Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (adventure)

Update:  Read this review and then go see the movie--release date February 21 (Canada). Yeah, the movie. I know... I just found out about it. 


Read Roger Ebert's review and buy the book.

The Call of the Wild is about weathering through life transitions and learning how to be the master of your own destiny.

Buy the Book

serialized in the summer of 1903 by The Saturday Evening Post
later that year the manuscript was purchased by MacMillan Publishers
my copy was published in 1964 by The MacMillan Company of Canada
The MacMillan Company of Canada was founded in 1905 and ceased to exist in 2002

Set in Yukon, Canada in 1897, The Call of the Wild is a story about a dog. Buck is a four-year-old St. Bernard Collie cross. (Buck was inspired by a real dog) Though other dogs live on Judge Miller's estate in Santa Clara Valley--two lap dogs and a pack of fox terriers--Buck is the king 'over all creeping, crawling, flying things..., humans included.' (p. 3)

Buck would have lived out his days as a pampered pup--as his father and mother had done--had it not been for a gambling debt. To pay the debt, Buck is sold to a dog breaker.
'The almost perpetually frozen roads necessitated the use of dog-teams and sleighs for travel, and with the rush of gold came a demand for dogs that the native Alaskan huskies could not fill. The practice of importing dogs from the south to fill this ever-growing demand was resorted to--hence the fate that befell poor Buck.'
-Linton D. Read, Vice-Principal Moira Secondary School, Belleville, Ontario
The Call of the Wild is about a southerner managing to survive and thrive in the north-- the harsh, unforgiving north. Due to Buck's determination and self-respect, we fall in love with him. Though others may doubt him, though others may bully him, Buck knows what he is capable of.
'His muscles became hard as iron and he grew calloous to all ordinary pain... He could eat anything, and [extract]...the last least particle of nutriment [from it to build] into the toughest and stoutest of tissues. Sight and scent became remarkably keen, while his hearing developed such acuteness that in his sleep he heard the faintest sound and knew whether it heralded peace or peril...
And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again.' (p. 23-24)
The Call of the Wild is, at times, an in-your-face brutal story and the writing is dated in the treatment of minorities and women, but, in spite of these deficiencies, this short novel (108 pages) is an entertaining and inspiring read.


About the Author...

John Griffith London was famous for writing 'romantic, exciting adventures with vividly realistic 

settings and characters.' (-Linton D. Read) These stories were based on his own adventures. 

The Call of the Wild started pouring out of London's pen on December 1, 1902. Three months later the manuscript was finished. He had planned The Call of the Wild to be a short story but his pen kept moving and it became London's seventh book. 'Between 1900 and 1916, he completed more than 50 fiction and nonfiction books, hundreds of short stories and numerous articles.'

Jack London died at the age of 40 on November 22, 1916.

10 Facts About The Call of the Wild

Next Sunday evening...

2010's:  Your Favourite Books

We've spent (almost) a decade of reading together (since 2012). What were your favourite books?