To be honest, I was pretty excited to read this. Not because I knew the the plot, because I didn’t. But because it was only a 120 pages with pretty big print and just about double spaced! I still have a lot of books to read before the school year starts, and I knew I could finish this one in less than a day.
So I did.
This is a “big fish” tale. But literally. I mean, look at the picture on the cover. An old fisherman in Cuba has had terrible luck the past 85 days fishing. He goes out one day, far out to sea, in hopes of getting lucky. He finally catches a big fish that pulls his little boat further out to sea for about 3 days. He struggles through determination, strength, hunger, weakness, tiredness, and his own fear of losing his mind. Finally, the old man wins and kills the fish. But, on his way back to shore, sharks attack. The old man is wasted, but still gathers strength to fight against most of them. However, his strength gives out and the sharks devour his fish. But, he is finally able to make it home, and by the sight of the fish’s skeleton, he gets recognition.
Like I said in this post on Life of Pi, I typically don’t like survival stories, especially those at sea. But, I had come to love the old man in the first few pages. I was rooting for him the entire time (not like Captain Ahab). He kept mentioning that he hoped for luck, but it was better to be prepared. I like that–do all you can first, then hope for the best. I really like his philosophy and his view on life. He knows he is old, he knows the fish could possibly get the best of him, but he is still determined.
One thing that was interesting was Hemingway’s version of merging narration with the old man’s thoughts. The weaving was awesomely done. Most books have characters’ thoughts in italics. Others do it more subtly–just starting a new paragraph. Not Hemingway. One sentence would be the narration, the next would be the old man’s thoughts, and the very next narration again.
I loved it and I love the old man! And the young boy that loves the idolizes the old man is so endearing!
A definite read!
4.5 out of 5.