Number of Pages: 180
Release Date: 1925
“In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new–something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.” That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.”
I’m actually hesitant to write this review, because I know that whatever words I choose to use cannot possibly live up to this masterpiece of a novel. I was initially expecting it to be a fairly decent read because of all the hype about it from my English teachers, but I never thought I would like it as much as I do after having read it. It’s by far the best book I’ve had to read as an assignment in school (I had to read it for my American Literature class) and it may even be one of my favorite books of all time. Here’s why.
One of my favorite things about The Great Gatsby is the extreme abundance of symbolism lurks beneath its surface. I’m not going to get into the debate of whether or not this symbolism was intended by Fitzgerald, because to me that’s not really the point. The important thing for me is that it is present nevertheless. There is a seemingly endless web of connections that can be made with the symbolism in this story- the use of specific colors, the green light, the blue and yellow cars, Gatsby’s mansion, and even Daisy herself. The list goes on and on and on, and I just love every bit of it. I know that every time I reread this book (because I will definitely be reading it at least one more time in the future) I will discover a new aspect of it that I didn’t know existed before. As a reader, that is an immensely exciting prospect because it means that this wonderful story will never lose its spark.
Another high point of this book is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beautiful writing. I mean, take a look at this quote:
“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” (page 35)
It’s so flawless. Not only is it written eloquently, but it is incredibly easy to relate to. Often I feel these two extremes, especially when thinking about modern-day society and the various pros and cons of our current lifestyles. Some aspects of today are terrifying and disheartening to think about, yet at the same time there are components that are overwhelmingly good. Fitzgerald uses his mastery of language to evoke these personal connections with the reader throughout the entire novel, and it is this that gives the story its timelessness.
I also loved the characters in this novel and how startlingly terrible they can be. Take Tom Buchanan, for example. He believes in white supremacy, is cheating on Daisy with another woman, and cares more about money and status than anything else. He looks down upon Gatsby’s extravagant parties as frivolous and even immature, and he is beyond careless. But he is a multidimensional character with a distinct personality that could actually exist in the greedy, selfish world we live in- and that’s something that doesn’t exist in every story. Gatsby is both an enigma and all of us at once. Nick is a bystander who is irrevocably changed by this one summer. Daisy shows hidden intellect when she says,
“I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (page 17)
Each character has so much depth to them that it is as if they are actual people- and really, aren’t they all reflected, if only a tiny bit, in each of us?
I could go on and on and on about why I love The Great Gatsby so much, but for now I’ll leave it at that. If you haven’t read this novel, I highly, HIGHLY suggest it. At this point, it’s actually more of a demand.
READ THIS BOOK. IT’S AMAZING.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0). You shouldn’t even have to ask.
Would I recommend it to a friend: OH YES.
Perhaps I’ll write more posts on more specific aspects of The Great Gatsby in the future. Let me know in the comments section below if you would like that, or your own thoughts on this novel.