Dec 8, 2019

Cry Wild

by R.D. Lawrence

The life of a wolf in the wild, growing up and then eventually encountering mankind, to its misfortune. I was surprised how much this book reminded me of White Fang- although it feels a lot more realistic, it has similar sentiment of "tooth and claw" ruling in the wild, and it starts out very similar- opening scenes of a wolf pack struggling to survive famine in the winter wilderness, then better times come with spring and the female gives birth to pups, the strongest of which becomes the animal protagonist of the story. Much of the narrative is just about the family life of the wolves, their tenderness towards each other, the pups' fumbling play-wrestling with each other and curiosity at encountering new animals, and their growing survival skills- finally becoming adept at hunting together with the adult wolves. It often switches viewpoint to depict other animals living in the forest and how their lives interact, reminiscent to me of One Day At Teton Marsh. As the young wolves grow up, they meet some harsh life lessons and two of them don't make it to adulthood but otherwise the pack life seems pretty stable until a forest fire forces them to flee to a new area. Here one of the young wolves comes across a baited live trap, and his subsequent experience at the hands of man marks him forever. What follows is brutal, but I will say the book ends on a final positive note.

There was one odd moment in the story, when the wolf pups found a porcupine. Of course one got smacked with the quills, and the other wolves pulled them out of her face with their teeth! The pup suffered for a few weeks but then her "iron constitution" overcame the embedded quills and she was fine. I think in real life a wolf would die of the infection, if not starve because they couldn't eat due to the pain. In The Last Wild Wolves there was a photograph of a wolf that had one quill stuck in its nose. The research team found that wolf dead a month later. Regardless, this one detail among so much realism was easy to overlook and overall it's a really good book depicting the wolves' lives.

Rating: 3/5                     146 pages, 1970

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