A story of a dog. It is probably good for the age group of 5-10 and hence it must be boring. It would have some kind of stupid message about morality as in the likes of the fables of Aesop which we want our children to grasp.
Nothing written above is true. It’s not just a story of a dog, it is much more than that. It’s not a children’s story. It’s never boring. It does convey a message but it’s not the kind of message that kids would understand. In-fact if they wouldn’t have been kids, they would have made a “whoosh” sound moving their right hand above their tiny head, if asked about the message the book conveyed. Sadly kids these days do not know of such humour. Anyway, let’s move on.
When I first read about this book, I was looking up top 100 books available for free on kindle. This book was one among the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, The wonderful wizard of Oz and the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I looked it up on internet just to get a feel of the book. (I don’t like reading reviews of books beforehand as it forces you to have somebody else’s opinion about the book which in turns blocks you from forming your own point of view about it and that make the book boring. It literally kills your own imagination. So I am writing this to kill your imagination and creativity). The cover had, what looked like snow-wolfs tied to a sledge.
Looking at the cover, I could only figure out the stuff I have mentioned in the first two lines and also I thought it to be a small story that I could finish in the toilet (Yes, I read in the toilet, it’s a good time-pass. You should try it too). So I thought to give it a go and am I glad that I did? Yes. Definitely, yes.
This book, is one of those books that have a life time effect on you. Like “the alchemist”, but permanent in so many more ways. It is a story of survival, but not just that. It is also a story full of emotional turmoil, of the changes that your surroundings draw on your behavior. Buck, the protagonist of the story goes through various such changes. He not a hero, not anything like usual protagonists who have all the good things as their qualities like they are truth lovers, they are just, they are never greedy, never hunting for power (I am using the word hunting a lot after reading this book. I don’t know if it is any good). All of them have a moral stand and a saintly image like Harry potter, who will never be wronged. Buck is an intelligent creature and he knows and/or learns the ways to survive everything, stealing at times without no one noticing, encouraging a revolt against the leader and ultimately killing the leader and taking his post. It actually is learning the ways of his wild and primitive ancestors. He is adroit, clever, smart and wild, boastful, full of self-pride which not for a second feels wrongly placed. But all this didn’t come to him naturally, he had learned all this through fights and toil, pain and suffering, be it physical pain experienced through the battering given by the man in the red jersey, or the emotional pain of the death of curly, or rather its murder by the pack surrounding the fighters. He learned from every situation and formed a basic guideline for survival, be it “the law of the club and fang” or to never give up in a fight. It’s the quality of Buck being able to stand up stronger every time it fell, that had me griped. Also the wild part of him, specially hunting the big moose. That part displayed how he much he had grown since he was at judge Miller’s.
The flow of the story is never too quick and never too slow, the author had formulated the pace of the story in such a good manner, that it sometimes bothers me. It’s like God himself was guiding his hand by posing direct instructions like “Go slow!” or “Too slow!”
The story is perfect too, it held me with such firmity that my mother shouted from outside the toilet door to ask if I am ok and it was then that I realised that I had been in there for an hour. She gave me strange looks when I came out, but was I embarrassed? No. Did I try explaining myself? No. I went on reading and totally ignored everyone and everything else.
The different feelings that Buck had for different owners and others, even for himself at different times were so well justified and felt in place that nobody can complain about it and nobody ever should (Insert my angry face). The thing that I suspected from the beginning, such a big hint in the title itself, came so naturally and with ease that it never felt artificial. Everything that happened felt true to the core, except the incident where Buck pulls the sledge with twenty fifty pound bags, but I guess it was necessary to display Buck’s sheer strength at some point in the story, and there never could have been any better example than the thousand pound cart and any better way in which the situation could have been described. There were no miracles, like a wardrobe which led a little girl to a cold place and then trolled her when her sister and two brothers tried it for the first time. They all got in eventually and met a lion and fought a witch, but that’s a whole other not so perfect story.
Till next time.