Top positive review
A dog's tale that is riveting
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2017
Beautiful story of a dog, Buck, who is a St. Bernard from his father's side a sheep dog from his mother's. Throughout the story Buck proves that he is a dog like no other. His grit and tenacity see him sail through the worst treatment that can be wrought by man on animal. (Warning:If you have a pet or if you are an animal lover it might prove extremely challenging to sail through many parts of the book). Just when Buck finally finds a master who he dearly loves and is loved, he hears a call, the 'call of the wild'. He knows that he cannot ignore the call.
This is a slim volume, can perhaps be read in one sitting if you have some time. I had not imagined that such a book would keep me riveted, for it is not about mystery,suspense, adventure or action. It is about a dog! No wonder this is a classic.
Update (June 2019): After reading this book, I was keen on visiting the Jack London Square at Oakland,CA and I did. A thoroughly enjoyable place that does justice to this son of Oakland. Bronze statues of Mr. London and a dog along with plaques about his life present the visitor a nice peek into his life. Sadly he died relatively young, in his forties. A must see is the log cabin he is believed to have spent some time at while in Alaska. An enthusiastic admirer of his identified the cabin in a remote part of Alaska (based on accounts in his works I think), retrieved it and had it reconstructed!
(if you plan to read the book, feel free to skip the rest of this below)
The Alaska Gold Rush of late 19th century (1896 or so) attracted something like 100,000 prospectors, mostly from the San Francisco/Seattle areas to the Yukon region.Well cared, healthy, powerful dogs attracted unheard of premiums. This prompted a greedy gardener to kidnap his employer's dog and sell it off to work the sleds. While being transported from sunny Santa Clara Valley, Buck changes many cruel hands, however his last tormentor is particularly vile. He clubs Buck to pulp leaving him clinging to life. The experience infuses a steely character in Buck. While anything could break his body, nothing could break his spirit.Buck has to fight many competitors to finally establish supremacy of the pack.His masters recognize his remarkable character and reward him by according him the pride of place, to lead the pack. Demands of transportation make the dogs overworked, underfed and exploited, Buck included. He, like the rest of his pack is reduced to skin and bone. He is sold to ignorant but cruel masters who continue the exploitation, but Buck would have none of it. His greatness is recognized by a camper who adopts him and then begins Buck's wonderful life. He regains everything he had lost and seems even more virile and strong than the best of past times. Buck serves his master, even helping him add to his fortunes. When everything seems hunky dory, something tells Buck his place is in the wild. When the call of the wild is received it does not go unheeded.Meanwhile his master and associates are killed by native Indians.Trust Buck to take revenge and kill them all, establishing his superiority over even man himself. After this inflection point and after having lost his beloved master, Buck is even more convinced that his place is in the Wild and he returns to it, as if he had belonged there all the time.