Monday, March 30, 2009

Padfoot - Sixth Review - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
(a.k.a 20,000 Seconds Wasted on This Book)
By Jules Verne

So If you could not tell, I am a little disappointed by my recent reading of the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Apparently I was ignorant to the real plot of the story, because going into it I assumed the whole thing would be an adventure story of a couple of hairy men in a submarine fighting off a giant squid. Sure, you get some of that, but only A FEW PAGES. The rest of this excruciatingly long novel is mainly about a Professor of marine biology; all this guy does is list classes, species, genders, hair color, should I go on?

The beginning of the novel does this cute thing where it
tricks you into thinking this will be a good story. I cannot, however, put a number on the amount of times you are given lists, categories, useless descriptions of things nobody cares about. For example, while submarinin' round the world, the sub's captain, Captain Nemo (who is supposed to be a "villian" in the story, but is really just a cute old man who wants to be a hermit) takes the Professor underwater on an excursion where they find ATLANTIS!!!! Exciting right?! NO. JUST NO.

Here's a timid example so you don't get too scared:

"These various types of shrubbery were as big as trees in the temperate zones; in the damp shade between them, there were clustered actual bushes of moving flowers, hedges of zoophytes in which there grew stony coral striped with twisting furrows, yellowish sea anemone from the genus Caryophylia with translucent tentacles, plus anemone with grassy tufts from the genus Zoantharia; and to complete the illusion, minnows flitted from branch to branch like a swarm of hummingbirds, while there rose underfoot, like a covey of snipe, yellow fish from the genus Lepisocanthus with bristling jaws and sharp scales, flying gurnards, and pinecone fish."

All I can say is, if Verne would've cut out half the story, you would get a fun adventure on the high seas. But he didn't, so we are left with 300 pages of complete crap, and about 70 pages of great story-telling. So there you go, if you are on a classics binge like me, then read it, it's not the worst thing in the world. But if you were actually excited to read this, your life is over.

Should I mention I have never seen the movie adaptation? I should have done my research beforehand.
I feel robbed. That's the end of my overly-dramatic rant. Look for some happy things next time! :)

-mischief managed-


  1. I remember reading it as a girl, skipping the overly-boring parts, and enjoying it for that. Some novels are just not meant to be read in full unless you have a Ph.D in *insert subject* See the movie, it's the condensed, what Vernes would have written hadn't he been too daft-version.

  2. Okay, I haven't read this one, but I read Around the World in 80 Days and I kind of felt the exact same way about that one. Maybe that's just his style. I don't think I'll be trying anything more by Verne.

  3. I love that *mischief managed* You've got me cracking up. I love the little picture so we don't get scared...LOL...You are too cute.
    Hey, at least your review was fabulous...I'll pass on the book :)
    Have a Wonderful Day!

  4. Yea I think I am done with Verne. I was going to read Around the World in 80 Days, but if you say it's the same, I will pass Haha.

  5. That movie posted up there is pretty funny. So old school LOL.

    Haven't read this.

    Lol you're light, the premise of Atlantis sounds awesome.. and fighting a giant squid. Just reading that excerpt makes me not want to read it. I'm not really into books that really go in detail. Ever read Atonement or Cold Mountain? No, don't.

  6. Hahahah!!! That is hilarious because I hate Atonement with the fire of a thousand suns. I had to read it last year for Critical Writing, and now I have to read Saturday, by the same author for my British Lit class (ugh).

  7. Yes, I think most Verne's books are like this.. Not that I have read them all, but I remember as a kid feeling a great disappointment, waiting like you were for adventure and ending with a didactic presentation of whatever scientific topic was on the table.. I might give them another try one these days though...

  8. Ah yes, I gave this a shot too, and found the same thing for me. Who knew that it'd be such a disappointment? Disney's never steered me wrong before, right?

  9. Now do tell if Saturday is very detailed too. I find the movie for Atonement much better than the book LOL.

  10. I actually haven't read this classic yet, but I really enjoyed Captain Nemo by Kevin J Anderson, which is about Jules Verne.

    Great review. I'm not sure I'm ready to read the long-winded classic tho'.

  11. Olga- I have yet to see the Disney movie of this...but I am guessing that yes, for once Disney will disappointment, like the book did.

    HalfCrazy- I hated the movie as well...but Kiera Knightly's gorgeous green dress made it all better haha.

    Bella- Thanks!!! I have not heard of the book Captain Nemo, however he was the only character I liked in the book.

  12. I started to read this book for the same reasons you described. I thought it was going to be about a squid, a mad man and a scientist. I felt more like I was reading the Encyclopedia Britannica by Verne endlessly describing all the underwater flora and fauna. The fact that many of the scientific names and the technology were just wrong didn't make things much better.

  13. I haven't read the book yet but I will soon as I have one on order.
    I enjoyed the Walt Disney movie, for a number of reasons. I was a kid when it came out. Deep sea diving and subs was pretty new stuff.
    And the Nautilus submarine was awsome....


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