Book Review: Julie of the Wolves

This book totally inspired my life. I think I read it a hundred times the year I was eight. Then I ran away to live with the wolves, having learned everything I needed to know from Miyax.

Miyax is taken from her father at fishing camp and sent to school in a town, where she has to live with a mean relative. When she is thirteen she escapes by marrying the son of one of her fathers friends, where she works for his mother all day sewing authentic Eskimo stuff for the tourists. After a couple months her new husband tries to rape her, and she decides to run away to San Francisco, where her pen pal lives.

First she must walk across the tundra to the point where the ships sail from. On the way she gets lost in a storm, and has the fortune of being lost next to a den of wolves. She remembers everything her father ever taught her about wolves and survival. She builds herself shelter, fire, and eventually the wolves feed her. For the rest of the year she lives with the wolves. Her relationships with them are deep, complex, and realistic. The descriptions of her survival technologies are also specific and realistic.

After her year with the wolves, Julie stumbles upon the fact that her father is still alive. She leaves the wolves and goes to her father’s house. There she is faced fully with civilizations destruction of the wolves and the world, and her people’s participation in it. She walks away from her fathers house to spend the rest of her life living the way people are meant to live.

That’s where the first book ends, and that’s what I grew up loving. A few months ago I found the trilogy at a thrift store. I was sooo excited to find out there were sequels! The sequels were a little disappointing to a girl who’s life had been inspired by Miyax turning away from civilization to live with the wolves, but they are perceptive and well written. I definitely recommend the whole trilogy.

Here it is on Amazon:


  1. oh tara- i wish all of your readers could have heard your voice, sweet like wine, real like rain, bloody like secret pacts made in girlhood- telling me in the middle of the night this story over the phone and i had my feet up in the window, blowing smoke out into the cold steal wire ganglion of the city and i couldn’t even breathe because it was so at the heart of you. i wish everyone could get late night calls from tara telling them these stories. everyone would just drop their lies and walk into the woods forever and the earth would be redeemed.

    i love you.

  2. The joy of coincidences. I had finished reading this book for the first time and then saw this. 😀 I grew up reading “My Side of the Mountain” by the same author. I loved that book and still do. I always wished the ending was different, though.

  3. I’m actually thinking about your most recent post about being in the wrong place or not quite being right which I don’t think is the same as being wrong. Unless I am mistaken there is something in this book – she is buried in the snow to stay warm and she is afraid and she doesn’t know why she is afraid and she has been told that if you are afraid then change something, change anything. (God, I hope I’m referencing the right book, I am getting old) That struck a major life chord and I wonder about alignment in the world, not quite right, not this, not that, almost, change one small thing and see. Anyway, that’s what I think in my suburban world. And I like that sound. Coo.

  4. Oh, yes, that was one of my favorite parts of the book and I forgot to write about it. Woops.

  5. This was also my favorite book when I was little,
    now I’m a stripper too and contemplating being a hobo, so to speak.
    It must be a sign. haha.

    anyways, I think your blog is really inspiring and amazing.


  6. this was my favorite book when i was little!

    and now I’m also a feminist stripper that is considering running away and train hopping for a while.

    it must be a sign!

    your blog is really amazing and inspiring in lots of ways. thank you!


  7. Julie of the Wolves was part of a trilogy? I had no idea. What a delight you are.

    This is my first post on your blog; for a few days now I’ve been reading through the archive. I got here by way of a post on:

    Thank you for this glimpse into a world nearly the polar opposite of mine.

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