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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.…

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

Overall Book Review:

In The Call of the Wild, Jack London transports the reader into a land of frozen wastes, deadly peril, and pristine majesty. The novel tells the story of Buck, a dog snatched from his place as man’s best friend in a town setting and thrust into the harsh arctic landscape. His struggle for survival is heroic, and he shows great steadfastness and courage throughout the journey. The story explores the question of how much wildness exists buried in the heart of a domestic dog, and the cruel actions of some of the people in this book also bring another question to the forefront: What wildness exists buried in the heart of man?

The author’s experience with this subject, having been a prospector in the North himself, shows through in this book, as details about travel and life in the arctic bring the setting to life. Buck is a dog who is easy to love, and most readers will find themselves instantly invested in his struggles and willing him to pull through the various trials he faces. This book is a classic well worth reading.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations; 9 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore:  A few verbal threats; animals growl and menace each other a few times; an animal bites another animal as a means of communication or bites a human as a sign of affection a few times; a few reports of animals being killed (one of these is an animal put down as a mercy); report of men shot; report of dog fighting; a fight between animals without major injury; a dog chases another dog with intent to kill him; animals nip at each other a few times; an animal is choked to unconsciousness; an animal bites a person; animals are choked, confined, and denied food and water a few times; a character is run over by a sled with no serious injury; a knife fight with no major injury; characters nearly drown in a tense scene; animals hurt and kill other animals a few times, and sometimes bloody wounds are described; animals are whipped or clubbed several times, sometimes with bloody wounds and brutal beating described (one of these scenes is particularly disturbing and graphic); a large fight between animals in which animals die; a man kills a dog with a club; a large fight between animals and humans where animals are killed and hit with clubs and animals bite each other; animals are worked to exhaustion; an animal suffers a bad internal injury, and his suffering is described; a few animals starve to death; an animal is shot; a character attacked by an animal has bloody wounds; a character finds dead bodies of animals and humans, and some are bloody; humans and animals drown; alarge fight between dogs and humans in which dogs are badly injured with blood, broken bones, and eyes lost; a few fights between animals resulting in deep wounds and broken bones; a fight in which an animal kills people, with torn throats and other bloody injuries described.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Gambling; animal cruelty; death of a friend.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters buy drinks to celebrate an occasion.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.