Friday, July 11, 2008

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Rating: 5/10

Published: 1894-1895
Number of pages: 383

Started: 16 June 2008
Finished: 3 July 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

A naked baby is abandoned deep in the jungle and is taken in by a she-wolf to be raised as one of her own. Soon Mowgli the man-cub becomes a wise and feared hunter, learning the Law of the jungle from Baloo the bear, and the skills of the hunt from mighty Bagheera, the black panther, and Kaa, the stealthy rock python.

At once an outsider in these wilds and a unique bridge between the species that inhabit them, Mowgli evolves in the shadow of a dramatic mortal encounter that is fated to take place between himself and Shere Khan, the man-eating Bengal tiger under whose fiery gaze the whole jungle trembles with fear.

The characters and stories that comprise Kipling's Jungle Books are a microcosm of life as he saw it, but like most great literature, Kipling's words speak to us on many levels, blending fantasy and philosophy in a work that continues to delight generation after generation of adults and children alike.

For a book of children's stories, The Jungle Book certainly took me a long time to read! I can't quite put my finger on what was wrong with the stories; perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for them. The style of writing was OK but there was nothing exceptional or even slightly above average that pulled me into the stories and made me want to pick up the book at every available opportunity. I didn't really enjoy the poems that began and ended every story, either.

The stories in both Jungle Books focus on different animals (not all from the jungle), which was interesting, and some of the characters, such as Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and Kaa appeared in multiple stories.

There's not much else to add, I'm afraid. I highly doubt I'll ever read it again. It was a bit of a slog and I was glad to be done with it!


downtown guy said...

Definitely a case of different strokes for different folks. The Jungle Book and Kipling's other stories were among my favorite reads as a kid. His use of language still floors me sometimes.

Heck, my cat is named Bagheera.

Kylie said...

Aw, that's cute :)

I find it strange that I couldn't get into it when there was nothing specific about the stories that really bothered me.

Maybe I just didn't read it at the 'right time'. There are a lot of kids books that I wish I had read when I was younger so I could appreciate them as only a child could. I often feel as though I'm missing out on the magic when I read them as an adult.

downtown guy said...

That could well be. Plus, not every writer's "voice" is going to appeal. Sometimes I simply can't get into someone's writing.