Book Review: White Whale by Robert Siegel

For a while this book seemed to be going along much the same lines as its predecessor: birth, whale coming-of-age expedition, return to the pod and meet true love again etc. I was uncomfortable with the introduction of a human who could speak and understand whalish but I suppose if you’re a white whale anything can happen.

As the story developed into a whale’s eye view of Greenpeace anti-whaling activism I suffered from a feeling of manipulation. I’m old enough to remember some of the incidents described, although I don’t recall the oil spill (in which he finds the human-whale speaker again).

It’s a little cosy, but at the same time brings alive a perspective from another being who in my opinion has as much right to be on this planet as we have, and as much right to unpolluted enjoyment of this planet as ourselves. Is it preachy? I don’t know. The three Visions that the whale has are realistic consequences of man’s greed and complete disregard for the health of our oceans. If this book makes sixth graders think about these things (other reviews suggest its a standard text for sixth graders) then that’s fine by me, but as other environmental organisations (specifically WWF) have found, those thoughts seem to disppear from the majority of young people from the time they discover the opposite sex until they have children of their own.

So I’m old enough to enjoy the treatment of the message, it is cleverly done with excellent and accurate description of the ocean ecosystem as science knows it so far, but I don’t know whether I want to read the final part of the trilogy.

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