Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream. It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

My Thoughts:  This was a very interesting read for me.  I first read it in my AP English class when I was a junior and I can remember that I was one of the few people who really enjoyed it.  I picked it up again this time for my Back to Classics challenge.  I have to say, I still really enjoy it.

The Great Gatsby is a rags-to-riches story set in the Jazz Age.  Our narrator, Nick, is neighbors with the mysterious Jay Gatsby.  Mr. Gatsby lives in an incredible mansion and is extremely rich.  How did he get so rich since he came from poor parents?  Yeah, probably best not to ask that one!  In fact, you soon find out that none of the characters are who they seem they are. 

I really enjoyed the love story here.  Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, Nick's distant cousin, years ago while he was in the Army.  Daisy has mutual feelings but she is, of course, used to a certain lifestyle that Gatsby (known as the time as James Gatz) couldn't give her, as he was poor.  So he lies.  He portrays himself as a wealthy man and then he must return to the Army.  They lose touch and Daisy marrys Tom.  Tom is wealthy but also uptight and stuffy.  I didn't care for him at all. 

This is what leads Gatsby to make himself a rich man, to live in New York and eventually what makes him set himself up to meet Daisy again.

I really loved how Gatsby would do anything for Daisy.  I loved how he pined away for her for 5 years and made himself who he was because he was trying to make himself someone worthwhile for Daisy.  I loved how it showed you what money can and cannot buy, showed you how powerful dreams could be and how powerful love can be. 

A great American classic, in my opinion!

1 comment:

  1. I'm thinking I'm going to have to give this (another) re-read. I love it every time, but its been awhile now!