My online book club read Moby Dick in May and June. When I saw that on the schedule, I dreaded it. I had a high school American lit teacher who’s off-handedly said Moby Dick was a bore filled with tedious chapters about whaling trivia.
So I’d avoided the novel. Now I had to read it. Well, I could skip, but I don’t like to. So I dove in to Moby Dick and was immediately taken with the narrator Ishmael. I found him funny and loved his perspective on people, philosophy, and yes whaling.
My old teacher was right there was a lot about whaling, but by including the information I gained such an understanding of the thought and skill that goes into whaling. It made me respect whalers more (extinction of whales nowadays aside) and equipped me to appreciate the skill and bravery involved so that when the final showdown between the Pequod* and the Great White Whale occurs, I was ready.
I found there was a lot more to the story, as Moby Dick offers a glimpse into the culture and time of its writing. I loved the mix of people on the Pequod. They came from many nations, spoke different languages and prayed to different gods, yet they managed to work together towards a goal, albeit one that some disagreed with.
Moby Dick offers a Deadliest Catch of the 19th century with insights into philosophy and culture if you want that. If you don’t, it’s a well told tale, a long one, but one that kept my interest for 847 pages.
*The Pequod is boat which Ishmael, Ahab & Co. sail.
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