The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Title: The Great Gatsby.
Writer(s): F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Publisher: Scribner.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: April, 2018 (first published in 1925).
Pages: 180.
Genre(s): Classics, Fiction, Romance.
ISBN13:  9780743273565.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

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How far would you go to live a lie? Growing up, it is almost part of our upbringing to dream, to imagine the best of circumstances for a life full of happiness, to conceive success in a way that the mere thought of it would raise the hair on our arms and have us drooling at the intangible wealth. There are periods in history where such dreams where not just dreams but a possibility that only depended on your desire to make the most of the opportunities that cross your path. Legendary writer F. Scott Fitzgerald transports readers to an era in time that saw a decadence of glamour in a banal and superficial lifestyle with his magnum opus that left a memorable impression in Americana literature.

What is The Great Gatsby about? Set in the Jazz Age, the story introduces us to the enigmatic yet filthy rich Jay Gatsby and his love affair with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Through the eyes of Nick Carraway who holds the role of the narrator throughout this tragic tale, he portrays a very attentive character newly residing in West Egg, Long Island, as a neighbour to Jay Gatsby as he slowly but surely unravels the mystery behind this man who hides his self behind a charismatic personality, a prestigious background, and classy Saturday night parties.

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The social commentary hidden between the lines by writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is commendable. The people who indulged the Roaring Twenties with all their heart, passion, and money can be clearly visualized through the author’s exquisitely refined and poetic prose. The idea of the American Dream is scrutinized to the point of being able to see beyond the illusion in which many live in as they embrace a meaningless life without a care in the world about their own sense of worth and respect. Success is thus blindly achieved and understood through old values lying in money, fame, and glory, but writer F. Scott Fitzgerald wittily destroys this mirage by looking into the complex yet simple life of Jay Gatsby.

That is all the praise I could muster for this novel as the rest remains dull and pitiful once you start looking into the characters and the story that unfolds in the divided heart of Long Island, New York. The fact that none of the characters resonated with my person or my values simply kept me at a distance and led me to look at them through irritable eyes as they drowned in their miserable love affair. The story in itself is a stunning depiction of an era with a dying conception of the American Dream but it never really had me captivated as it quickly raised the curtains on the countless lies in which many bathe in in their daily lives. The sense of falseness and the ignorance of pride within this tale kept me from truly admiring any of these character’s plights, especially that of Jay Gatsby who remains stuck in the past till the end of this romantic drama.

The Great Gatsby is a beloved classic drawing a languishing portrait of the American Dream through an exploration of social classes, love, and honesty.


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Co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in this live-action movie adaptation of the classic novel of the same name.

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47 comments

  • Oh, poor Lashaan! I have to say, I admire your unbreakable resolution to look for good in everything! 😄

    As you can probably infer, I’m not a fan of The Great Gatsby. It was a horribly dull, unbearably dragging experience for me and I did not care for any of the characters, the pitifully impressionable and detestable in his prying narrator/alter ego included. I listened to it during a lengthy car trip, and believe me, it seemed even longer for that. But I did finish it, and felt good for actually uncovering that important bit of American psyche in the process – so not all is lost 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hahahhaahahahah I think in a couple of years I’ll have your own incredible ability to determine if you love or despise a book without sugar coating anything!!! 😛

      In all honesty, I think if I wasn’t trying so hard to understand why it’s a classic, I would’ve stuck with a lower rating/appreciation and said exactly everything you just summed up from your own experience! I think being able to take it off my TBR is a big plus though. I very much doubt I’ll return to it now! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🤣 The only thing I’m good at sugar coating is cookies! 😄
        I think books become classics not necessarily because they are incredibly well written or timeless – though there are many such, but sometimes because they capture a mood of times, the sum of people’ s dreams and woes and needs so well that those who read it at the time feel their own emotions described and scrutinized as if under a magnifying glass. But this sort of a classic usually ages badly, as all those fleeting social moods and modes of behavior evolve and change. Great Gatsby falls for me into this category; I understand why it had been so important, but I also see how it became outdated and now can serve mostly as a window in time.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I HATE this book. I mean, really, really badly. I read it in highschool and it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I didn’t read it again until 2008. Man, it got my “trash” tag.

    For me, the lack of repentance and redemption is what did this in for me. I just don’t understand why it is a “classic”…

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have realized that 20th century “classics” are for the most part worthless exercises in masochism (to read) and are worthless as well on a moral plane. Not just because I disagree with 90% of the worldview, but because the works themselves are exercises in futility.
        *steps off of soapbox*
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

  • Oh man, I read this back in high school. Suffice to say, it’s not my desired read then or now, but is still a somewhat interesting read from what I remember. Glad you’re giving classics a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I may be in the minority on this one. I read it in school and actually enjoyed it. I do agree, there’s not a lot to like in most of the characters, but I still enjoyed the view into another lifestyle, even if one I’ve no interest in ever living. But I can certainly see how others might not enjoy it. There are plenty of books others love that don’t work for me. I would be curious to know if I were to read it again, would I enjoy it as much as I did when I first read it, especially where it was in a class I enjoyed with a professor who did a great job pulling you into the works he assigned. Perhaps one day I’ll reread it and find out. But for now there are just too many other books asking for my attention. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this one back in the day. I never got the chance to read it in school or to have an enthusiastic teacher break it down for me, but I think that could’ve maybe helped me appreciate it more but from this first experience I had with it, I wasn’t impressed as much as I thought I was going to be by it. I’m not sure I’d reread it in the future but if I do, I do hope that I’ll be able to enjoy it more than now! 😀

