BOOK REVIEW | The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

TITLE: The Great Gatsby
AUTHOR: F. Scott Fitzgerald
PAGE COUNT: 233 pages
PUBLISHER: Penguin Modern Classics
GENRE: Classics & Historical Fiction

SYNOPSIS: Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby’s origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon, this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby’s tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald re-creates the universal conflict between illusion and reality.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is one I have been wanting to read for so long. I chose to pick it up at the beginning of the year because not only did I want to start reading classics, it was also fitting as we entered the 20s. Many people in the book community thought it would be the perfect first read for the new decade and I could not agree more.

To be honest, I found the writing quite difficult to get used to. The beginning had me rereading the sentences but as I continued—page by page—the story started to flow more and I found it a lot easier.

Nick Carraway was the only character I somewhat liked, in the sense that you could connect more to his life, story and perspective. The characters were specifically created for the reader to dislike. Each of them had their own major flaws and the choices they made will have any reader’s blood boiling.

I think The Great Gatsby acts as an eye-opener for the reader to look at people and life through a different perspective. This book opened my eyes to the sickening greed people can have and the destructive choices they make that can influence another person’s life in the blink of an eye.

I also watched the film as I read the book to help me connect more to the characters and to give me a clearer picture of the setting. The film helped a lot and I found myself enjoying both. I do have to say, however, that the film would have made the story a bit unclear if I had not read the book. Reading the book before (or during) you watch the film will help you understand and enjoy the story more.

Although I did not love this book as much as I thought I would, it still had a major impact on me and it was one I would not forget anytime soon.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” 

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” 

“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.” 

“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.”

“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” 

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” 

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” 

“All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.” 

“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.” 

“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind…” 

“She was feeling the pressure of the world outside and she wanted to see him and feel his presence beside her and be reassured that she was doing the right thing after all.” 

“His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.” 

“All the bright precious things fade so fast, and they don’t come back.” 

“I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything.”

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled “Lost Generation,” Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfinished, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age. He was married to Zelda Fitzgerald.

I am so happy to finally have my first review published! It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to include and to decide on the layout. After writing many reviews of different lengths for this book, I decided to not write it too long. I want to keep my opinions short because I know not everyone will have the time to read it all.

Feel free to let me know what you think and if there are more things I should include :)

Keep on reading and never stop telling stories.

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