A review of The Great Gatsby…
Book: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pages: 176 (paperback)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Age Recommendation: 15+
Publisher: Roads Publishing
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
If you didn’t already know, this year I decided to start reading classics. It’s not that I never wanted to before now, I just didn’t need to read many classics in school and since I didn’t study English Lit in college or university I just haven’t really known which ones to read. I’ve not seen a film adaptation of The Great Gatsby which means that I read it with no pre-conceptions.
The Great Gatsby is a story told by Nick Carraway, about a time when he was Gatsby’s neighbour. At the beginning of the story, Nick has just moved from the Midwest to Long Island, not far from where his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband live. Nick’s mysterious neighbour, Gatsby, hosts weekly parties and is a quiet and gracious host. Gatsby and Nick become friends and Nick soon discovers that Gatsby is in love with Daisy and would like to see her again face-to-face. Whilst that is as much as I can tell you about the plot, I can also tell you that it’s about wealth, the pursuit of happiness and hopes and dreams.
I was surprised by just how quickly The Great Gatsby had me hooked. This book was so beautifully written and so poetic I fell in love with it pretty quickly. Even though it was short, it was powerful. I’ve read lots of reviews online and so many people have said that they didn’t enjoy the book because they didn’t like the characters. I don’t think you’re supposed to like them. Most of them are selfish, ungrateful and dishonest. They are all very wealthy but unhappy. And yet they would not dream of changing anything! Nick learns that Gatsby is different. Gatsby works hard to pursue a dream that in reality is almost unattainable. He dreams of one day being enough for the woman he is in love with despite the fact she is married and he hasn’t seen her in years. His dreams are so far out of reach and yet Gatsby chases them with so much passion and determination that I couldn’t help but admire him. As Nick says, Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”. Gatsby may be delusional but he’s honest and genuine. The fact that he has money means nothing to him without the love of his life to enjoy it with.
It’s a really short novel and I highly recommend reading it. It is well written and haunting. I never wanted it to end.