Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Great Gatsby

There have been very few classics that I have disliked, but I would have to say that The Great Gatsby would be one of them.  It is not that the book is not well-written...it is.  It is not that it doesn't have a important message...it does.  If there is one word that I would use to describe the story line it would be dismal.

Jay Gatsby is a poor man in the Roaring 20's who becomes rich through shady means. He uses his wealth to try to win the affections of a married woman.  While the book does demonstrate the American "rags to riches" dream it shows how a life of running after money and pleasures leads to destruction.

One of the dismal aspects of the book is that there is no hero...no character that you can adore.  While tragedy is not fun I can endure a depressing plot line if there is a character to look up to.  I didn't find one here. And maybe that is why I found the book so dismal.  There is one redeeming characteristic of the book. Its message that a life of pleasures and wealth is a life of emptiness makes the book palatable for me. Fitzgerald through his writing (which seems to "float" from one scene to the next, a characteristic that I liked in the book) demonstrates the nothingness of a self-seeking life.

For those of you that are interested in reading the book you might want to do it before the end of the year as there is a new movie coming out based on the book.

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Great review. It is a dismal book... and there really isn't anyone to admire (Nick? not really). But I do like the writing style.

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