Sara's Reviews > The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
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Apr 22, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: anyone-fiction

Oh, my good lord in heaven. Cut your line, land your boat and go to McDonald's! Just as in the case of The Great Gatsby, I understand the book. Yes, I know it changed the way American writers write. I also understand that it celebrates the ridiculous American idea that you're only a REAL man if you've done something entirely purposeless, but really dangerous, in pursuit of making yourself look like the bull with the biggest sexual equipment. Get over it, already! Go home and clean out the refrigerator, or wash the curtains, or vacuum under the furniture. Pick your kids up from school or take your daughter bra shopping. THAT would impress me. Being too dumb to cut your fishing line? Not the mate I would pick...
The only bright spot about the book is if you think of it on a metaphorical level: there is a point at which ALL of us must grit our teeth and hold on in the face of despair. That is the definition of life. However, if that's the point, then the plot situation needs to be one of necessity (like the shipwreck in Life of Pi), instead of stubbornness.
************
It's been a while since I wrote this review, and there's a lot of amusing speculation in the comments people have attached. I have to say, they crack me up. Here's my final word on reviewing on Goodreads (or anywhere); One of the most important elements of reading is that it allows each of us to react in the way we need to react, without judgment, as we experience the book. This is how I reacted to The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is dead, or I wouldn't have been so up-front with my opinion. He's not insulted, I understand that we all need goals in life, and I've been happily married for a LONG time. Now take a deep breath and smile. Life is too short to be anxious about picayune stuff like this.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 106) (106 new)


Theodore Reitscheff What a shame indeed... I think i do understand what u are implying, but thats not whats the book all about. And personally I dont think that the life is only about McD and bra shopping.. ^^


David You must have a poor imagination and an unfortunately history with the opposite sex.


Tamra Despite that fact that you've received some negative feedback here, I have to agree with you. Just cut the line already! He came back and lost everything. Was it worth it? No.


Brad For Santiago it was worth it.


Mariah I agree and I also did not care for the Great Gatsby. There are certain trends in literature, and somehow these pieces just dragged terribly for me. This does not mean they didn't have their fine points which should be studied, and you mentioned that. The bull testicle allusion made your review especially amusing.


message 6: by James (new) - added it

James Webb I scoff at you feminist. Your review is ridiculous. I don't think Santiago was worried about how big his dick was. Don't undermine me by some poorly executed witticism either.


Nekobeko Santiago was a very poor man. He would have gotten a lot of money for that fish. He didn't put all that effort into catching it to boost his ego, he did it for his own survival and livelihood. That made the risk worth it.

Even if he wanted to he wouldn't have had the money to go to McDonalds, but personally I'd rather eat raw flying fish any day than to dine there.


Tra-Kay Your review is funny, and I liked it, but I have to take a couple moments to correct you. Annoying as it is, since I've had people ragging on my negative "The Sun Also Rises" review for a while, claiming I didn't get the message, I now have to say exactly that to someone else about damn Hemingway...


The beginning of the book lays out the necessity: the man is shown to be living, literally, on the kindness of a boy, having caught nothing for 84 days. He was failing at what he had always done best, and on top of that, it was stripping him bare. That would hurt anyone's pride, male or female. Nevertheless, he was old and wise enough to humble himself and accept the boy's generosity. So he went out, day after day, hoping against hope for a catch.

It's this setup that makes the appearance of the great fish so exciting, both to the old man and the reader. Finally, a fish; and oh, what a fish! If he had simply cut the line at that moment, it would have shown an inhuman amount of temperance and foresight, or a complete lack of hope and spirit. I would call him a fool if he HAD cut it.

He surely yearned for the strength of his youth so that he might overcome the fish, but he rarely thought of it, focusing instead on the task at hand and what he did have. Despite his old age and malnutrition, he gave it his all so that he might return with a massive catch that would restore his reputation, save him from poverty, and feed many people. I do find it extremely admirable that he had such raw determination, probably tempered by a lifetime of making his living off patience and endurance.

There was also a point of no return. He never expected the fish to be so strong, or to be lost to him once he caught it. There were many times after he snagged the great marlin that he regretted it, and felt the fish deserved better. But he had come so far, and always felt the fish would tire at any moment. On the return home, he fought with everything he had to protect the corpse of the fish he had come to think of as "brother", his treasure; yet he was forced to watch it be stripped away, helpless, old, exhausted, and alone.

Even though the skeleton with which he returned told his story wordlessly to the fishermen and tourists, he remained sad, because it wasn't a simple matter of pride, not at all. It was, as you said, not purposeless, but a situation "of necessity." Everybody could see what he had been through and done, and what he had lost, which is why the boy cried for him.

And so he fell asleep to dream again of his youth, of the lions in golden sun, rather than sit face to face with age and loss.


Well. It's alright if you didn't get the poetry and romance of it, but the factual situation is a different matter. It's not one of opinion. The guy was starving.

