A little background here. I tried reading Moby Dick last year. Valiantly trudged through the first 200 or so pages. Then decided that even as a writer, I'd let myself off the hook. There were other books I wanted to read, not had to read to be "serious."
I blogged about it. Received some flak about it. Shrugged and moved on.
But now. My ten-year-old is upstaging me with her determination. Generally, I try to keep my family life out of my blogging life, but I just can't let this slide.
One reason she's reading Moby Dick is because her class at school is participating in a Critic's Circle and each child must propose a book to read and critique once finished. She's almost to the part in the book, which she started in May to my surprise, when Captain Ahab finally makes an appearance.
It doesn't seem to bother her that the book is written in wordy prose and a series of essays. She isn't that concerned whether the plot keeps her interest. She admitted that she doesn't care if she even understands it. She just wants to read it. Maybe that's the element that was missing in my own attempt, not feeling like I needed to be entertained or fully comprehend the subtext.
Truly, I'm flattered that a little of my influence has rubbed off on her. She's an active reader and sees me reading often. Her project to take on Moby Dick is charming and inspiring, and I have no doubt that she'll have more success at reaching the end than I did.
A few days ago, I finished reading out loud to her The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, a book equal in length to Moby Dick, but with a less-daunting intellectual bent. We'd spent about six months reading it off and on at night, and we closed in on the ending a few weeks ago. And what an ending it was! A couple of lines in the last chapters stopped us cold with lumpies in our throats. Maybe she'll share her lumpies from Moby Dick with me, whether it takes her six months or a lifetime to finish.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore ...