Monday, December 7, 2009

Moby Dick

I did it!  I finished Moby Dick, finally.  Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the plot, so I'll spare you the details.  Basically, Ishmael is a whaler on the Pequod, which is captained by Ahab.  Ahab's leg was taken by Moby Dick, and now Ahab wants vengeance.

However, before we can meet Moby Dick, Herman Melville has decided that we need an in-depth look at the whaling industry in order to fully understand what's going on.  In part, I agree with him.  Knowing what specific things are called does help a story move smoothly when there's a high-action scene.  But I really didn't need so much detail.  And I understand that Melville is making pointed jabs at Christianity and slavery and the whaling industry, and just about everything else under the sun.  This is all well and good (and even funny), up to a point.  But eventually it just gets old and you just want to see the main event (in which I was rather disappointed).

While this is considered a classic and I know several people who think this is one of the greatest books on Earth, I just couldn't get into it.  I get it; I understand its place in literary history and I can appreciate it for what it did, but I just didn't like it.

2 out of 5 stars.  I liked some of what Melville did (there was some mystery, but it was short-lived, and he made part of the prose into a play which is unique).  But unless you have a burning desire to prove that you are able to power through 500 pages of allegory and whale bones, don't bother.


  1. I appreciate the "don't bother" as I'm not really into proving I can plow through those 500 pages right now. For now, it's off the reading list. Thanks.

  2. No problem. I really did enjoy the beginning, but about halfway through I was done with it.

  3. Amy, I SO agree with your review. I tackled Moby Dick a couple years ago, and gotta admit that I actually skimmed a few chapters in the middle. I just didn't need to know that much about whale blubber. My impression was that Melville had done a ton of research and wanted to include absolutely every whaling tidbit he had learned. Which, in my opinion, is careless writing and editing. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who didn't love this book ;)