The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

gatsby

source: personal copy
title: The Great Gatsby
author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
published: April 10, 1925
genre: literary fiction/classics
pages: 189
first line: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920’s.

my thoughts:
Oh my Gatsby. It is always hard for me to review the classics because I cannot do them justice. The thing with this one is that I both liked and disliked it. I mainly enjoyed it. At just 189 pages, I read Gatsby slowly within the span of a few weeks. I think I will read it again in a year or so, maybe then I will grasp it better.

There is something to be said about a literary work of art that endures the passage time. The Great Gatsby was published in April of 1925 and is still read and enjoyed today.

The story takes place during the summer of 1922, during the Roaring Twenties and is set in a wealthy town in Long Island. It is narrated by Nick Carraway, a Yale grad and now Gatsby’s next-door neighbor.

As we see the story through Nick’s eyes, we meet a cast of characters including his cousin Daisy Fay Buchanan and her husband Tom. Tom and Daisy are not what you would call a loving couple and Tom has a mistress named Myrtle. Daisy is Gatsby’s long lost love. The war separated them years ago and Daisy married Tom while he was away.
Nick finally gets invited to one of Gatsby’s lavish parties and becomes friends with him. As the story flows we see more about the elusive Gatsby and his life and background and learn where his wealth came from.

I went into this one not knowing what it was about. I haven’t seen the 2013 film either even though Leonardo plays Gatsby. I haven’t seen the film because I wanted to read the book first.

I am a sucker for long lost loves who are reunited but somehow still have the odds stacked against them. Timing is everything and sometimes timing just stinks. Gatsby does everything he can to win Daisy back and just to see her once more. So the love story here grabbed me and made me love the character of Jay Gatsby himself. His love for Daisy was selfless and enduring. The quote below where he recalls his kissing Daisy was among my favorites in the book.

The reason I disliked reading Gatsby was the pacing of it. It might have been because Nick seemed bland to me. I just couldn’t connect with him. I also think it was because we are seeing the story through his eyes. I wanted to see it from Gatsby’s point of view since so much of it is around his life. Getting the story from Nick however, continues to keep Gatsby at an arms length, mainly elusive, mysterious. The author brings the 1920’s setting to life and I did enjoy that.

This passage is beautiful, as so many were throughout the book.

They had never been closer in their month of love nor communicated more profoundly with one with another, than when she brushed silent lips against his coat’s shoulder or when he touched the end of her fingers, gently, as though she were asleep.
p.158, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald dedicated The Great Gatsby to his wife Zelda. I want to read Tender Is the Night which I’ve heard is partially based on the author’s own life.

Although I found the pacing slow at times, I truly enjoyed this one. I found myself re-reading and savoring several passages. The last line in the book is wonderful too.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
p.189

 

Biography
F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the major American writers of the twentieth century — a figure whose life and works embodied powerful myths about our national dreams and aspirations. Fitzgerald was talented and perceptive, gifted with a lyrical style and a pitch-perfect ear for language. He lived his life as a romantic, equally capable of great dedication to his craft and reckless squandering of his artistic capital. He left us one sure masterpiece, The Great Gatsby; a near-masterpiece, Tender Is the Night; and a gathering of stories and essays that together capture the essence of the American experience. His writings are insightful and stylistically brilliant; today he is admired both as a social chronicler and a remarkably gifted artist.

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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16 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  1. A wonderful book. I must have been in my late 50s or early 60s when I finally got around to reading it. I read almost the entire book wondering what was so great about it. It wasn’t until I’d finished that I realized – yes, I agree, it is great. I later saw the Robert Redford movie from about forty years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dagny. I agree, once it all was said and done, I thought, wow. That was good. I actually watched the Robert Redford film this weekend and it really stood true to the novel. I liked how they quoted the book directly and all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Naida,

    I am really bad with exploring the classics, so I have neither read the book, nor seen the film.

    I’m not really sure that this would be one I would enjoy either, as although I can tolerate a bit of romance in my reading, the passages you highlight, whilst well written and very descriptive, are also a bit too sweet and sugary for my taste.

    I enjoyed your very even-handed approach to this review, you aired both sides of the argument and gave enough information for potential readers to make up their own minds about it 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend. It would be much better here if the temperatures warmed up a little and the cold wind would drop off 🙂

    Yvonne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvonne. I enjoyed his writing style, but I do see what you mean about it being sugary. It appeals to me. I watched the older film this weekend and was happy to see the actors directly quoting the novel. Sugary lines and all! lol
      Hope it gets warm there soon. Enjoy your week.

      Like

  3. I find reviewing classics intimidating, too. But we have to remind ourselves, that ultimately they are still stories and meant to be discussed and talked about by anyone who comes across them.

    I have mixed feelings with this one as well. I think I like AND dislike every single character in this book. Even Jay, ever hopeful, ever persistent Jay got on my nerves. He just seemed to be so insistent about his “head in the sand” view point. I feel like he refused to understand Daisy’s position, and just made them both suffer. Of course Daisy seems heartless at times, but I think it also has to do with her position in society; she’s essentially trapped, as the socialite wife of Tom. The story’s just sooo tragic. Gah! Everything seems so inevitable, the whole sad, hollow ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lady Disdain. Very true, they are meant to be discussed as well like any more recent books. I liked Jay, but I do see what you mean about his attitude and he does have somewhat of an obsession with Daisy. I couldn’t figure it out, and I do think she was trapped in many ways. Very tragic, and I was shocked!
      Enjoy your week 🙂

      Like

  4. I read this years and years ago. I think in college as required reading, in fact. I remember liking it, but that’s about it–I wasn’t a huge fan of Gatsby himself or any of the characters for that matter. I haven’t seen the movie yet, although I hear it is good. My husband really enjoys F.Scott Fitzgerald’s work. He’s read everything he’s written except for this one. Not sure why not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wendy. I watched the Robert Redford film version this weekend and seeing the characters on film like that made me dislike them more, especially Daisy. I think they did a good job with that version but I do want to see the more recent one.
      Happy week!

      Like

  5. Superb commentary on this book.

    It is truly one of the great American Novels.

    I think that you are correct, we see Gatsby through Nick’s eyes because a lot of what he represents is hard to understand and mysterious.

    I read Tender is the Night a few years ago. In many ways I found it moire poignant then The Great Gatsby. If you read it I would love to know what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review! I’ve always wanted to read this book but never got around to it. Too many distractions from other shiny new books. 😉 Still, I hope to read this one day and probably watch the film adaptation too.

    Like

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