The Call of the Wild has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time now. I actually bought this book when my mom and I attended the MV Logos Hope Book Fair, but I hadn’t gotten myself into reading it. Recently, though, I was looking for a short read and this book caught my attention. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
Stolen from his life of luxury, Buck finds himself in the frozen Yukon Territory as part of a team of sledge dogs. Half-starved and cruelly treated, Buck must endure hardship beyond anything he’s experienced before. And through it all, he hears the call of the wild beckoning him – playing on his most primitive animal instincts.
The story specifically sets place in Alaska. I’m grinning ear to ear when I find out about this. Yes, as shallow as it may sound, I dream of going to that place someday and you know, from the books I read, the setting never goes as far as Alaska. What’s so special about Alaska, you might ask? I’m not after the snow or the cold, but I genuinely wish to witness the grandness of the aurora borealis. Plus, I might have a chance of seeing sled dogs firsthand! Now I’m more excited, but who knows when that trip will happen. But hey, a girl can dream.
Anyway, going back to the story, something happens that leads the people to go North. And since technological means of transportation is unlikely during that time, and given the weather condition of the place of destination, the last resort left is to start recruiting sled dogs. Unfortunately, Buck is not able to escape this dreadful event.
Buck, a mixed-breed of St. Bernard and Scotch shepherd dog, is stolen from his owners to take part in dog sleds and is treated badly. A domesticated dog he is, Buck has to bear the harsh weather and cold treatment from the humans and fellow dogs. But the most interesting part of this is the fact that from a being civilized dog, he begins to turn to his primordial instincts.
The Call of the Wild is quite a unique book as the narration does not limit itself to describe only the setting and a human’s thoughts and actions. Jack London makes it possible to bring readers into the minds of the dogs as well. The way Jack London builds up the story is so realistic and at the same time, imaginative because he succeeds in perfectly portraying how a dog thinks and acts. Somehow, it makes me understand a little bit more about dogs and how they work as a pack. And evidently, I find myself becoming more emotionally attached to the dogs since I don’t deny that I have a soft spot when it comes to them.
While I read through the book, I come to admire at how Buck develops to become a stronger and wiser dog. He proves to trust his instincts more than obeying and that certainly saves his life. He also possesses a dominating feature that deems him fit to become the leader of a pack and true enough, he does not fail in this category. Amazingly, while Buck gradually hears the call of the wild and becomes one, he’s still the kind of dog you like to have around. The loyalty and love he has shown towards John Thornton and vice verse reach deeply to my heart and make me grow fond of the depth of their bond. Reading about him definitely reminds me of my pet dogs. They’re not as wild as Buck, but considering the time I spend with them, I have come to love them as part of my family, too. Just like in the book, I hope to read their minds or that they could communicate with us in common language. I would really hate it if they were ever to be separated from us as they already hold a special place in our hearts.
To be honest, I rarely read classic books, or worse, I don’t seem to remember the last time I read a classic, but I don’t regret to have picked up this book. It actually took me a little while to get used to Jack London’s writing as the words used and how they are structured are different from contemporary books. Despite this simple realization, I’m glad I still decided to read and finish the book. It reminds me how the past continues to be a part of us and should never be forgotten as it will continue to shape us mentally and perhaps, emotionally.
Overall, I ended up enjoying the book more than I expected. It offers something different from what I often read and the story keeps me interested until the end. This classic book is perfect for children, and yet, its storyline is not so childish at all that young adults or adults will still find themselves enjoying it. I will surely miss Buck and I hope this story continues to live on in the hearts and minds of the young and old.