"Julie of the Wolves"

This book remains pretty popular YA reading.  I liked it, but I remember reading it more as a "how-to" guide for renouncing humanity and becoming a wolf, although I'm pretty sure now that wasn't the book's intention.

Thinking her father is dead, the Eskimo woman Julie is coerced into a marriage at 13 to Daniel, a mentally disabled man.  Daniel says his friends have been taunting him--"Ha, ha.  Dumb Daniel. He has a wife and he can't mate her"--so he tries to rape her.  (This scene is disturbing but brief, and apparently it's gotten this book challenged or banned in several places.  I don't advocate that, myself.  I say, inform yourself, read the book if you choose, and if it warps you you'll have great blog fodder for later!)

Julie escapes, reverts to her Eskimo name, "Miyax," and goes out to live among the wolves.  She gives them names like Amaroq and Nails and Jello, and she acts as a wolf herself.  Miyax nurses from one wolf and even gets another to regurgitate food for her so she can eat it.  This book convinced me that I could effectively communicate with wolves, since I had read all of Julie's hints and tricks.  There were no wolves handy, but I'm pretty sure I tried biting the top of the family poodle mix's nose in order to show I was pack leader.  (It didn't work.  But I wonder if Cesar Milan read this book?)

Amaroq, the pack leader, gets shot from a plane and Miyax mourns.  Then she learns her father is alive, but he owns the plane that is being used to hunt the pack for sport!  Miyax peaces out and heads back out to the wolves.

Lesson learned:
In a pinch, wolf vomit.

George, Jean Craighead.  Julie of the Wolves.  New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Julie of the Wolves (rack)

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