On Christmas Eve, we were out seeing a movie (Big Eyes) and I noticed a movie poster for In the Heart of the Sea. I thought, "hey, I have that book in the Bibliotiki, maybe now is a good time to read it." I had bought this book years ago because I had read it was a true story that Melville based Moby Dick on. I do love non-fiction books based on adventure so this seemed right up my alley.
I should say my 2 top true adventure books are the Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl and Men Against the Sea by Nordoff and Hall. Men Against the Sea is a gripping story about how Captain Bligh got forced off his ship and into a boat with others left to die. They didn't die and their tale of navigation and survival is a page turner. So I did have high expectations for In the Heart of the Sea going into it.
Philbrick did a great job with the research of this book. 40 pages of this book are notes and bibliography. It mainly weaves the two books that survivors wrote as the narrative, which I will be interested to see how the movie handles that.
It starts off with a pretty amazing opening chapter, survivors of the Essex are found by another ship and this is what they saw:
First they saw bones-human bones-littering the thwarts and floorboards, as if the whaleboat where the seagoing lair of a ferocious man-eating beast. Then they saw the two men. They were curled up in opposite ends of the boat, their skin covered with sores, their eyes bulging from the hollows of their skulls, their beards caked with salt and blood. They were sucking the marrow from the bones of their dead shipmates.
Let me say, if the movie doesn't open with that scene, it is a missed opportunity.
With that as the preface, you pretty much know what your in for. But it isn't all horror and gore, you get a lot of information about Nantucket and the whaling industry. It was just such a different time then our own.
The story in a nutshell is an inexperienced crew leave Nantucket to catch some whales, a whale then attacks their ship. The crew then escapes into 3 smaller whaleboats that are in various state of disrepair. They should head for Tahiti which is not that far but are afraid of cannibals (cue the foreshadowing) and decide to take the longest, most desolate route possible to South America.
Overall, it is a pretty amazing story.
Here is a link to the Nantucket Whaling Museum which has some artifacts from the crew on display. Including a skeleton of a 46 foot sperm whale. I have never been to Nantucket but now I kinda want to go.
And of course a link to the trailer for the new movie. Hopefully I won't sit thru it and go "it didn't happen like that in the book!" to my husband 400 times.
*Update, I watched the movie in June 2016. it is kinda of stinker. Looks nice but just read the book, it is 1000xs better.