Author: Herman Melville
Publication Date: 1851
Source: received as a gift many moons ago!
Summary from Goodreads:
In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is also a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.
Time to be corny!
Moby-Dick was my white whale. (Ba-dum-ching!)
Seriously though. FOUR months to finish it? Oy vey. But it is done.
Why did I feel such a compulsion to read this classic novel? I'll chalk up a lot of it to the fact that I grew up in Connecticut. Because of course, every Connecticuter (Connecticutian?) born before the early 90's has a deep, soulful connection to the HARTFORD WHALERS!
Anyway, the other thing is that I'm specifically from southeastern Connecticut, very near Mystic, which is home to the Mystic Seaport, a "living history" museum that chronicles a lot of the whaling history of the region. Any kid who grew up in southeastern Connecticut went on AT LEAST one field trip to Mystic Seaport while they were in school. Which means you toured a whaling ship and learned a lot about...whaling stuff. All very relevant to Moby-Dick, RIGHT?!?!?
So I'm sure these are all important reasons why I made myself hang with this book for the first third of 2015.
Honestly, as time-consuming as this book was, it really was not a bad read. Yes, there are some boring parts. There are entire chapters devoted to whale anatomy and the proper dismantling of a dead whale and other such valuable whale-type knowledge. There is also a lot of soliloquizing. These sailors really like to listen to themselves talk!
But beyond that, there is also an interesting story. Captain Ahab--you've all heard of him, but the guy is truly bonkers. His journey to find Moby Dick is crazy and arrogant and foolhardy, which makes for excellent reading. If you've ever heard anyone talk about this book over the years (and you likely have), you pretty much know what's coming from page 1. But to watch it unfold is entertaining. Figuring out Ahab, his fellow sailors, and the twists and turns of the journey itself, is certainly enough to keep you engaged.
There's also a lot of deeper meaning re: the arrogance of man, duty/honor, etc. but I'll let you hit up SparkNotes for that. :)
I'm not going to try to go any deeper in my review about a book that's already been reviewed (and essayed, and analyzed) a billion times. The question is, is Moby-Dick a book that you should pick up right now? As always, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want a classic with lots of subtle meaning, something that moves a bit slowly but still has an engaging story behind it...and you can stand all of the long-winded sections about whale biology, then I say, go for it. I'm happy that I was able to experience this novel, despite the time it took to complete.
Have you read Moby-Dick? For an assignment, or for fun? Like or dislike?
This book is part of my 30 Before 35 list...woohoo! It was also a pick from my TBR Book Baggie, so I took this opportunity to choose the next book from my bag. The next one will be...
The Interrogator by Glenn Carle!
Stay tuned, hopefully I will get to it soon!