My rating: 5 of 5 stars
White Fang by Jack London: Read on 7/25 to page 44 and on 8/3 to The End.
General Spoiler Warning, applies to nearly all books.
If you hear of a book and think you may want to read it based on what you’ve heard, DO NOT READ THE BLURB as the book’s introduction, regardless of where it is listed. This book, at Goodreads, supplied 3 paragraphs of spoilers and one great intro paragraph. IF I had I read the Goodread’s Book intro it would have spoiled 2 parts of the book or at least several paragraphs.
The one good paragraph was this one:
A classic adventure novel detailing the savagery of life in the northern wilds. Its central character is a ferocious and magnificent creature, through whose experiences we feel the harsh rhythms and patterns of wilderness life among animals and men.
I can not write a better non-spoiler intro to the book. Sadly it was preceded by those other 3 paragraphs. I try not to write spoilers, or if I do, I at least make you decide to look at it.
I’m giving 5 of 5 stars. It was NOT amazing, but I did love it. With Goodreads I always get stuck with “It was Amazing”. Why do they do that? Look at Amazon’s low to high star rating. Look at Goodreads low to high star rating. If I were giving a Goodread’s rating it would necessarily be 4 stars then I’d have to comment that it was 4.5.
Not doing that anymore.
I’m using the Amazon rating. It is consistent and makes sense. At the top of Amazon’s chart they don’t throw you a curve ball.
I really did love this book. It felt like I was taken way back to my literary pre-puberty where I had long finished my book of Bible Stories and now my trips to the library were serving me baseball biographies like Ted Williams and Lou Gerhig, following my baseball hero obsession I entered my first pre-puberty literary doldrums… until I discovered MYSTERY! Hardy boys, Nancy Drew…
Only being allowed two books a week, 5 days a week I was waiting for the next trip the the library. Then an older brother (RIP Bro) allowed me to sneak his latest edition of Doc Savage. 130+ Doc Savage adventures later I was in the doldrums again.
Why all this about my ancient history? Way back when Rin-Tin-Tin was on TV!
Sinking into White Fang was like stepping back into the adventures of my youth. Only a few short pages into the book I was scared for Henry and Bill alone in the Yukon tundra being tracked by a large pack of starving wolves. My god, I could not have slept a second if I were them. They were brave strong men through. The kind of men I was going to grow up to be.
I was also confused. I knew the novel was about White Fang. Fortunately I didn’t really know what that means. I’m Indian. Henry and Bill were becoming afraid of a wolf pack that had been following them. “Would Indians help Henry and Bill?” Would one of the Indians be called White Fang? I could tell those men were going to have to face those wolves. Would one of the wolves be called White Fang?
I was excited reading this book, just like with Ted Williams, the Hardy boys, and the invincible Doc Savage and his crew of loyal friends. It was still a very long time until I knew with certainty who or what White Fang was.
Yes… White Fang would have been quite special had the librarian or my mother pointed me towards the row of Jack London books. There would have been nights under the blankets with a flashlight so I wouldn’t be caught not sleeping after lights out. My older brother, rest his soul, loved torturing me though and would always tell if he caught me. We had the same room. Well, it is 4 or 5 decades later.
After this book I checked and I’ve discovered that most of Jack London’s work is on Librovox.org. I love listening and reading… Here’s a sample of the Librovox Audiobook. It’s ok, you can take a little 8 minute taste by Mark F. Smith, one of the best Librovox volunteer readers, from South Carolina. White Fang on Librovox is here.
The free ebook is here. Or if you prefer you can hit Amazon (who is growing ever more disappointing) and get the book FREE there too, and pay a few dollars for their whyspersync audio reading.
I’ll tell you this, if you don’t love Jack London already, and you do fall in love with his writing, you struck gold. He was prolific and it appears most all his work is in the public domain. So you’ll be able to get free ebooks and audiobooks, whatever suits your reading desires.