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My daughter wants to read Moby Dick, and I'm wondering if the content is appropriate for a 9 year old?  I've never actually read it myself, so I have no clue.  She loves to read, and I'm not worried about the "level" as much as the content.

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I'm not a fan of abridged books, but I wouldn't hesitate to give an abridged Moby Dick to a 9yr old. The content is fine. I recall nothing objectionable. The issue is the writing...it is so long, so tedious, so prone to wandering down 60 pages of bunny trails that make your eyes want to bleed. IMO, only an incredibly precocious and unusual 9yr old would enjoy the full Moby Dick. I'd be afraid that if I gave it to her, that it would forever turn her off from reading it, and it really is a valuable book. An abridged version would give her a taste for it and maybe inspire her to come back to the full version later. 

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I have never read Moby Dick (yet), but my husband read it a couple of years ago; after many false starts he finally loved it.   He agrees with many others who say that it is a book best enjoyed by adults who will get the different layers of meaning and numerous literary/biblical allusions.  

 

A retelling or abridgement would be fine.  I think a thoughtfully abridged version, or a good retelling, is fine as long as the reader understands that they have not read the full work.  He also said there is nothing objectionable in it.

Edited by marbel
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Thanks, everyone!  I was thinking an abridged version would be the way to go.  I had ordered a bunch of library books, and my hubby (along with my daughter) picked them up today.  While at the library, my daughter found the original Moby Dick, and my hubby checked it out for her.  :laugh:  I guess we'll just exchange it for an adapted version. :)

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my DD has fallen in love with Moby Dick after reading a graphic novel version a few years ago.  Since then she has read several abridged version and recently sat down to the full text. She made it, but I think only because she knew and loved the story so much.  I notice she has gone back to the abridged versions, and her beloved graphic novel since.  I'm sure she didn't get even half of what's in there out of it, but there's nothing in there I'm concerned about her reading. 

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It's terrible, but mostly because it's the most boring book ever. There isn't anything objectionable or inappropriate for a child in my recollection though.

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The movie with Patrick Stewart was really well done. :) I'd preview it to decide if it's a good match for your family before handing it to a 4th grader.

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Sounds like you have your answer, but this made me chuckle. In the summer between third and fourth grade, I decided to read Gone with the Wind. I struggled for several days with the first few chapters, knowing I was missing something, then finally realized "oh, Ashley is a boy." At that point I put it down for a number of years. I suspect something similar would happen with Moby Dick.

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Nothing inappropriate, but there are excrutiatingly slow sections on all things whaling.

If she makes it through those at her age, I'm impressed.

I strongly recommend using an abridged version.

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I wouldn't inflict the unabridged version on her. There is a lot of animal slaughter. Well, duh, it's about killing whales, but it can be pretty graphic if one is a sensitive animal-loving type. Of any age.

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It is by far the greatest American novel and one of the greatest pieces of literature in the English language.

 

With an abridged version how would one gain the knowledge of how to render whale blubber?

 

Melville is a master.

 

Bill

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Have her do her own abridgment by telling her my tongue-in-cheek theory.   The publisher made a mistake in the first printing and accidentally spliced it with a whaling manual.  The publisher was a good friend, so he went along with the mistake.   When you read the book, just skip the whaling manual chapters.   The rest of the book is an exciting page turner.  The real Moby Dick book and the whaling manuals each have their own chapters.   

 

 

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Have her do her own abridgment by telling her my tongue-in-cheek theory.   The publisher made a mistake in the first printing and accidentally spliced it with a whaling manual.  The publisher was a good friend, so he went along with the mistake.   When you read the book, just skip the whaling manual chapters.   The rest of the book is an exciting page turner.  The real Moby Dick book and the whaling manuals each have their own chapters.   

 

As long as you let her know that it is the best darn whaling manual ever written!

 

Bill

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My DS also asked to read Moby Dick in 4th. We got 2 pages in together and he decided he'd wait. Till he was 20

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Have her do her own abridgment by telling her my tongue-in-cheek theory.   The publisher made a mistake in the first printing and accidentally spliced it with a whaling manual.  The publisher was a good friend, so he went along with the mistake.   When you read the book, just skip the whaling manual chapters.   The rest of the book is an exciting page turner.  The real Moby Dick book and the whaling manuals each have their own chapters.   

 

My theory is that Melville had a brilliant idea to induce madness in the reader by inserting the whaling manual and encyclopedia throughout the story. We are supposed to be mirroring Ahab's descent into madness. 

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A few years ago I read the full version and enjoyed it. Last summer we read aloud the Great Illustrated Classics version. It was fine (I'm not a literature analyst by training. It is a great source for pet names! We followed it up with a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The Patrick Stewart movie was good. There was also a PBS documentary about the actual story that inspired it - but that is definitely worthy of a preview, we couldn't finish it as a group. Yikes.

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I'm not a fan of abridged books, but I wouldn't hesitate to give an abridged Moby Dick to a 9yr old. The content is fine. I recall nothing objectionable. The issue is the writing...it is so long, so tedious, so prone to wandering down 60 pages of bunny trails that make your eyes want to bleed. IMO, only an incredibly precocious and unusual 9yr old would enjoy the full Moby Dick. I'd be afraid that if I gave it to her, that it would forever turn her off from reading it, and it really is a valuable book. An abridged version would give her a taste for it and maybe inspire her to come back to the full version later. 

:iagree:

 

how many ways can you describe the light reflecting off the waves...................... page after page after page.................................

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:iagree:

 

how many ways can you describe the light reflecting off the waves...................... page after page after page.................................

 

When a person can write like this? Tens of thousands of ways, with ever line a treasure:

 

There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fabled undulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John. And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters’ Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness.

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I loved Moby Dick, but I listened to it rather than reading it.  Perhaps listen as a family?  Nine might be a bit young for the density of language though.  This was a very good reading:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Moby-Dick/dp/B000OYDIVU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491415211&sr=1-1

Edited by Laura Corin
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