I’m way behind on my Classics Reading Challenge, I think. It’s just that my stereotyping the classics as stiff, boring books is so strong that whenever I think of reading a book commonly referred to as a classic, I get turned off and run to the comfort of a fantasy novel. At the beginning of April I treated myself to a trip to Philadelphia and read Jack London’s The Call of the Wild on the way there. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did (I do believe this sentence pops up in all my reviews of classic novels). As soon as I read the first sentence, I was hooked and knew I would have to pause reading Mary Norris Between You & Me until I was done.
The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a half St. Bernard and half Scottish shepherd dog, who is abducted from his sheltered life in Santa Clara Valley, California, and traded into the toils of the unforgiving North to repay a debt. Though taken from the comfort and surroundings he knew, Buck proves to be intelligent and resourceful, quickly learning how to maneuver his surroundings and adapting to the changes and strangers he encounters. His adaptability, instincts, observant nature, and large size help to keep him alive and prevent other dogs from picking on him. He is owned by several masters but never loses his independence. After the loss of John Thornton, his master and friend who loved him dearly, Buck loses all vestiges of civilization and returns to the wild as a leader of a pack of wolves.