Graphic Novel Review 175/365: Moby Dick

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.


Some of you asked me to review this, so here it is…

Title: Moby Dick  

Author(s): Herman Melville and Christophe Chaboute

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics (2017)

Age Rating: 13+

What a title for us to kick off a new semester!  Wow.  This is a whale of a story…huh?

Seriously though, I had never read Moby Dick before this graphic novel, so going in I was excited to relax and spend some time with the epic.  It only took me about 90 minutes to get through the entire graphic novel.  After, I wondered how much the graphic novel compared to the actual book, so I took the 25 question Sparknotes MC test.  I scored a 17/25.  A 68% if you will!  Am I proud of that?  Ummm…heck yes, yes I am.

Here’s why.  You read Moby Dick (the original text) for 90 minutes and take the quiz.  You might get one or two correct.  And then let’s each write an essay about Ahab’s motivations and another essay about which of the central symbols we feel is most important to the work as a whole.  I can write these essays.  You, can’t.

You see, I, like many of our students, would never read Moby Dick.  It’s 2018, and yes, I teach English, but I have a lot going on, and an 800 page book is not one of those things.  And if that statement makes you raise an eyebrow at me, I say put it down!  The fact that I can be open and admit this to my students gains me points with them.  I was them.  I am now an older them that has grown an appreciation of books, well beyond my wildest imagination, but I can still completely relate to them, and my once being them allows me to build an ethos that can support their growth.  And hide and watch if I try to get my kids to read something of that size…

But I can get them to read this graphic novel.

They can go out into the world with a working understanding of this epic story.

You can argue the value of literature with me all day, even though you don’t need to…I have an M.A. in English (I get it), but you can’t argue that giving our students, ones that might not even go to college, an experience with Ishmael and Ahab is outstanding.

I’m past the smoking in the teacher’s lounge complaining about these kids don’t read…OK, maybe not totally, but I’m going to pick up five copies of this book, and I’m going to make it an option for free read and assessment reading in my classroom, and I’ll let you know what happens.  I’m even staying away from an honest review of this amazing book here because I want one of my students to review it for you.

Happy reading!


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