Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Gatsby

Yes, you read the title right.  I recently read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It was the April choice for my book group.  I had read it about 35 years ago and remembered nothing from it, so it was really like reading it for the first time!

My impression?  Good book!  I liked it a lot.  I especially enjoyed having it be discussed by my book
group...amazing what others might see in a book that you have missed or wondered about!  Great discussion on why is this book considered a classic? and on the various characters in the book and who liked what character and didn't like what character.

For those who may have not ever read The Great Gatsby, it is a story based in the 1920's on Long Island, NY.  It is told by Nick, a newly moved-in neighbor to Gatsby.  Jay Gatsby is pretty much a mystery to everyone, but very generous with his wealth.  He has lavious parties each weekend, with the alcohol freely flowing.  But no one knows where he came from and how he got his money.

Soon Nick meets his neighbor and is pulled into his life.  Turns out that Nick has a cousin, Daisy, who lives across the water from Gatsby.  Daisy is married to Tom Buchanon.  Tom is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson.  Nick learns that Gatsby has been in love with Daisy for years, having met her in KY (where she is from) before he left to serve in WWI.  When he returned from the war, Daisy had married.  And Gatsby had never gotten over her.

I won't share the ending, but suffice to say, it is thought-provoking.

After about the first third of the book, I was wondering what the big deal was.  I wasn't especially interested in finishing the book.  However, after that, I thought that the story got much better and, as I said, I ended up really liking it.  I was very glad that I had reread it and may even go on to read more Fitzgerald!

Any suggestions?  What is/was your favorite Fitzgerald novel?


Hannah Stoneham said...

I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby...

I think that the reasons that it is considered a classic is firstly that there is such a powerful languid sort of atmosphere created in the book - FSF's style kind of winds you in. Also - I guess it has come to represent the decadence of the jazz age - the cutting loose of responsibility - and the loss of identity which was part of the post war period... So - I would say that the literary merit combined with the historical significance to spell "classic"... on the other hand, of course there is a lot of luck in becoming a classic too.

I also really enjoyed "Tender is the night".

Thanks for posting a great review...


Bybee said...

I read This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and the Damned but Gatsby is the one I love.