Book Review: The Great Gatsby

GreatGatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Synopsis (taken from here): The Great Gatsby was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s crowning achievement. Set in the 1920s, the story is narrated by Nick Carraway who is a sort of supporting character/observer of the story of Jay Gatsby, millionaire, who loves Daisy Buchanan, married to Tom, who is having an affair with one Myrtle Wilson. Gatsby is a mysterious character; he throws lavish parties at his Long Island mansion, and hundreds of people attend, while guessing in hushed conversations about Gatsby’s shady past. Daisy once loved Gatsby but married Tom when Gatsby went to war, and now their affair is rekindled. The love triangle – actually square – culminates in a dramatic and tragic ending.”

Personal Opinion:

This book was on my reading list for two reasons: (1) It is a Great American Novel that everyone raves about (2) I wanted to read the book prior to watching the upcoming movie. Attempting to read this book seated in a van with six people while driving in the rain on the autobahn while exhausted led to interrupted story lines, forgotten characters, and lost details so much in fact that at 60% completion I restarted the book over from the beginning. Yes, this restart was due to the outside contributing factors, but also largely because I wasn’t loving the story line or characters and I felt I must have been missing something. I mean this is a Great American Novel (see others here) that everyone knows by name, studies in school, and is considered the second best English novel of the 20th century, and I couldn’t get through it. I must have been missing something, right? Probably an appreciation for the writing style? Why did people love this book so much? I found myself asking constantly, What is so great about Gatsby anyways? The narrator, Nick, doesn’t even really like him? He used illegal means to create a superficial life full of parties and money in hopes of winning back the love of his life while using everyone along the way. Maybe I have a different definition of great?

I raised these questions to Justin since he finished the book just before I did and had a completely different reaction: he thought it was amazing. From our discussion, I realized from the beginning we expected very different things from this book: I was expecting to be wowed and enthralled by the story due to all the hype whereas he was simply expecting to reread a classic novel. Expectations, they get me every time. In the end, we agreed that the book critiqued this glamorous idea of achieving upper-class status and the American Dream, which still could hold true today, and showed that in the end money and status aren’t everything, it’s about human connection. Either way, this book wouldn’t be on a list of recommended readings for a friend or one I would ever pick up again, but through my husband’s eyes I feel I have at least come to appreciate the story. What were your thoughts? Go to {little lessons in a big city} and read Chelsea’s review HERE! Still want to read it after my glowing review? J Purchase for your kindle (here) or on paperback (here).

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: The Paris Wife

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Great Gatsby

  1. Pingback: book review: the great gatsby. | little lessons in a BIG city

  2. I felt the exact same way after finishing The Great Gatsby! I even started over halfway through. I was clearly missing the draw. but even after beginning again, I wasn’t “hooked”. love that I’m not alone in my thoughts! 🙂

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  3. I believe you have point. In any case, literature (reality and fiction) are full of entalglemens that make a work of art interesting for so many different audiences. I’ve heard a lot that title and had no idea what it was about.

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  4. I love the Great Gatsby. I first read it in high school but read it again in college and got a deeper appreciation for the literature!

    Interestingly enough, yesterday’s Goodreads quote of the day was by Zelda Fitzgerald. It said in the description below that she would not marry Scott until his first book was published. Tough love. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes_of_the_day/837

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  5. I love hearing other’s opinions on this book because it is one of my all-time favorite books. But I’m on the same page as mel. This was one of the required books I read, and actually enjoyed, as a freshman in high school — I was drawn into the glamour, drama, and love. As a result, I started reading more from Fitzgerald and other “classic” literature pieces, rather than the ‘teen fiction novels.’

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  6. Gatsby is my all-time favorite book, and Fitzgerald my all-time favorite author. I love it so much because Gatsby is such a tragic (and pathetic) figure. I have an almost emotional attachment to it. That’s rather bizarre, I know. lol

    As I said in yesterday’s post on my own blog, if it wasn’t for that weird attachment, Tender is the Night would be my favorite Fitzgerald work because that…it’s just perfection. I think if someone really wants to really appreciate F. Scott Fitzgerald, they should venture away from Gatsby and read Tender, or one of his brilliant short stories.

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  7. Pingback: 4 Things You Can Learn from Gatsby's Mistakes - The Little Jazz Baby

  8. Pingback: Book Review: The Paris Wife | The Thread Affect

  9. Pingback: The Great Gatsby | The Thread Affect

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