Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Release: Can You Survive? Jack London's Call of the Wild

You might remember that I recently inherited a second edition copy of Jack London's Call of the Wild from my grandma. It wasn't a book I had ever read but it was a beautiful volume and I promised myself I would read it this year. When I was asked if I wanted to review this new book from Ryan Jacobson, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.

I grabbed my copy of Call and flipped through it and decided that it was a little loose in the binding and I was afraid of damaging it. So then I checked one of my many book apps on my iPhone and found a copy of it and started reading (my first full e-book read, by the way). I have never been so devastated, so heartbroken by a book and also loved it at the same time. Jack London's writing is nothing short of magical. Following Buck, the St. Bernard/retriever mix, through his abduction from California and delivery to Alaska to become a sled dog during the Gold Rush was a harrowing and awe-inspiring journey. I didn't expect to have such a meaningful reading experience with this book but I did.

Almost as soon as I put down the device at the end of the story, I picked up Can You Survive? Jack London's Call of the Wild: A Choose Your Path Book and I found myself nodding as I read because I thought that it really brought what made Buck special to light. As the reader (in the guise of a boy who is miraculously swept into the story as Buck) makes each choice in the story, it showcases what an amazing creature Buck was -- how he knew when to stand his ground, when to turn and run, and when he applied a lesson learned (always hard ones) in a way that made his life easier. Jacobson uses much of London's original text and I thought that it was edited together in a clear way -- providing the reader with a similar experience but having the necessary changes that come with this Choose Your Path format. The paths that are best not chosen (those that lead to The End sooner than later) have a melancholy feeling to them that I thought fit well with the tone of the original.

I think that the execution of this book was spot on and now I'm very curious about some of Jacobson's other Choose Your Path titles like Can You Survive? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I can only hope he's already thought of Poe or Jules Verne for his next one!

Hearing the call of the wild,


  1. What an interesting approach to those types of books! I love it!

  2. Jenners - You know my opinion on this one ... anything that makes the classics more accessible and appealing to kids is a winner in my book!