Number of Pages: 625
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Release Date: 1851
“No American masterpiece casts quite as awesome a shadow as Melville’s monumental Moby Dick. Mad Captain Ahab’s quest for the White Whale is a timeless epic–a stirring tragedy of vengeance and obsession, a searing parable about humanity lost in a universe of moral ambiguity. It is the greatest sea story ever told. Far ahead of its own time, Moby Dick was largely misunderstood and unappreciated by Melville’s contemporaries. Today, however, it is indisputably a classic.”
Boy, was this book a struggle.
I first started reading it towards the end of last summer, but I only got around seventy pages into it before putting it down. School was starting and I just couldn’t see myself finishing it among all the work I had to do. Now, after nearly ten months, I finally decided to give it a go once more. Unfortunately, as soon as I began reading it again it quickly became apparent why I put it down in the first place.
This book is just so incredibly dull.
I knew that it would be a bit challenging to read due to the old language and the use of the vernacular of the setting. However, I was not anticipating the immense lack of plot. It seemed like after the first hundred pages or so, nothing hugely significant happened until the very end. Once Ishmael and Queequeg were aboard the Pequod and Captain Ahab was introduced the action slowed down to a snail’s pace. They met other ships as they sailed around searching for Moby Dick, and that was about it. I did enjoy the few fast-paced parts, but otherwise this novel was not very engaging or entertaining.
As I was reading I realized that Moby Dick felt more like a book about the history of whaling rather than an actual narrative. The crew would do something aboard the Pequod, and then the next chapter would dissect the history and significance of that activity, technique, tool, etc. Some of these chapters were vaguely interesting, but most of them were overwhelmingly detailed and felt irrelevant to the story itself. Herman Melville includes every minute detail in his writing, and after a while it can get quite tiresome to read.
To be honest, I thought this book was very boring and dull. I appreciate its historical importance, use of symbolism, and the fact that it’s a classic, but the story just was not enjoyable to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to reading books that are more action-packed and fast-paced. Or maybe the abundance of specifics was too much. Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that Moby Dick has not made it onto my list of favorite classics.
My Rating: :0) :0) 2 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: No, not unless they were trying to read all of the classics or something like that. I definitely would not recommend this as a fun, leisurely read.
Have you ever read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments section below!