The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

ImageThere is an on-going trend with me and books: I mean to read them, but never get around to it. The Great Gatsby is one of those books, those famous classics that I’ve been meaning to read ever since I was old enough to want to. When I saw the trailer in the cinema I knew I had to read it before the movie came out, so I finally have.

For those who don’t know, The Great Gatsby is mainly about five people: Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Backer (but not really) and (obviously) Jay Gatsby. When Nick comes to New York to work he ends up living next to Mr. Gatsby’s huge mansion, who is a mystery for all who attend his famous parties. Since this is an easy story to spoil I’ll stop here. Suffice to say Nick gets involved with Gatsby’s glamorous and strange life.

Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans.

There is a great hype about this novel (see what I did there?), and I’m not completely sure it lives up to it. I liked it and thought there could be no better ending, but there were some things I could have done without. Like Daisy. To me she was a weak woman who wasn’t happy with her life, but when the chance came to change it she backed away. I honestly can’t sympathize with her much. I do pity her a bit though, but to me her problems are rich people’s problems and I find that rather hard to move me. Especially what she did in the end, I don’t think there’s any excuse for that.

I feel more or less the same about her husband, Tom. Except that in the end he didn’t really know what he was doing and ended up blaming an innocent man. Those are spoilers, so I’m not going into that, but if anyone has read it then come talk to me about it. But Nick (or F. Scott Fitzgerald, actually) rather describes both of the Buchanan’s really well here:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…

I think I liked Nick the most, with his honest outlook on life and his honorable intentions and his loyal character. He was someone who didn’t belong in that abundant life, and so through him we see how deplorable some of these rich people are. He’s also quite funny at times and I think he’s the best narrator F. Scott Fitzgerald could have chosen between the available characters, like here:

To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing — my own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police.

I don’t have much of an opinion on Jordan Backer, except that she was integral to the story in her own way. Gatsby though, I have a lot of feelings about him. During most of the book it was curiosity and a sort of awe, then a kind of disappointment with who he actually turned out to be and finally pity. Lots and lots of pity. He was a man in love with an idea, and that kind of love is not meant to last. Gatsby lived on hope alone and he was lost when it was gone. And to complete these passages about characters, here’s one on him:

“The poor son-of-a-bitch,” he said.

I also loved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing, he painted such a complete and thorough picture that there was almost no need to imagine it. The glittering parties, the drunken people and the overflowing abundance reeked from every word. I think that was my favorite part.

People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.

So these are my thoughts on The Great Gatsby. If you’ve read it too what do you think of it? If not, do you plan on seeing the movie anyway?


12 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  1. Finally, someone else besides me who has some issues with the book. So many people around me keep gushing how it’s their favorite book in the entire world, but I keep scratching my head in confusion. It was indeed a good book, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. I’m a bit on the fence with Nick. He is a good guy for honoring that crazy Gatsby guy when everyone else abandoned him, but I didn’t appreciate him criticizing everyone for being rich idiots when he willingly participated in partying, and drinking, and lounging just like everybody else. I don’t now, that little trait of him bugs me.

    I love your Kobo by the way. I have the older Touch, and we have been inseparable ever since I got it two years ago. I’m assuming yours has a built in light?

    • Right? I’ve only ever heard wonderful things about this book, but it honestly wasn’t that good, just good. He had some of that sometimes didn’t he? A sort of superiority because he thought he didn’t do those things. I don’t know, I suppose it didn’t bug me too much.

      Yeah, it has. I rarely use it though, I prefer to just turn a light on, but it was only slightly more expensive so I thought it might come in handy eventually. I’ve only had mine for a month or so and I’m in love with it already!

      • I would love to have a built-in light on my Kobo sometimes. I love reading before bed, so that would indeed come in handy when I don’t want to disturb others with my nightstand lamp.

      • That’s true, I think it might come in handy in airplanes too. Instead of turning on that yellow light that illuminates everyone around you too, you can just turn on kobo’s light. I took that into consideration when I bought it. But I guess they didn’t have those yet when you bought yours?

      • I wouldn’t too if I had the other one, I’m pro fixing things instead of replacing them. Though your kobo is definitively not broken. I’ve fallen in love with mine too, it’s great to finally be able to read things that don’t come to brazil in print. Or if they do, they are too expensive for me. Like this book, which was 20 dollars paperback and like 1 the ebook. Instant buy that one, obviously.

  2. As a huge Fitzgerald fan, I liked this book, but I wouldn’t say it’s his best work. Probably, it’s more well-known than his other stuff because it’s easier to read, but definitely not my favorite.

    I can’t wait to see the movie! It looks like this time is for real and it’s not going to be delayed… again!

    • I can’t wait to see the movie either, it really will come out this time and I don’t care what they have to do. It looks so good (and not just because of Leo DiCaprio)! I’ve read somewhere that people tend to like this book better than his other ones simply because it’s short. I don’t know, but I’m definitely reading more of his stuff.

      As a Fitzgerald fan do you have any recommendation for me? The one you liked best or something?

      • My favorite? Hmmm… That’s a hard question! I loved “The beautiful and damned” a lot, but I think I will go with “This side of paradise”. I could see myself in the main character, Armory Blaine, (an idealist trying to find his place in the world without losing himself) so it was easy for me to empathize with him and get involved in the story. This is the one I recommend to you so I hope you like it! Let me know what you thought of it if you decide to read it :)

        Leo Dicaprio and Baz Lurhmann. That’s a hard to beat combination! If it’s half as good as Romeo and Juliet is going to be amazing!

      • I’ve been wanting to read Fitzgerald for a while, but was a bit lost on what to start with (apart from The Great Gatsby). Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds really good, so I’ll read both and let’s see what I think :)
        I’m hoping it is, because I love that movie a lot! I just want to see it already :(

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