The Call of the Wild by Jack London

(No Series)

Half St. Bernard, half shepherd, Buck learns many hard lessons as a sled dog: the lesson of the leash, of the cold, of near-starvation and cruelty. And the greatest lesson he learns from his last owner, John Thornton: the power of love and loyalty. Yet always, even at the side of the human he loves, Buck feels the pull in his bones, an urge to answer his wolf ancestors as they howl to him.

“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”
Man can be cruel, especially where animals are concerned, and especially in the past before they were enlightened to decency toward our furry friends. Buck actually had a good life for awhile, but soon he was kidnapped and forced into a situation of hard labor, beatings, and pack hierachy. Proving the strong can survive, Buck unleashes the wildness in his beast, carrying the reader through a fascinating journey that ends on a beautiful note.

The short book goes through several stages. The hardest to endure is the initial kidnapping, selling, and seeing Buck have to work his way up through an unfriendly pack to lead a sleigh in the unfriendly Alaskan wilderness. Not all dogs were as lucky, and that's just sad. The second stage is when he sees an actual decent human again, and with the same strength that allowed his climb and survival against the other dogs, he gives the same strength of loyalty to his new two-legged friend. It's a bleak book overall, especially for the good, so while the book doesn't end up on a beautiful and happy note, it does end on another stage of Buck's life where he fully embraces the peace of the wild.

London writes beautifully and he makes his characters fiercely legitimate, but ultimately I'm not seeing a pure focused point to the story other than a bleak and harsh adventure. Life is unfair, as Buck well knows, but he does the best he can with what he has, so perhaps this is the eventual point.

I can't rate this five stars because there was too much turn-off with what the animals endured, and there are some rambling areas, but ultimately it's a well-known classic worth visiting.

   Book Quotes:

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive."

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