Classic pieces of literature can be beautiful and enjoyable to read, analyze, and discuss. For many of these novels and short stories, regardless of the genre, I find it’s a hit or miss if I’ll enjoy dissecting the words and chapters.
After pushing through several long, tedious chapters, I decided that Moby-Dick, written by Herman Melville, would fall into the category of “miss.” – the category of work I’ll never touch again, and maybe not even finish reading.
As an adventure lover, this book was disappointing to me. Now, I’ll be honest – the chapters devoted to the narrative, the actual story of Ishmael and his insane Captain – those are great. Wonderfully written and smooth, the lines are clever and clear.
It’s too bad that only about 10 percent of the novel is narrative. If we could extract those chapters filter out the unnecessary information, this book would be much shorter and a lot more entertaining.
There are far too many pages devoted to explaining whales – quite literally EVERYTHING there was to be know about whales back in 1851. Anatomy, different species, whaling industry, tools used for catching whales, the laws of possession of escaped whales, oil from whales, etc. Whales, whales, whales, whales, and more whales.
Learning and studying whales is one thing. And this could have been a textbook for whale courses in the 1800’s. However, I began reading with an expectation of reading a story. Not a textbook on nineteen century cetology.
I have much respect for this novel, for what it is. It’s a classic, and I know that it brought joy to readers back when it was released. For me, personally, I didn’t finish it. I found that over halfway through, I stopped caring about the ending. I don’t even feel a desire to search for a summary on how it all plays out. Does the whale meet its end? Does the captain die? What about Ishmael?
I wish I cared more, but I don’t. Life is too short to finish unenjoyable novels. I respect this book. I just don’t like it very much. And if I were to die tonight, I’d rather I spend my last night of reading excited and interested in the characters.
Lots of respect, without love. It’s too bad.