The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, (my edition) published in 1993 by Wordsworth Editions, originally published April 1925.
Read: October 2015
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the ‘roaring twenties’ and a devastating exposé of the shallowness of the ‘Jazz Age’. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions that lined the Long Island shore in the 1920’s, to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery that surrounds him. The Great Gatsby is an undisputed classic of American literature from the period following the First World War, and is one of the great novels of the 20th century.
As I’m sure most of you know, when I’m feeling particularly adventurous I give a Classic a go. I’m even keeping track of the Classics I read through The Classics Club Challenge. The Great Gatsby is a book I’ve always loved the idea of – there are beautiful quotes all over Pinterest, and I LOVE a good quote, so it was with lots of excitement, and a little apprehension, that I picked this one up.
First of all, this didn’t feel like a 122 page book, and it took much longer for me to read than I thought it would. I’m assuming this is in part down to the intricacy of the story and the incredibly complex characters, that Fitzgerald creates in what is essentially a novella or short-story by today’s standard, but also partly due to the boredom that periodically set in when there wasn’t much happening in the story, to characters I didn’t particularly care about… It’s not all bad though, here is so much social commentary and cynical truth within these pages! I imagine this was ahead of its time when it was first released, and it has stayed ridiculously relevant to modern society.
For a Classic, I found this to be much more accessible than others I’ve tried, and so far failed, to get through (sorry, Pride and Prejudice fans!). However, although it was more accessible than most due to it’s reasonably modern writing style, there were still times when I struggled with it. Oddly, when I studied English Literature, I often resented the over-analysis of a text as I felt it ruined the story. Now, I wish I had’ve studied this text, because structured analysis and critique really would benefit my understanding, and possibly my enjoyment, of this read. Based on Fitzgerald’s writing style and certain plot points in this book, I can’t technically fault it, but based on my enjoyment levels?.. By the time I finished it I felt more than a little deflated. It wasn’t what I was expecting based on the number of people who RAVE about this novel, and adore it so much.
I resisted watching the movie adaptation with Leo DiCaprio until I’d read this book, so I managed to avoid pretty much all spoilers (a miracle in itself!). I’m looking forward to watching the movie now, and I have kept my copy of The Great Gatsby on my shelves for a possible reread in the future. While it didn’t blow me away as much as I expected it to, I have a feeling it may grow on me over time, and I’ll likely reread it to see what else I can glean from these pages. Ultimately though, I think I wanted to like this more than I actually did.
Have you read The Great Gatsby? What are your thoughts on this book? Let me know in the comments!