- Julie of the Wolves (1972)
- Julie (1994)
- Julie’s Wolf Pack (1997)
Despite the fact that I read and loved (and reread and reloved) George’s My Side of the Mountain so many times, I never really hit it off with the Julie books. And as with Mountain, the sequels to the original Julie story were published decades later, which seems strange.
The original story is about an Eskimo girl named Miyax who runs away from home, hoping to somehow make it to her pen pal in San Francisco. However, when the story opens, Miyax is lost on the Alaskan tundra, where she is befriended by a pack of wolves. Throughout the story, Miyax becomes a member of their pack.
I was confused by multiple things. The main one was – why does the title of the book use Miyax’s English name, which she hates, but the narrative uses her Eskimo name? Secondly, I found it almost impossible to believe that Miyax would be able to “speak” with the wolves, using their body language, in a way that would actually convince them to adopt her as one of their own. Thirdly, the book had a sad/bittersweet ending that, on reflection, is probably why I didn’t like or revisit this book as a kid. I’ve always been a fan of happy endings.
Still, it wasn’t a bad story. I was engaged in Miyax’s survival and her observations of the pack, even if I did think it sort of crossed the line sometimes, as wolves aren’t actually people, and while they may be intelligent, they are still animals, not humans.
The second book deals with Miyax and her family, as she is now living with humans again. Like Frightful’s Mountain, this book felt just a little preachy when it came to concepts of conservation, the circle of life, we all need one another, let us join hands/paws with the wolves, etc etc. Not necessarily bad lessons, but very heavy-handed.
Finally, Julie’s Wolf Pack is from the perspective of the wolves, and covers some of the story from Julie and then beyond. While a bit simplistic, it was overall an enjoyable and interesting story about wolves in the wilderness, and actually may have been my favorite of the three.
All in all, I enjoyed reading these, but didn’t connect with them all that much. They were all around the 3.5* range. Pleasant one-time reads, but not books I see myself returning to again and again.