Title: The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre: Classics, Adventure
Publication date: 1952
Pages: 128 (Paperback)
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
The Old Man and the Sea was my first experience of reading Ernest Hemingway and this one was a re-read. I was hoping I would change my mind of what I thought about the book the first time I read it. Nonetheless, my original opinion of this book is still intact. This book was astoundingly dull just like the first time I read it. The only reason why I re-read it was because I was trying to understand what the symbolism- if there is any; however still to no avail. Though it is a good thing that it only took me under an hour to read this book since it’s very short.
The story is about an old man, Santiago and how he is stranded in the sea for eighty-four days. He was having a difficult time catching fish which is considered “salao” or unlucky form for fishermen. By the eighty-fifth day he gets lucky and catches a big fish. However, due to its big size, he is unable to pull it in, thus he holds the line for two days. As a result he becomes exhausted and encounters sharks which he has to kill.
As much as I want to write a deep and profound review for this book because I have no intention of bashing a book just because I disliked it; however, there is nothing to say rather than it’s tediously un-inspirational. It was repetitive and predictable. This one hundred page something story could have honestly been just cut down to maybe thirty pages. For me, this book was just a direct and literal story. I know others somehow found some more philosophical meaning when they read this book, but I don’t see any symbolism behind it other than that there is an old man and the sea. There are no colorful details, no deep elaborations to make me interpret it any other way or give me the notion that Mr. Hemingway was trying to convey a message. My other issue is that we don’t have much information about Santiago except he is old, poor, and is friends with a young boy Manolin. If he had a backstory then maybe I would probably be more invested. All in all it was just a story that my grandpa would probably tell in a bland monotone voice and put me to sleep. And surprisingly I found this quote by Mr. Hemingway himself in regards to this book:
“There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks, no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”
This quote by the author himself explains a lot and sums up what my overall review in regards to this book. Ernest Hemingway is a brilliant and honorable author, though, this book is definitely not his best. I feel that The Old Man and the Sea would probably appeal to older or more patient people. Or if you like fishing then this book may interest you. Nevertheless, it’s a book that I am definitely hesitant on recommending because it would most likely bore people to tears.