Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Source: Uvula Audio (Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 )
Length: Approx 4 hours
Reader: J. Campenella

The book: I first read Call of the Wild for my middle school English class. Reading it again, I am struck by two things: 1) it's an better story than I remember and 2) it's way more violent than I remember. Even though I, like many before me, have classified it as a children's book, it is definitely a book for older children, as well as adults.

London, writing from first-hand knowledge, explores the boundary between civilization and the wild. Unlike many writers, he neither extols the progress in taming the wilderness nor does he romanticize the purity of Mother Nature. Nature only cares for survival by any means, he says, and civilization is a luxury that must be abandoned where it is not practical. These are harsh statements, directed at an adult audience, and the way in which London goes about illustrating his view make it worth revisiting Call of the Wild as an adult.

Rating: 9/10

The reader: Campanella is an excellent reader, though he has a tendency in this book to fall into a up-and-down cadence that can lull the inattentive listener away from the words in long descriptive passages. His voices for each character are a delight, however, and enliven the reading. The recording is well-produced, though it includes sound effects. I find these sound effects to be often intrusive, particularly the sounds of the whimpering and growling of the dogs. London's text is descriptive enough without the additions.

(Entered in the Book Review Wednesday contest at Cym Lowell. Follow the link for reviews of other books by various bloggers)

1 comment:

Rabid Fox said...

I have an e-book version of this on my Kindle app. Ought to read it again some time--haven't since I was a kid.