Friday, December 11, 2015

There's whales! There's burning islands! There's cannibalism and urine drinking! Why you should read (and possibly watch) in the Heart of the Sea

I used to be part of a book club. It was pretty fun but it ended up turning into a drink wine and eat cheese club. Also fun but we slowly stopped reading books.

One of my favorite books we read was In the Heart of the Sea. It's the true story of the Whaleship Essex. This story is what inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.

It's been a while since I've read the book but let me tell you what I remember.

The ship was a whaling ship (obviously) from Nantucket. Whale blubber and oil was big business back in the early 1800s. The book gives you some history about the whaling industry and also very vividly describes what it's like harvesting whale blubber. It's smelly and disgusting and do not read this book while eating.

While out looking for whales the ship is attacked by a giant white whale. This whale was pissed. I mean he didn't just run into it like oops, sorry about that. This was premeditated boat destroying. He hit the boat once and then swam back a bit so he could come at it again at full speed.

Pissed off whale vs. boat. Guess who won.

The ship is destroyed. The whale swims off like "my work here is done boys". The crew had to abandon the ship and try to survive in three small whale boats.

There's storms, there's urine drinking, cannibalism and an island gets burned down by mistake because of a prank. OOPS. Not all in that order but it all happens. I don't think I'm ruining anything by telling you not everyone dies. I mean the story couldn't have been told if everyone just disappeared at sea.

If you're into history and/or really interesting survival stories I highly recommend the book. I have not seen the movie yet but it stars Chris Hemsworth as first mate Owen Chase so at least there's eye candy. There's also whales if they're more you thing thing.

Totally looks just like the real Owen Chase!

The resemblance is uncanny.


  1. Oh, perfect timing again, I'm desperate for a good book, and this sounds like a goodie. I'd never heard of 'In the Heart of the Sea' and just thought the movie was an adaptation of Moby Dick. So I'll read about Owen and the whales, then go see the Chris Hemsworth version. A plan!

    1. I think you'll like it. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I had no idea Moby Dick was based off of a true story until I read this book.

  2. Cool! I read Moby Dick a while ago, almost to the end but not quite. I did actually enjoy learning about the whaling business, and blubber rendering and all that.

    1. I found In the Heart of the Sea more interesting but then again I read Moby Dick in high school so it's been a while and maybe I'd have more patience now.