Once again, I read The Call of the Wild because Jack London is on a list of authors who was born in January. I am doing this birthday challenge from The Dead Writers Society Literary Birthday Challenge.
For such a short story, this packs a huge emotional punch. Told in the third person, we follow a domestic dog named Buck as he is sold from a family to a life on the frontier in Alaska as a sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush.
We have Buck learning that man was not to be trusted, though some men he would grow to tolerate, respect, and love. There of course were men and one woman that learned to have disdain for during his journey as well.
I swear, London managed to make me feel as if I was right there with Buck while he was traveling through Alaska. He managed to make all of the dogs feel like real live breathing dogs along with the humans who they were forced to take back and forth on trials. I seriously loathed the characters of Mercedes, Hal, and Charles. The character of John Thornton I found to be complex and moving with his love of Buck and Buck's love of him.
Reading about how Buck changed from a domestic dog to a half-wild thing to a wild dog running with his wolf brothers was astounding. Jack London had a way with words. Parts of the narrative were so brutal that it took my breath away.
“He felt strangely numb. As though from a great distance, he was aware that he was being beaten. The last sensations of pain left him. He no longer felt anything, though very faintly he could hear the impact of the club upon his body. But it was no longer his body, it seemed so far away.”
Reading about how Buck forced himself to survive and then eventually thrived under the love of John Thornton was moving. The flow of the book was excellent and London builds the story up until we get to the end.
The ending was heartbreaking and uplifting in turn. I really loved this book. First five star read of 2016 that went on my favorite list.
“But he is not always alone. When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.”