Book Review–The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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This is the twenty-eighth book from my 200 Book Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published 1925

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned.” That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology.

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 believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning—” 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. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means—and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions.

His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

 

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With the greatly anticipated re-make of the movie being released (which my little sister is dying to see), I decided to re-read this because I honestly didn’t remember too much about it. I ended up liking this better the second time around.

While The Great Gatsby is best known as being a novel about the “corruption of the American dream”, I also think that it is also a tragic love story.

I enjoyed Fitzgerald’s writing style and descriptions. I especially loved his dialogue and metaphors. The dialogue is probably my favorite thing about his writing.

As for characters, I feel that Fitzgerald also did a wonderful job with them for the most part. I especially liked Jay Gatsby. I feel that Nick, our narrator, didn’t have as much of a personality as the others and was more of a quieter observer. Which actually worked pretty well for this book.

This is probably one of the best classics that I’ve read so far. I am looking forward to reading more work by Fitzgerald.

 

P.S. I cannot wait to see the movie. I missed it in theaters!

4stars

jncahill_name

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