My reviewrating: 3 of 5 stars
I had heard good things about this classic from various people, so I thought it was time for me to give it a shot. If nothing else, I could claim to be well-read in classic American literature. Unfortunately, although it begins and ends very strongly, the middle is filled with long, dry passages which brought the book down as a whole for me.
It may be part of the style of writing at the time, but there are many, many chapters of the book that are devoted to describing the facts around whaling. There were many detailed chapters about whales themselves, the process of chasing and killing a whale, the tools used, the value of different parts of the whale, and the process of extracting those parts. Some of these were very interesting, but all of them distracted me from the actual narrative. It was only the infrequent interspersion of chapters about the characters that kept me going. One could probably just read the first and last 100 pages and get all the pertinent information.
However, I will say that the narrative passages were quite good. There were many interestingly drawn characters, vivid imagery, and beautiful, haunting dialog. I would most likely not recommend this book to most people, but I wouldn't dissuade someone from reading it either.
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