Overcoming Melville's obsession with mind-numbing detail, the way he gasses on about whale bits especially, with only the occasional plot point to keep it from unraveling, is the novel's biggest challenge. But it's worth it. The writing can be quite electrifying and the story, well, we all know the story. This is a classic that everyone should read ONCE. Just do it.
I gave it four stars. Minus one for the pain that I'll never unfeel: Melville is a man that loved the sound of his voice, to be sure.