I somehow missed the call to read Call of the Wild, and Hatchet, and all those books they used to get boys to love reading in elementary school. I finally got around to reading Call of the Wild when I saw that the movie was being released in March 2020, though I did tell a friend that I thought Harrison Ford was voicing the dog…listen, I knew the book was about a dog, that’s important right?
The Call of the Wild is a short adventure novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The central character is a domesticated dog named Buck.
The story starts with him living at a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California. Stolen from his home and sold into service as sled dog in Alaska, he progressively reverts to a wild state. In the harsh climate, Buck is forced to fight in order to dominate other dogs, so that by the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization and relies on primordial instincts and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.
Now…my thoughts. Good lord, why? This book was DEPRESSING. TRAUMATIZING. So…ugh. Maybe I would have liked it in the year 1912. Maybe, but now I have no inclination to read about violence against animals, DOGS BEING ATTACKED BY OTHER DOGS, and just…outdoorness. It was kind of boring, and I had to switch to print from audio because it made me so uncomfortable to hear aloud. Ugh, no thanks.
Now, the movie:
We love a good Harrison Ford movie, and luckily the movie looks like it’s more about outdoorsmanship than what I consider animal abuse, but we shall see! Would it be better if Buck talked? Probably, especially if he was also voiced by Harrison Ford, but in the book you don’t meet John Thornton until the end, so it looks like the movie focuses on that, which I like, because the early chapters hurt my soul.