Book Review | The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 photo 02a66cdab94823bc25933b693cabe243_zpsa27a5d64.jpg The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgeralds third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession, it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

The infamous Gatsby has to be the most popular classic of this year because of the super glossed Baz Luhrmann film adaptation. It's one of those novels that, especially after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's beautiful writing, I really wanted to fangirl over, but I have a bit of a mixed view of the novel.

There are several things that I adored about The Great Gatsby. I loved that it is set within the gorgeous roaring 20s era, with a glitzy, cinematic quality that was pretty enjoyable. Who doesn't like to feel as if you are privvy to an exclusive person who seems to throw the worlds greatest soirees in town? Scott puts you right smack dab in the middle of all of the action with Nick Carraway, of whom the story is told through. I also loved the premise of discovering such an enigmatic figure as Gatsby, his secrets and reasoning for being who he is.

Nick Carraway is a character that was the hardest for me to take in at first, but as the story moves forward, I grew to sympathize with him. He's an observer, just as we as readers are observers to these figures who seem to dwell in a completely different dimension. He seems to have both a wonder of such people, and also a wary suspicion that I carried with me throughout the entire novel. The things that I couldn't quite get with in the beginning, were many of the introductory paragraphs. They were overwhelming, at times, as they seemed to jump from the glory of the grandios parties, to every single uninvited guest and the familes they're attached to, to his own history. He jumped around so much that it became a bit distracting, and I found myself saying, please get back to Gatsby!

Daisy. There really are no words. She seems a bit of a cameleon, in that, she takes on the opinion of whomever is around, or she wants so badly to appear the woman who's ready for anything that she often plays the mindless coquette, ever ready to party, but never ready to deal with what's right in front of her. Gatsby's reappearance into her life may have been a bit too intense for her, I gather, but she never seems to gain a handle on her own opinions of him, her husband, or her rich lifestyle which she seems to hate and also be too entangled with to let go.

I found Jordan intriguing in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's because, unlike Daisy, she seems her own woman. She seems to have keen insight into the characters in a way that others don't. She doesn't seem as taken in by the glitter of Gatsby as everyone else is. Tom, well, he's something else, that's all I'll say of him.

The great Jay Gatsby is every bit of the enigma that Scott portrays him to be. He has the most peculiar allure that made me both suspicious and also euphoric about him. It seems that right off of the bat, I knew that Gatsby's pursuit of the past, and his constant surveyal of the distance will not satisfy him in the way he believes it will, but I still admired his spirit. He has the ability to make anyone believe in dreaming, and is also a great symbol of the American Dreamer, though one must decide whether that is positive or negative.

Bare in mind: The Great Gatsby contains adult themes and violence.

The Great Gatsby is one of those classics that even with its ups and downs, everyone should experience for themselves. It's entertaining, beautifully written, and readers will be taken in by Gatsby's allure. But what I love most is that it also seems to allude that this speed, debauchery driven society has no choice but to grind to a screeching hault.
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I give The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 3 out of 5 cups of sparkling tonic and cranberry.

A short word on the film:
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I actually thought the film was a pretty awesome adaptation of the book. It carried the same overwhelming beginning that slows until everyone's flaws are glaring. Leo is Gatsby, that's all that can be said. I also thought that Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire were pretty excellent in executing their roles. Most seem to complain about Baz Luhrmann's use of modern music, but I actually felt it fit like a missing puzzle piece. It carried on the mood of Gatsby really seamlessly, and in a way, bridges the gap between the present and the 20s. Can I also say how relieved I am that Luhrmann didn't decide to turn this into a musical. That would have been a nightmare. It certainly goes without saying that the sets and costumes were out of this world lovely. The film did feel a bit long as it moves towards its end, but I would recommend it.

Bare in mind: This film contains adult themes and violence.

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I give The Great Gatsby (2013) 4 out of 5 cups of Sparkling Cider.

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