The Call of the Wild

by Jack London
Reviewed date: 2011 Aug 25
Rating: 3
102 pages
cover art
cover art

I listened to the Librivox recording of The Call of the Wild on my trip to Wyoming. The last time I read The Call of the Wild was about 16 years ago, and surprisingly, I remembered most of the main plot points. It's as good as I remember, too.

Buck, a huge mixed-breed dog, is kidnapped from his easy life as a pet and sold to work as a sled dog in the Yukon. He quickly learns the law of club and fang--that is, a man with a club is more than a match for a dog--and learns how to be a good sled dog. He comes into conflict with the lead dog, Spitz, whom he eventually kills in a duel. Buck then becomes lead dog.

Buck and the team are sold several times, and eventually Buck ends up with John Thornton, the first man who shows him genuine affection and love. Buck saves Thornton's life by towing him a rope when Thornton falls into an icy river. Eventually, Thornton and his partners strike it rich--gold! As they collect the gold, Buck roams the forest and gets in touch with his wild side. When natives murder Thornton and his partners, Buck takes revenge on their village, killing many. Then, with no ties left to civilization, Buck joins a wolf pack. He has finally answered the call of the wild.

The one thing I noticed this time, that I didn't before, is that Buck is a bully. He's as mean as Spitz, in his own way. But I guess we're supposed to root for him because he's the hero.

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