The Call of the Wild
By: Jack London
My Rating: FIVE out of FIVE STARS
Best for: Advanced 12 and up
Have you ever wanted to time travel?
Read a classic novel.
Jack London’s most famous book is a classic in every way.
Buck is the four-legged narrator of this wonderful story. When he’s dog-napped and sold off, we follow Buck on a dog’s-eye journey from a cozy life of warmth and plenty to the harsh life of the Alaskan wild during the Klondike gold rush in the final years of the 19th century.
The best part?
It’s not a book. It’s a time machine.
Written in 1903, The Call of the Wild transported me to another time and place. You know how adding color to a black and white photo adds miles of unexpected depth? That’s what it felt like to read about Alaska in 1897. Suddenly I was there, and I felt all the fatigue, cold, desperation, relief, and joy of traveling 40 miles a day through the snowy, unforgiving wilderness on a sled pulled by dogs.
Now I kind of get why this book moved Chris McCandless so strongly he decided the ultimate man vs nature experience would be a solo trip into the Alaskan Wilderness. Go read Into the Wild.
Spoiler alert: He died.
The magic is The Call of the Wild wasn’t written by a modern writer about what it might have been like. Jack London was that person. He was there in 1897. He lived it.
This is the closest to time travel as we’re going to get.
So take the trip.
Only 130 pages and content appropriate for 12 and up, it’s perfect for advanced young readers. The 1903 language will challenge some. Also, be aware there are no punches pulled in describing the brutality of men and nature. There are intense scenes of violence to dogs that sensitive readers will not want to discover without warning. So, be warned.