It's not hard to imagine why one would think Jack London wrote stories for boys, he did after all write a book where the protagonist is a dog. I myself never deigned to read Jack London...that is until the day I was recommended to read Martin Eden by a friend whose literary tastes I held in the highest regard.

Talk about giving a writer short shrift based on reputation. Not only was Martin Eden "adult" but it was equal to the likes of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights or F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in terms of artistic merit.

It's a story of a sailor/laborer who becomes a self taught author by dint of rigor and regiment, all of it fueled for the sake of a young lady whose love he hopes to win by proving himself an intellectual peer. Needless to say Martin Eden does become an author, a best selling author, but not before undergoing such privations that he must do without proper food and clothing for extended periods of time to finance his ambition.

Word by word, sentence by sentence Jack London's prose does not scale the limpid heights of poetry, but there is nothing lacking in terms story, characterization and unity of plot and structure. It is a powerful prose sort of like a great swell that a surfer would boast about were he lucky enough to catch it.