B. Zedan's Reviews > The Jungle Book II

The Jungle Book II by Rudyard Kipling
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Jul 22, 08

bookshelves: re-read, gutenberg-downloads
Recommended for: Anyone, really
Read in March, 2008

If you time it correctly, both Jungle Books can hit you perfectly at just the right age. I think that's how they were for me as a kid. The first is a great adventure story, and the second is a level up, sadder and about growing up and everything. I need to make two detours here, the first regarding why I needed to re-read it.
About a year ago, this tree I loved was cut down. I'm kind of weird about plants, comes from growing up a loner with a well-wooded acre to play in. Anyway, I get in a fit about how humans deal with nature, especially around here, where just about anything grows—except that nasty East coast stuff that just looks sad and out of place and never fills the area it was meant to, but is planted all over anyway. Now, I can't remember my thought process of a year ago, but somehow I dredged up a memory of a book I'd last read at least a decade before and remembered enough to find the right passage. It's just been percolating since then (After London had a bit to do with it) and with my mobile and Project Gutenberg I can indulge in my early chapter books with ease.
Second: this book (especially in conjunction with the first) reminds me heavily of how (the movie) Labyrinth is and should have been. At the end of the second book, Kaa, Baloo, Bagheera and the four all pretty much tell Mowgli what Hoggle tells Sarah—that they'll always be there, "should you need us". But the end is so much more satisfying than Labyrinth, because Mowgli stayed in the jungle and became part of the jungle before "growing up" and "being a man", etc. How many of you were totally pissed that Sarah didn't stay with Jared? Most folks I know were. Imagine if she'd stayed there for a few years, raising her brother and finding herself (or whatever) and being the Goblin Queen, before returning to her parents and the human world. Mowgli, in talking with Akela a couple of years before the end of the book has this conversation:

“I will never go. I will hunt alone in the Jungle. I have said it.”

“After the summer come the Rains, and after the Rains comes the spring. Go back before thou art driven.”

“Who will drive me?”

“Mowgli will drive Mowgli. Go back to thy people. Go to Man.”

“When Mowgli drives Mowgli I will go,” Mowgli answered.

What if Sarah had waited until "Sarah drove Sarah"? Instead, (as Wikipedia gives us) "she must overcome [Jared] (and therefore this emotion) in order to fufil her quest."
I don't know. Anyway, after that sweet and easy Kipling, I felt like going back to the Russians.
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