Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, Adapted for Young People from In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick is an adaptation of the author’s more New York Times best seller history book. The book has been adapted into a 2015 motion picture, In the Heart of the Sea, which has not been received very well, but I think that now I’ll have to watch it.
- 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0142400688
- Publisher : Puffin Books
- Language: : English
My son bought this book for himself, I read it as well since the subject seemed interesting and I knew I wasn’t going to read the “grown up” version, also it’s something I like to do as it gives us something to talk about around the dinner table. Especially in days like this, the time of COVID where we spend all day, every day together.
Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, Adapted for Young People from In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick is not for the weak of stomach. I have no idea what’s in the full book, but the author certain did not mince on the gore and toll the months at sea took on the poor crew.
The author does an excellent job recreating life in a small whaling town in 1819 New England. He also describes at length the bad luck the Essex had while on her last voyage. The attack of the whale is possibly my favorite part of the book, as well as the influence the story had on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
The book is based on a journal that was lost at one time, but found again. While the author does a fine job, the problem with such stories is that we, the readers, are not vested with any of the characters, and hence don’t have a personal stake, if you will, in the story.
The author managed to write a gripping and captivating story about actual events, in a relatable, easy to read manner. I must admit that I enjoyed it more than my son, but I’m sure that has more to do with his reading style and taste than the author’s talent.
The story revolves around the Essex, a Nantucket whaleship, and its crew who left on a two year trip. The trip was plagued by one disaster after another for nearly a year and a half, when a huge sperm whale did the unheard of, and attacked them, sinking the boat in the Pacific Ocean.
All 20 members of the crew got in three whaleboat and were stuck at sea for three horrible months. The crew resorted to eat their dead friends, or kill others for food. Eventually the boats became separated, when they were rescued off the coast of Chile, only five of them were alive.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my son
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