My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgeral | Book Review

The Great Gatsby was great. I didn't remember much from when I read it in high school back in the late 90s so I wasn't sure what to expect. I do remember liking it which stood out because most books we had to read in high school were terrible, and this is coming from someone how LOVES to read! While I agree with people that most of the characters aren't exactly likable, they are interesting and reading about them was fun. If you want to read a book with characters who have no redeeming qualities give Wuthering Heights a try, those characters make the people in the Great Gatsby seem kind of nice, at least they're usually civil. I love the beautiful symbolism in this book. I love Fitzgerald's prose. It is beautiful as well. It is easy for me to appreciate Fitzgerald's writing for how well it flows, and the great command he has over it. Many classic books are like this, but have extremely boring stories. Not this one. It moves at a pretty good pace. I usually have to plow through parts of classics because they contain big blocks of boring stuff but with Gatsby I felt like I was on a grand ride the whole time, soaring over the 20s with Nick the narrator as my pilot. I sat as he did looking over the scenery as we passed over it. There's a line where he describes pulling up to an apartment.

 “At 158th Street the cab stopped at one slice in a long white cake of apartment houses” (Fitzgerald, 32).

He didn't fill the sentence with tons of words and yet there's so much great stuff packed in there. What an image. Quite a different image from Gatsby's big house. I just loved that line - as was the case with most of the book. The only other book I've read by Fitzgerald is This Side of Paradise. While I was often admiring the writing, it's story meandered compared to Gatsby. Another reason this book was enjoyable to read is that there are so many great images in it that stick with you. Most books I've read can only conjure up a few images when I think back on them, but Gatsby is chalked full of them and they're wonderful ones. The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, the ash heaps, Gatsby's yellow car, his parties, his pool, that green light across the water, I could go on.

The last thing I'll say is that when reading The Great Gatsby I really got the sense of the environment, the writing did a good job of bringing me into the world of the roaring 20s. It all felt so grand bright and glittery, and at the same time grungy cheap and shallow. Shallow people surrounded by glamour. The book captures its time so well, which is why it's listed as one of the "Great American Novels." As far as classics go, this is one of my favorites.

Have you read The Great Gatsby? What did you think? Did you recently reread it like me because the movie directed by Baz Luhrmann has come out? I loved his take on Romeo+Juliet and of course The Moulin Rouge was amazing. Yes I own the soundtrack. I can't wait to see what he does with this great American novel. Are you going to see it? I think Leonardo DiCaprio will prove to be an amazing Gatsby. Thanks for stopping by!

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