Book Reviews

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

No – Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men. 

The Great Gatsby is my first classical read. I’ve put it down as a classical novel on my list as it’s one that’s studied for Literature courses all over the UK. I wasn’t in a class that read Gatsby and was always rather jealous as I had heard great things about the novel itself. So when I came to write my list, I knew that Gatsby had to be read. 

On starting reading I knew that Fitzgerald’s language was something I could get along with. It’s very fluid and easy to read; most of the events are easy to follow, at least until the end where I struggled a little. It’s quite ‘flowery’ language; everything described so that it is possible to be drawn into 1920s Long Island and experience everything with Caraway. 

I feel like however the only real character development comes through Caraway. This is possibly just because of the first person narration through the novel, but then again it can be seen as a social criticism that people put on a front when they become wealthy. Social critiques are shown all the way through this novel from the character dialogue at Gatsby’s parties to the fact that Daisy, not only has the success that people desire in the typical american dream, but also this unmistakeable beauty. It is shown throughout that Gatsby believes he can buy not only success, but the love of this one beautiful woman. 

I also feel that this book really does show the strains of relationships very well, and how they develop over time. From that of Jordan and Caraway, the sweet turning sour relationship, to Daisy and Tom Buchanan, the “I’ve never loved you I’ve always loved another” relationship, to Daisy and Gatsby. I don’t feel that Daisy and Gatsby would ever have been a suitable couple at any point, due to Gatsby’s almost stalker-ish tendencies; I mean, not to say that buying a house over the bay from your 20’s sweetheart isn’t romantic but… it can be seen as kind of weird to hide in the bushes of her home, or to formulate a plan so you can see her by inviting yourself to tea with a mutual friend. I think most of the relationships shown by Fitzgerald are volatile and quite toxic in places, mostly because of this constant urge to have financial security vs love. 

However Gatsby is quite an easy read, fairly quick as well. I suppose that in the future I will pick this book up again and re read it and all of the explanations will make sense and I’ll take more away from than i have at the present moment. I don’t know if I’d call it the great american novel, not that I have read a lot of American literature, but I would say that Fitzgerald appears to have captured a summer in an affluent, maybe even immoral, area of American history. 

Total pages – 180

Total read time – 3 hours 

Rating /10 – 6

Recommend – Maybe, old sport, unless you’d prefer to watch the film 

For more information and in depth discussion on The Great Gatsby, I’d recommend Crash Course; Literature with John Green 

The Great Gatsby Part 1

The Great Gatsby Part 2

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