Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the great gatsby The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Paperback

TBR pile

Harper Collins 2010 (first published 1925)

 Synopsis- ‘I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited.  People were not invited – they went there.’

After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbour and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits.

 Review- The Great Gatsby is a classic that I’ve intended to read for some time now. So, when I heard the movie was about to be released, it prompted me to bring it to the top of my TBR pile. When I saw the movie trailer looking all glam, I thought to myself that looks really good, but afterwards I was a little confused as I didn’t even know what it was about. I had a similar experience when I read the book. It certainly looked good, I’ve read some promising reviews, my Collins Classic edition was certainly pretty and the short page count was very enticing but once I’d read it I thought, is that it?

The Great Gatsby isn’t so great after all, in fact I initially thought Jay Gatsby a recluse, followed by my view that he was a coward and then some time after that I just thought he was a bit of an idiot, really. Daisy is self-absorbed and selfish; her husband is no better. Thus the love interest between Gatsby and Daisy was a bit of an anti-climax.

There’s not really a lot that happens plot-wise, so here’s a summary:

Daisy used to love Gatsby, but she married Tom.

Tom is having an affair.

Daisy has an affair with Gatsby.

Gatsby and Daisy run over Tom’s mistress.

Gatsby and Daisy don’t live happily ever after.

I could only partially connect with the narrator, Nick Garroway who is Daisy’s cousin and Gatsby’s neighbour. He has fleeting feelings for Daisy’s friend Jordan which ends up going nowhere because the whole bungle witih Gatsby and Daisy leaeves a sour taste in his mouth. Just when I was starting to like Nick he turned around and started to defend Gatsby and protect him from being identified with the crime.

What did keep me interested in the story was Fitzgeralds’ writing. I liked the way he wrote, I liked the way he explored each of the characters and the car accident certainly came out of nowhere for me. But the characters themselves weren’t very likeable and what’s worse, I couldn’t empathise or relate to any of them, so in essence I couldn’t connect with the book.

These classics are proving to be hard work for me, but I am glad to have picked up The Great Gatsby and that it was a quick, easy read- so refreshing from other books in this genre. Now I’ll have to check out the glittery, glam movie and see if I can make more sense of the story when it’s on the big screen!

Overall Rating

3/5

“It was okay”

The Great Gatsby can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers.

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8 comments

  1. I’ve been meaning to read this as well… really enjoyed your review… might not be in such a rush to read it perhaps:)

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    • There are so many classics out there to read, I know I have plenty of them sitting on my shelves. Even though I couldn’t connect with the characters in this story, the writing is quite entertaining and as a bonus it’s quite a quick read!

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  2. I read this recently too and it was just okay for me. I have a hard time with books where everyone is shallow and vacuous and it’s hard to relate to them or like them. However like you, I found the writing was extremely good. I have The Beautiful and Damned here by F. Scott Fitzgerald to read one day so I’m interested to see how I’ll find another book of his.

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    • I agree Bree, it’s hard to like a book when you didn’t like any of the characters. However, his writing style will certainly tempt me to try another of his titles… perhaps I’ll give The Beautiful and the Damned a go too.

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  3. I really liked this book! I loved how much Fitzgerald had to say in such a small book and one day I intend to revisit Tender is the Night too. Interesting that I loved the book and you didn’t, and you loved the movie and I didn’t!

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    • Actually that’s one of the things that I did enjoy about the book… that it was so short! Most classics I’ve tackled in the past year have been sooo long! I’m still yet to watch the movie Marg (i’ve only seen the trailer) but I do hope to see it soon.

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