Author: Herman Melville
Price: 11.85 USD
Price: 11.85 USD
Synopsis (barnesandnoble.com-- a bookstore):
I looked at this book like someone would look at a 50 mile hike. It's terribly large and there were so many pages. I had heard such terrible things about this book ranging from my father to people who had taken the class in earlier years to simple rumors. Everyone knows of this book and how treacherous it is. Whenever I so much as say Moby Dick I get a huge groan from anyone complete with an eye roll. However, when I actually sat down to read it and emptied my mind of any prejudices, I was very surprised.
The first line of the book is "Call me Ishmael." It's just such a simple yet welcoming sentence. I love the complexity of the characters in Moby Dick for one thing. We are soon introduced to Queequeg, the cannibal. Ishmael learns that even though he may be a cannibal, he's one of the most selfless people he's met. Queequeg soon becomes my favorite character just because he takes care of the people who mock and scorn him. He's a role model for everyone even though he may be perceived as barbaric. Then there's Starbuck, who's first mate of the Pequod. Yes, this is the same Starbuck that the coffee company is named after. I thought that was a really cool fact. He's the careful sailor who cares about safety more than pride and revenge. He tries to persuade Captain Ahab from sailing into obliteration, with no avail. Captain Ahab seems like a madman most of the time, but there are episodes where he seems so human and so raw. Melville does a fantastic job of portraying different sides of each character. There isn't one character that can simply be labeled "good" or "bad." You feel so torn about each one because you know they are capable of good things.
Melville does this writing style where he writes about a really exciting event, such as the whale hunt, and then he transcends into five chapters about the whale head. For those of you who don't know what this books is about, I'll go into a quick summary. Ishmael is the main character and he was forewarned not to choose the Pequod. He meets a motley of characters and things are hectic while the boat owners are in preparation for the voyage. He does not meet Captain Ahab but hears how great of a man he is. When he does meet Captain Ahab, he sees an older man with a wooden leg. His leg was torn by Moby Dick and Captain Ahab is vengeful. He stops at nothing to get his revenge, which includes putting the crew in great danger. He manipulates his crew. Ahab has many opportunities to stop being so hubristic but does he take them? What? There's a prophecy involved? Who in the world is Fedallah? What happened to Pip? You'll have to read to find out.
This book is so great because of how relatable the characters are. Even though we probably don't know a whaling captain, we probably do know an obsessive boss or friend or family member who stops at nothing to get what they want. We probably sometimes are impulsive and do things that we regret, like Ishmael. Plus, after you read this book, you'll know so much about whales. I already know the difference between the right whale and the sperm whale. So give it a chance because afterall it is one of America's greatest novels.