Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I'm happy I got this one done for the book club night next week (I'm still plodding through Little Women even though that was last month's book).

I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was beautiful writing. I love wading through the sentences and seeing where they would end. But there are zero likable characters in this book. None. I hated all of them.

Our narrator is Nick Carraway, who has moved East in hopes of pursuing a job in bonds. He finds himself on West Egg next to the titled Jay Gatsby. Gatsby comes across as very shallow and secretive, much skilled at hiding his past, with a great deal of money to burn. And burn it does. He throws lavish (gaudy) parties every weekend and anyone who wants to be invited just shows up. Not much fun to live next door to until Nick himself is actually invited to the party.

Nick comes to find out that Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan, his cousin, who is married to an oaf, Tom. Daisy is a pretty horrific character in of herself but she almost appeared likable next to her husband. Jordan Baker, a famed golfer, is the last of the main characters. Take a guess... unlikable.

We end up winding our way through this "romance" as Gatsby declares his love (and tries to win Daisy with a show of money - of which she has no need), Tom's mistress getting killed (ironically by Daisy), Tom realizing Gatsby wants Daisy and suddenly trying to be a good husband and Daisy just being a horrible woman, leading on every man who professes love.

The sadness of the book really lies in the ending. Gatsby is killed and no one shows for his funeral except for Nick and Gatsby's father (and a strange man we don't know anything about). Of all the supposed friends from all the lavish parties, no one really cared for the man Gatsby. In the end, that was the part of the book that did move me.

It seems people hate or love this book, but I think I'm on the fence.

NPR's Fresh Air has a segment on this book
http://www.npr.org/2014/09/08/346346588/how-gatsby-went-from-a-moldering-flop-to-a-great-american-novel


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