Adventure · Children · Classics · Middle-Grade · YA

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Since two weeks ago was Banned Books Week, I finally got around to read this classic a second time and to actually review it. This tale of determination, the cruelty of Man and thirst for freedom is a masterpiece but also difficult to read, in my opinion.

When I wrote before that the novel was difficult to read, it’s the same reason why I can’t give it five stars. Even though Jack London only portrayed the reality of the time of the “Gold Rush”, the cruel acts and treatment those dogs suffered made me feel revolted with Man; and emotional for the impact of Man’s negative actions. In some parts, it was a struggle to keep reading. For me, it was more difficult to read it now as an adult than before as a teenager.

“The Call of the Wild,” tells the story of Buck, a St Bernard that is taken from his home to work in the Alaskan wild. It’s a tale of endurance, determination, courage and self-discovery.

It’s an impressive novel that is full of moral lessons and life teachings: the survival of the strongest, the power of the strong over the weak, man against nature, life is hard and unfair sometimes and that even though we’re bonded to the rules imposed by society, there is a craving for freedom. These are only a few points that I singled out, the ones that marked me the most. One of the best qualities of this book is that every element in it contributes to the design of a bigger picture, but it still gives enough freedom to the reader to interpret them as they will. The violence and brutally expressed in the pages is painful and yet an eye opener for the abuse of power that we’re still confronted within society nowadays. The thirst for progress, the need to have more, to be better than anyone else is the drive of a society that will stop at nothing to have what they judge as necessary but at the same time, it idealizes nature.

The story-line is solid but very harsh and brutal; it got a bit hard to read sometimes. Man proves to be the cruellest of all animals and the most greedy of them all. The reader is taken on a journey of feelings of despair, hopelessness and suffering that ends with the small light of hope at the end of the tunnel.

Though it may seem that this is the story of a simple dog, the reader will walk with him in his journey and harsh life where, with will, strength and determination, he ends up becoming the pack leader of a wolf pack in the wilderness of Alaska. Buck is a brilliant main character that shows qualities that we humans tend to value and respect: he is loyal to a fault, courageous and determinate to life even though he doesn’t know if the pain will ever end. He proves throughout the book that, even though he battled against savage events that scarred him, his spirit remained unbroken.

The picture that Jack London created with this novel is that hope remains even in the hardest of times and sooner or later, things will get better. A truly inspiring tale that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.

4 Stars

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