The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald
ages: adult
First sentence: “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
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Ah Gatsby.

I fell for this book sometime in high school during my jazz phase. I don’t remember what it was about the book that captured my fancy; I just remember loving it. However, after using it as a basis for a paper in my class on the history of jazz my freshman year of college, I haven’t opened the book.

Enter John Green and the Nerdfighters. They’re doing a read-along of the book this summer, and while I may not actively participate in the discussion (though I did enjoy John’s first video on the book), I decided I would at least give The Great Gatsby another try to see if it held up over the years.

And it did. I’m not sure I was as enamored over it as I was in high school. Upon rereading, I think what I liked was the feel of the book. It captures the feel of the jazz age — the aimlessness, loneliness after the first World War, and yet the desire to distance oneself from anything destructive — so perfectly. I was caught up again in their mediocre lives of desperation, indulging in the reminder that being rich does not solve any problems, and may only serve to create more. It was also a reminder, this time around, that the past should stay in the past, that any desire to relive it will just end in pain for everyone.

I find the writing lyrical, and the story beautiful in it’s desperation. A true American classic.

5 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby

  1. I loved the Great Gatsby and how it captured the empty opulence, the frivolity, the sumptuous excessiveness and the spiritual void that lay beneath it all. There is so much to enjoy, from the frenetic yet cohesive writing style, the human relationships, or lack thereof, the flawed, beautiful characters, and especially the fact that the book, and Gatsby himself are a pretty accurate metaphor for America. Here’s a quote I found on Shmoop that perfectly illustrates all of the above: The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.

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