The Family

The Family

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Whale's Tale

If you’re looking for a way to help a squirmy child get to sleep, I think I’ve found the solution.

Read Moby Dick at bedtime.

I decided to tackle this leviathan of literature a few weeks back when reading about whales with the little boy and a suggested reading was Moby Dick. 

I'd put off reading this book for years because I assumed it would bore and disappoint me, but finally figured there was no better time than the present. So I sighed, took a deep breath and headed to the library to check out the only copy – Moby Dick in large print. The already enormous book seems much larger when the words are printed mostly for the benefit of elderly readers.

The verdict: I can see why people the world over love this book!

There are many passages touching on the core of human nature. Melville describes man’s relationship to the sea, to the monsters of the ocean and to his fellow man in deeply meaningful ways. The humorous friendship of Ishmael and Queequeg and the loyalty that results adds an intriguing aside. Captain Ahab’s madness and hell-bent determination to exact revenge are often frightening.

We’re currently about mid-way through the book and all I can say at this point is I'm ready for the crew of the Peqoud to find the beastly brute. These middle two hundred pages haven’t been as exciting; you might say they’ve at times seemed like a rant dragging on and on and on.

I’m hoping the next three hundred or so (remember, we’re reading large print) will be as interesting as the beginning two hundred.

I don’t think the little boy has much of a clue what is going on besides knowing that Moby Dick is the whale that bit off Ahab’s leg. I stop reading each night when I see he’s dozed off. Some nights I read five pages, and he's a goner. Other nights I get through twenty or thirty (those pages usually include many interruptions).

WARNING: It’s not the best idea to read it out loud in the car on a road trip for fear of putting your husband the driver of the car to sleep as well (let’s just say someone’s wife may have tried this for about an hour on a recent trip to Pensacola).

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