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  • Much as I love this book and consider it a favorite, I agree with your critique of it. It is dull, but what I love about it is the writing. I love the prose so much that I ignored everything else and didn’t realize that I wasn’t much interested in the story. When I think back on it, I mostly remember the writing and that there’s a man called Gatsby and the owlish dude in the library. Not much else.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I remember reading The Great Gatsby a few decades ago, and the fact that very little (If anything) of it remains in my memory speaks loudly about the problem you encountered yourself: the characters were indeed dull and unlikable, preventing any connection between me and the story.
    Still, it’s a classic… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • I do agree, when I read it several years ago I was also confused as to why so many people regarded it as such a good classic. I think the writing is indeed very good, but my judgement could also change now that I am older and can process the plot and story better. Great review as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  • What do you think of the film if you’ve seen it? I think it’s a good adaptation. I know a lot of people love the book, I like it but it’s not a favourite. The first time I read it, I was like ‘meh – is that all there is?’ but the second time, I appreciated it more 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen it yet and planned to in the near future! I’m glad to hear that you thought it was a good adaptation though. The trailer did make it seem like it captured the essence of the book hahah Hmmm I wonder if I’ll ever give it another try in the future. Future me will have to think about it hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  • For once a classic I did have read!!! And I do agree with you lashaan even if it’s beensuch a looooooong time ago (High school mind you). But I also do recall that it was quite dull.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Have not read it. Watched the movie and was confused. How could so many people think it was great?
    It’s interesting that you talk about not being able to relate to the characters. Even though I do not need characters in every book to be “like me,” there is a fine line between the characters not being like me and characters depicting everything I despise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GOLDIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! Your words have enlightened my day!!!!! So happy to hear from you again!!!

      I haven’t seen the movie yet but I know that there’s that extra popular Leonardo GIF that has been circulating for years because of it though.

      You’re right there. It’s not that I want to relate to them but they were all constructed in a way that made them so unappealing without any core values to help me appreciate anything from them that I couldn’t enjoy the story more than I thought I would. When books have “despicable” characters, I expect the “story” to come rescue it but this one didn’t do any of that and left me with only an appreciation for the writing and the overall idea of looking into an era where people were “dying”.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve neither watched the film or read the book but going by your review I don’t think it’s one for me.

    It sounds quite dull and populated by characters I probably wouldn’t get on with.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve read this book three times- each in a different decade of my life and seen a different perspective each time. When young I thought Gatsby’s love for Daisy so very romantic, but in later readings, it proved to be toxic. Everyone (besides Nick) was unlikable and foolish with a strict class divide that only led to unhealthy dynamics between friends and family. The ending was obviously a tragedy with biting social commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said, Nancy. I like that you got to experience this multiple time throughout your life! I only have a limited number of classics that I’d dare do that with (e.g. Le Petit Prince) just because I know that I’ll learn something different everytime hahaha But you’re right, depending on when you read this one, Gatsby doesn’t rub off on you the same…

      Liked by 1 person

  • And this… is one of the classics I wasn’t able to finish. Hahaha! =)) I got really, really bored after several pages and so, I resorted to watching the movie. It was a good one, indeed. But as you’ve said, the problem is the personality of the characters themselves. I only felt anger towards the ruling class and emptiness after seeing Jay Gatsby on his death bed, with only Nick by his side… while Daisy escapes with her family. Ah, it’s sooo heartbreaking </3

    This is another great review, Lashaan! On point and well-researched. Kuddos and I'm looking forward to reading your posts in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Right, they were all chaotic! Lol it seems like Nick Carraway was the only one with “little” issues but at the same time, the unfortunate one to witness all the wrongdoings and misfortunes of the other characters.
        Haha I remembered feeling that my heart dropped after watching the movie. Poor Gatsby! haha

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve never been interested in reading this book nor watching the movie but, despite some criticism, the book sounds pretty good to me! 😄 I mean, maybe not the most adventurous read, but I can definitely see myself trying to read it! 😂 Great review, Lashaan! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caroline! 🥰 I think it’s something that everyone should indeed try at least once, that’s for sure. I hear the movie is visually appealing though! That might be even more of an option if you can’t seem to find some time for the book! 😜

      Liked by 1 person

  • Fine, you shamed me into it, Lashaan. Here’s the nutshell version of what I deleted a couple of weeks ago: your analysis is spot-on. But your evaluation gets wonky. To borrow a phrase from another field: What you see as bugs, are really features. I think you’ve drawn exactly the conclusions about the characters and their actions that you’re supposed to. Like Nick, you’re supposed to want to get away from these messed up-people and their messed-up lives and messed-up values. Relish the prose, that great voice (which Fitzgerald doesn’t come close to matching in the rest of his novels), and run away from anyone like those people.

    (as far as movies, find the 1974 version. Not over-the-top as Luhrmann’s, but I think it captures the novel better (and by saying that, I probably drove you from it..oops) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha I love it! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your point of view on it. In fact, after publishing my review, I actually thought about it and realized that all the flaws of the books that I noted could’ve easily been seen as the very aspects that were purposely accentuated by the author to portray those characters. I’ve read a couple of other classics in the past (e.g. The Catcher in the Rye) where the very annoying things of the characters are what actually made me love the book in the end. It challenged me into seeing things differently and TRYING to be in their shoes and see the story on another level. I think it’s just the overall story that accompanied the whole Gatsby tale that wasn’t as much to my liking as I wish it was. Otherwise, you’re definitely right in pointing that out though. Again, thanks for sharing, dude! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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