This book has been on my radar since series 3 of Buffy. The gang are studying The Call of the Wild in English, at the same time Angel returns from a demonic hell dimension seemingly wild from the experience. The author, Jack London is also a minor character in a Star Trek TNG episode where the Enterprise gang go back in time. So marrying Buffy and Star Trek is guaranteed to get my attention. I’m so all of you that spend your time reading rather than watching old sci-fi TV shows are fascinated by this, rest assured the book is not set in space.
It’s a short story, only 103 pages long, from 1903 about Buck a dog with a comfortable existence in a large Californian house. He is sold off to dog traders who beat him into submission (although he is never entirely broken, merely learning that he can not win against a club and whip). He is changed by the law of club an fang, witnessing cruelty as dogs are abused by the men in control, but also the viciousness of the other dogs in the pack. Any one looking for a feel good dog book may want to put this book down and step away as it becomes a bit of a doggy blood bath.
And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long-dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell away from him.
He is worked almost to death before being rescued by a man named John Thornton. He remains at Thornton’s side, almost inseparable he feels love for the first time and risks his life for Thornton on more than one occasion. But Buck has not lost his primitive instincts and is still drawn by the call of the wild. Which, I believe it what that Buffy episode is all about…
Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his; yet he retained his wildness and his wiliness.
I read this book on a plane in a couple of hours and found it quite interesting. It held my attention despite Jet2 coming around selling the 4 million things they try to sell you on your flight. As well as exploring the relationship between man and dog the book is perhaps about the tension between civilisation and our natural animal nature.