A review by clevermird
The Call of the Wild by Jack London

adventurous emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Installment #12 on my quest to read the great classics of Western Literary Canon, The Call of the Wild is one of several works by Jack London that deal with the Alaska Gold Rush. I read it back when I was 12 or so, but it's been quite a while since then, and I was eager to see what it brought to the table as an adult. 

The book follows Buck, a not-so-ordinary pet dog who is kidnapped and sent to the Yukon as a sled dog. There, he learns how cruel the world (and people) can be, but also unlocks an inner strength and connection to his wolf ancestors that he never could have dreamed of as he passes through various masters and journeys through the wilderness. 

This book was okay. The writing style is a little. . . I hesitate to say outdated, because that sounds more negative than I want it to. But it's certainly not a narrative style that is used a lot in modern writing. It's very much "tell don't show", almost as though we're being told a story rather than experiencing it with the characters. It works very well for the story they're telling, but it's a bit of a shock if you aren't expecting it. 

I feel like I should have more to say about this one, but it's kind of just "there" for me. The characters are relatively well drawn for how limited the interaction with most of them (apart from Buck) is, the character arc for Buck makes sense, etc. I enjoyed reading it well enough, but I guess it just didn't connect with me. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings