feels a kind of kinship to them that he had never felt to anything or anyone else. So when a tragic incident occurs and Buck loses his only connection to the world of man, he leaves that world, and plunges into the forest to join his wild counterparts. He doesn’t just hear the call of the wild anymore, but when he howls, he makes the call of the wild.

The intense language of the piece and the story being told by Buck made this a very fun and exciting read for me. I don’t want to go all “English essay” on you, but London’s diction really emphasized the strong determination in Buck that you could almost feel through the pages. The story, being relatively short too, was able to hold my interest throughout the whole read. Very few books can do this for me as I have been known to just stop reading after a smattering of paragraphs, but this story started out with an interesting plot, maintained it very well with constant action and excitement that peaked with a gut-wrenching, heart-throbbing and deeply inspiring climax. This book gets my (very coveted) seal of approval, and I would suggest that everyone who reads this review go read The Call of the Wild.

Image courtesy of stock.XCHNG.

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