Share Profile


Jim’s book reviews

Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that classics are called classic for a reason. I started reading this with some trepidation, not expecting that I'd like a story about a whaling expedition. I was wrong. It was a terrific story, epic in scope, of the hunt by Captain Ahab for the great white whale, Moby Dick. I expected it to be an adventure about hunting a whale, which it was, but it was so much more. In some respects, it was a much different story than I've ever read. The narrator, Ishmael, not only tells us the story, but explains to us in minute detail, numerous aspects of the whaling trade. He explains to us about different type of whales, whaling boats themselves, and the process of killing and striping a whale. He also gives us in-depth looks at a great many of the personalities aboard the whaling ship, the Pequod, including the brave, tragic, obsessed Captain Ahab, his mates, and his crew.

All this sounds like a great deal to take in, and it is. Though a work of fiction, it's nearly an entire course in the mechanics of whaling. It seems every other chapter strikes out in a new direction to explain some aspect of the story. The story is laden with soliloquies from the various characters as they ponder their places in the universe and on the Pequod. Sounds boring doesn't it?

It's not. The genius of Melville is that he can weave so many disparate threads into such a compelling tale. I found that as the story picked up momentum, I had more and more trouble setting my e-reader down.

Although you know how this tale will end, you'll find yourself in eager anticipation of the epic battle with the whale. And it's worth the wait.

If you don't want to devote the time or concentration required, pass on this book. It's graphic in detail at times, and disturbing at times. But I am glad I read it.