I picked up the Amazon.com “Free Edition”, and purchased the Audible Whispersync for Voice or Immersion Reading for $2.99 which Audible did not screwed up for once! So this review covers both the ebook and the Audible audiobook. I read it on August 12, 2016.
I really liked it and recommend this book to all readers. It is a classic for good reason. My 4 of 5 star rating is probably an insult, but I was comparing the book to White Fang which I really loved. The hard thing with giving any rating is that it is subjective. Whether the reviewer realizes it or not, their rating is almost certainly relative to something else.
Call of the Wild is very similar to White Fang. Rather than the coming of age story of a young wolf, it is instead about “Buck”, a large and powerful St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd. Unlike White Fang Buck starts in a happy home in Santa Clara Valley, not born into the wild. Buck is dog-napped by one of his owner’s servants in order to cover the shortcoming of his gambling vice. So begins Buck’s life moving ever northward and driving him to his inner Call of the Wild.
What I did not know while I was reading this novel is that during that period of the Yukon gold rush there was a heavy demand for strong sled dogs. That created an underground black market to meet that demand, which is one reason the scoundrel at the beginning of the book would even think of stealing his employer’s dog in order to sell it.
On a personal level I connected with several of the characters. First with Judge Miller. While we aren’t shown much about him, I know the ache of losing a beloved pet. Most importantly I identified with Buck.
Life is hard. I’ve never complained much about my life but Ive certainly felt kidnapped and indentured into service like Buck. I’ve certainly felt stresses of society pressing in upon me and having to change from who I am at heart to something more suitable for survival as happens with Buck. When Buck was being horribly abused, I felt that desire for justice that I often felt when I was younger. Frankly I don’t see how any reader could avoid connecting to Buck.
I even connected with even the mail delivery workers on several levels. You know it is great fiction when you connect with the minor characters in a book who are barely there, then they are gone.
I’ll not personally spoil it further but if you must spoil your reading here’s the Cliff Notes Summary. It has been a while since I finished the book and needed to refresh my feeble memory of the story. I also found Jack London’s biography there, which was as interesting to me as this book.
While I purchased the audiobook from Amazon.com, there is no reason for you to pay for it. You can get many of Jack London’s audiobooks free at Librovox.org, and in a number of various audiofile formats at Project Gutenberg.
I also ran across the 2000 movie of Call of the Wild on YouTube. Today is 9/29/16. I mention that as I’m unaware of poster’s rights and DCMA folks might ask it be removed. So move now if you want a look at it.