Why write a review on a book that has been around one hundred years? Great literary geniuses have studied the book, students have been required to read the story to receive a grade, and scientists have torn it apart looking for truth in the prophetic writings. Yet, I have the audacity to sit down and read the book and then write a review for all to see. Eek.
I never read many of the classics in high school and did not avail myself to them during college. As an adult, I felt dumber than my acquaintances because I hadn’t read the “great works.” Crazy right? So, I created a list of books that were touted as must-reads by friends, spouse, and family. I even went so far as buying many of aforementioned books. They gathered dust on my shelf. Do you realize how many of the great classics are great in size as well as literary prowess? I typically choose to spend my sparse spare moments for reading on something quick and easy (brain candy or, as my dear partner in life calls it, soft-core porn for housewives). I grab an easy book that I can ignore or read but that the story is quick and I like the characters. I do regret my hours wasted on characters with little depth, or lost chance on a story that lingers once the book is finished. I didn’t realize how bad things were until I picked up a real novel and thought, “Wow, that’s a great word to use.”
Hence, my journey 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I admit I had high expectations. This was supposed to be a “great” book. It started off well enough: A mysterious attack on ships and drowning men saved. Then the author dove into detailed description of the world under the ocean. Details, details, and details. Where was the action? I wanted blood shed, love, fights, and a chance at happiness. Didn’t Ned deserve that? (Animal rights activists would say no.)
Six chapters into it, I wondered, where was the climax? What is the true plot to this story? Don’t all stories have to follow that pattern? Yet, I kept trudging on, I had to finish. I had to persevere. How could this book endure for so many years as a great work and I couldn’t finish it?
Then it happened, just shy of finishing the entire literary compilation I came across action, emotion, a sense of danger, and a moment that made my endurance worth all the while. I actually experienced the sensation of not being able to put the book down”¦or close the book app. The story finally engaged me. Phew.
My journey with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea allowed me to cross off a book from “the list.” I can now watch the movie, appreciate the rare references that crop up in our culture, and say, “I have read that book.” Good for me.