Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
'The Great Gatsby' written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in 1925. The story is of the year 1922 and characters of this story live in the town of West Egg of the prosperous Long Island. Jay Gatsby is a young millionaire (born in a poor family) with mysterious quixotic passion for the beautiful woman Daisy Buchanan. The story explores the social change with decadence, idealism, resistance to change and excesses. It creates a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties. 

My Review:
I can never tell when I read this book whether Nick Carraway truly liked Gatsby at times, or whether he was silently judging him.

The Great Gatsby begins with Nick arriving from the Midwest and reaqauinting himself with his distant cousin, Daisy and her husband. He doesn't yet know Gatsby but soon he will meet him and be drawn into Gastby's fantastical world where everything is fun and nothing is serious. 

But Gatsby has an ulterior motive - he's been in love with Daisy for years and wishes to see her again. As the dominoes begin to fall into place a deadly chain of events will be set off and Nick's life and the way he sees the world will never be the same again. 

The Great Gatsby is a classic for a reason. It has beautiful lines and a glittering, inviting world that you wish to be a part of. Goodreads and Amazon describe this book as a cautionary tale about the Jazz Era but I don't think Fitzgerald meant it that way at all. I think, in a way, The Great Gatsby was autobiographical to him. The wild parties were part of a lifestyle I'm sure he was accustomed to and perhaps he saw himself in Gatsby and his wife, Zelda, in Daisy; their difference in social stations and ill fated end mirroring and a premonition of his and Zelda's ultimate parting. 

Gatsby is my favorite character in this book for his unwavering hopefulness. He truly believed if he made himself into something that he would finally obtain the love of the woman he's infatuated with. Nick, as I said before, I'm not sure about. He seems to like and care about Gatsby at times but at others it's like he's judging him from not coming from the same world as himself and Daisy and Tom. Daisy comes off as an air headed, absentminded fool who as we learn doesn't truly care about anyone but herself and how society perceives her. Tom is the very same way, possibly showing us a glimpse of the rich in that era. I've never truly liked the character of Jordan Baker, she's so wishy-washy. Gatsby is alright as long as he's providing her with entertainment but ultimately she judges him too when she learns of his background and lack of good breeding. And Mrs. Wilson (who's first name eludes me  at the moment) is both yet another victim of the destructive tornado that is Daisy and Tom Buchanan and a cruel woman in her own right. Her husband was just a simple minded fool who loved his wife and became a pawn - a means to an end to get rid of Gatsby in the end. 

Overall, I really like this book. The parties and Gatsby's dizzying, carefree world are well set and the story is well plotted. 

My Rating
4 of 5 Stars! 

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