"Well, I don't need to try; I'll just keep living on what that kid brings me." *cuts the line*

--unacceptable! Even Ronald McDonald has the perseverance to make kids fat in Japan.


mindaugas it's even maybe possible to overlook your stupid review, especially the mcdonald's comment, and just attribute it to the fact that you didn't like the book. ok, that's fine, i've not liked a few classics, nothing wrong with that. but then having taken a look at your other reviews, you give twilight 3 stars. your credibility just falls right apart.


message 10: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad I dunno about Sara's credibility falling apart, mindaugas. Not everyone uses the star ratings as a measure of quality. I, for one, use them as a measure for my personal enjoyment of a book. There are plenty of books I give four or five stars to on here that I would rank much lower if I was judging quality. Perhaps Sara simply ranks to her taste.


message 11: by James (new)

James Broussard thanks for the review. I thought for sure that this would be the only book on goodreads with a solid 5.0 stars. It's both shocking and liberating for me to find out that there are people out there who don't like this book. Different strokes I guess, but thanks for the dissenting opinion.


message 12: by Superman (new)

Superman Performing a search I have arrived here for unrelated reasons..

The interent is beginning to disgust me as much as the television.

What gives someone like you the right or potential to write a review?!

What absolute ignorance! I am overwhelmed!

Yes, go to McDonalds..idiot.

To compare thei to The Great Gatsby also is pointless...they have NOTHING in common?!

Speaking of masculinity, male qualities, etc...

?!

"The only highlight of the book was its metaphorical qualities.."

Geee, ya think?!

And don't you mean allegorical...?!

Ignorance. . yeah, go to McDonalds. Idiot.


message 13: by Jon (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jon So you dont look back and think you still sound privileged spoiled and ignorant?;)


message 14: by Samuel (last edited Apr 07, 2012 03:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Samuel Ch. The book reminds us that the important things in life is how we live it, not how we solve it. Yes, it's more important to drive your kids to school, or do any useless task you said, but even if your only purpose is to swap a floor or catch a fish, the passion is important to know you're truy alive and enjoy what you do for living, not for breathing. The suggestion of the book is: Feel the way, not the goal. I do believe that I'm adressing to a thinkful person and not to someone who likes the issues of the life listed of solving everything by dropping off into a McDonald's.


message 15: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Sara, I disagree with your full opinion but the review made me laugh so thanks. Why do people get so fired up in their comments on other people's reviews. You go and keep on reviewing what you like, how you like


message 16: by Jeb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeb Dubus Well it isn't about men and fish at all. Writers can only write what they know about to reveal a deeper understanding. It could have easily been a story of a woman carrying her children up a mountain to safety durring a winter's war and having to talk herself out of giving up no matter what cost to herself holding on to a hope for a better life. But Hemingway picked an old man and an ocean. An old man instead of a young one so there is a deeper connection to mortality and weariness. But it is the end of the story that reveals a deeper understanding about our sufferring in solitude. The first people to comment on the old man's boat are tourists who say "I didn't know sharks had such beautiful fins" they don't even know it's a tuna! We all have people like this in our lives: those that don't have the slightest idea what we persevere. The second to comment on what the old man endured are the keepers at the cabana. They accually know by looking at the mutilated tuna and the man being gone for so long what he must have gone through, but they just say: "why doesn't he just quit?"
We all have this kind around is too. They see what we go through but distance themselves.
But the third who comes is the boy who as soon as sees the fish he weeps and runs to the man's shack, and goes to get food for him, and tends to him, and tells the old man when you feel better I'll go out with you. This kind of person, this kind of love we don't get often if ever. So yes the story of the old man and the sea uses this plot of fishing alone to explore our struggle in solitude and how we talk ourselves through it alone and also that we have people around us who can't see us or do but don't care and then there are the treasures who really feel for us and will do whatever it takes to reduce our sufferring no matter what cost to themselves because they really love us.


message 17: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark James wrote: "I scoff at you feminist. Your review is ridiculous. I don't think Santiago was worried about how big his dick was. Don't undermine me by some poorly executed witticism either."

have just been looking back at the comments on Sara's review and are struck by how you berate and belittle her opinions but notably do not offer any of your own...anywhere. You haven't yet reviewed a single book so why criticize someone who has. You have every right to disagree with her views, as do i actually, but surely you need to put your own views down somewhere


message 18: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Rush I love your Greyhound!!


Lambert Of course you should react to the book the way you feel. I didn't find your review in any way insightful or funny e.g. the "McDonalds", "biggest sexual equipment" comments. Just a lame quasi-feminist attack, lacking contextual understanding.
Beautiful dog.


George Maybe you should re-read it in the future with an open mind and leave your negative history with men out of it.


Joakim Have The Twilight Saga in "read" shelf?
✓ Check.

Opinions = not valid.


Don Incognito As I am generally appalled by comment fights, I sympathize with the reviewer.


message 23: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Don Incognito wrote: "As I am generally appalled by comment fights, I sympathize with the reviewer."

Well said. And it amazes me how people can get so fired up and rude about someone else's opinion about a book...it is their opinion, therefore they have every right to hold it. Disagree with them by all means but by arguing through a balanced defence not by yah boo sucks comments and more significantly, why do so many of the criticizers of Sara's review feel they can criticize her whilst not having put a single review, bad or otherwise, up onto the site.


message 24: by Don Incognito (last edited Jul 16, 2012 12:11PM) (new) - added it

Don Incognito I should perhaps disclose that I haven't started any Goodreads fights, but have participated in at least one: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... . I took the reviewer's side against a fanboy.

