Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Great Gatsby: A book review

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publisher:  Scribner
Info: Copyright 1925, 180 pages

Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream...It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown

Nick Carraway escapes to Long Island as he starts a new job in New York city.  After visiting his uber-wealthy cousin and her husband one beautiful day, Nick learns that he is living next door to the also uber-wealthy, mysterious Jay Gatsby.  When a formal invitation arrives at his home one day, Nick attends one of Gatsby's lavish parties, and thus begins a friendship that will change Nick's life forever.

The Awesome
I loved it.  Much of this has to do with Fitzgerald’s conversational writing style and my fondness for tragic love stories, but I was pleasantly surprised by this heart-wrenching American classic.  Nick Carraway is a strong, descriptive narrator and Jay Gatsby, despite his tendency to embellish the truth, is endearing and likeable.  I really wanted to take them by the shoulders and shake them into common sense during their doomed summer as neighbors, but alas, I could not.


I am ashamed to say that I only read the book because of Leonardo Dicaprio, which, I am not ashamed to say, is an excellent reason to read a book.  My rule, book first, than movie.  So many years after choosing a different book over Gatsby in my sophomore English class, I picked up the classic and sped through it.  My appreciation for the novel increased after watching John Green's "Crash Course" videos followed shortly after by Baz Luhrman's artistic depiction of this American classic.  It was a full Gatsby weekend.

Sure, Daiy Buchanan sucks, Tom Buchanan is a racist, and Jay Gatsby teeters on unsympathetic through all of his lies, but I still enjoyed them all.  If you're looking to tackle a classic that isn't painful to read, look up The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


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