I don't have strong feelings about The Old Man and the Sea, so I feel little need to comment on the reviewer's opinion.


Andrew Well, that's one way to read it. The wrong way, but there ya go. (the original review)


Joakim Mark wrote: "Don Incognito wrote: "As I am generally appalled by comment fights, I sympathize with the reviewer."

Well said. And it amazes me how people can get so fired up and rude about someone else's opinio..."


You mad?




message 27: by Azn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Azn And the white knights once again rose up to defend the maid, hoping to have her private wrapped around theirs, but it was false hope, and the white knights went back to masturbating, awaiting in bated silence for the next damsel in distress, one they would defend to the death and if the gods are good, they would finally lose their virginities.


message 28: by Flex Master Pump (new)

Flex Master Pump I'm 12 and what is this


message 29: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Azn wrote: "And the white knights once again rose up to defend the maid, hoping to have her private wrapped around theirs, but it was false hope, and the white knights went back to masturbating, awaiting in ba..."

riggghhht. Okay.............?


Abhinav Kapri @sara: it was not for fun, it was about courage.


Aaron Brumback is this a review


Elizabeth In my opinion, the book is kind of pointless. He basically talks to hand and wants to kill some stupid fish. Although it is sad how he only gets the head of the fish.


Joakim Elizabeth wrote: "In my opinion, the book is kind of pointless. He basically talks to hand and wants to kill some stupid fish. Although it is sad how he only gets the head of the fish."

Do you even get metaphors?


Elizabeth Invictus_ wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "In my opinion, the book is kind of pointless. He basically talks to hand and wants to kill some stupid fish. Although it is sad how he only gets the head of the fish."

Do you eve..."


Ok, I like diffrent books and my friend Azzy thought this guy was insane because he talked to his hand. It's my opinion on the book


Anthony Lacroix The end of your comment is so ironic. Live is to short....


Elizabeth Anthony wrote: "The end of your comment is so ironic. Live is to short...."

I know it's not exactly the best comment, but I feel I'm being pretty blunt.


Anthony Lacroix Elizabeth wrote: "Anthony wrote: "The end of your comment is so ironic. Live is to short...."

I know it's not exactly the best comment, but I feel I'm being pretty blunt."


Le fait est que «Le vieil homme et la mer» est un roman qui parle du temps et de la vie. Une analyse autre, comme celle faite par la lectrice, est fausse et complètement désabusée.

The Old Man and the Sea is about life and time a other analys is false, stupid and irresponsible


Elizabeth Anthony wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "Anthony wrote: "The end of your comment is so ironic. Live is to short...."

I know it's not exactly the best comment, but I feel I'm being pretty blunt."

Le fait est que «Le vie..."

Look, we both have diffrent oppinions on this book, I personally don't like it at all, so lets just agree to disagree, ok? Ok.


Paulm anyone who would act so hateful towards someone for simply giving their opinion about a book should be ashamed. you should never be ashamed to say you don't like something you have seen, heard, or read. I dislike citizen Kane and jimi Hendrix...so what. I like stephen king...so what....I like the dharma bums better than on the road...so what. Dickens is overrated....jeez. it is an opinion....no big deal.


Elizabeth Paulm wrote: "anyone who would act so hateful towards someone for simply giving their opinion about a book should be ashamed. you should never be ashamed to say you don't like something you have seen, heard, or ..."

Exactly!


Joakim Paulm wrote: "anyone who would act so hateful towards someone for simply giving their opinion about a book should be ashamed. you should never be ashamed to say you don't like something you have seen, heard, or ..."




message 42: by Joshholtonmi (new) - added it

Joshholtonmi How dare you?


message 43: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil Jeb, thanks for your comment laughing at the tourists who thought it a shark and then called it a tuna yourself. That made me smile.


Dennis O'Neill you r white trash. Did you actually finish Elementary school?
Gloria


Dennis O'Neill ... and you r a teacher!!! Poor kids
Gloria


Felipe This makes completely no sense.


Constantin Philippoff That's exactly how i feel.


message 48: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric And you're not the mate that type of man would pick. So everyones happy.


message 49: by Cliew (new) - added it

Cliew While it is true that the reviewer deserves right to voice her perceived interpretations (or misinterpretations) of the book, it was unnecessarily prickly and on the verge of being tasteless - an invite to certain unpleasantness just as blood attracts sharks. Thank you to other commenters who have coolly explained their insights of the short novel/long poem, it really made me really happy and glow on the inside.


message 50: by Evan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Evan "the plot situation needs to be one of necessity (like the shipwreck in Life of Pi), instead of stubbornness."
I like this. Well said. Very insightful. Stubbornness is more valued in this culture than mere survival. Keeping one's values and decency while surviving is even more impressive to me. Too bad too few understand this. Your review is funny, and even it it doesn't address the work on a literary level so much, who cares? Cool perspective nonetheless. And I appreciate a sharp wit.


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