The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 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 dr...

Title:The Great Gatsby
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0743273567
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:180 pages

The Great Gatsby Reviews

  • svnh

    After six years of these heated and polarized debates, I'm deleting the reviews that sparked them. Thanks for sharing your frustrations, joys, and insights with me, goodreaders. Happy reading!

    In love and good faith, always,

    Savannah

  • Kemper

    Jay Gatsby, you poor doomed bastard. You were ahead of your time. If you would have pulled your scam after the invention of reality TV, you would have been a huge star on a show like

    and a dozen shameless Daisy-types would have thrown themselves at you.

    Mass media and modern fame would have embraced the way you tried to push your way into a social circle you didn’t belong to in an effort to fulfill a fool’s dream as your entire existence became a lie and you desperately sought to re

    Jay Gatsby, you poor doomed bastard. You were ahead of your time. If you would have pulled your scam after the invention of reality TV, you would have been a huge star on a show like

    and a dozen shameless Daisy-types would have thrown themselves at you.

    Mass media and modern fame would have embraced the way you tried to push your way into a social circle you didn’t belong to in an effort to fulfill a fool’s dream as your entire existence became a lie and you desperately sought to rewrite history to an ending you wanted. You had a talent for it, Jay, but a modern PR expert would have made you bigger than Kate Gosselin. Your knack for self-promotion and over the top displays of wealth to try and buy respectability would have fit right in these days. I can just about see you on a red carpet with Paris Hilton.

    And the ending would have been different. No aftermath for rich folks these days. Lawyers and pay-off money would have quietly settled the matter. No harm, no foul. But then you’d have realized how worthless Daisy really was at some point. I’m sure you couldn’t have dealt with that. So maybe it is better that your story happened in the Jazz Age where you could keep your illusions intact to the bitter end.

    The greatest American novel? I don’t know if there is such an animal. But I think you'd have to include this one in the conversation.

  • Gina

    Over drinks, I’ve observed—like so many smart alecks—that much of

    popularity relies heavily on its shortness. At a sparse 180 pages, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece could be argued to be the “Great American novella.”

    , like so many other short classics, is easily readable, re-readable, and assessable to everyone from the attention-deficient young to mothers juggling a kid, a career, and a long-held desire to catch up on all those books “they should have read but haven’t gotten

    Over drinks, I’ve observed—like so many smart alecks—that much of

    popularity relies heavily on its shortness. At a sparse 180 pages, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece could be argued to be the “Great American novella.”

    , like so many other short classics, is easily readable, re-readable, and assessable to everyone from the attention-deficient young to mothers juggling a kid, a career, and a long-held desire to catch up on all those books “they should have read but haven’t gotten around to yet”.

    I’ve now read

    three times, and I admit that on my first reading during (like handfuls of others) my senior year English class, I wasn’t particularly fond of the book; I believe I used the adjective “overrated” on numerous occasions. Daisy Buchanan seemed like a twit of a woman, and I found Jay Gatsby to be pathetically clawing in his attempt to attain her. Nick, my guide, only annoyed me further with his apparent hero-worshiping of a man I found one-dimensional and his adoration for the kind of woman I’ve seen other men purport to be goddesses, but in fact, are dim-witted simpletons with nice figures.

    Over my two subsequent readings—pushed along by friends whose judgment I trusted and who swore the book was “so funny and ironic”—I discovered within Fitzgerald’s fable a sardonic social wit and a heavily layered critique of the American Dream: the poor, working (wo)man rising above his or her social situation to discover money conquers all.

    Fitzgerald has a discerning ability for sharp critiques of the economically privileged and, like Jane Austin, has an ear for realistic, bantering dialogue. Through Nick’s narration, we see a world that so many Americans dream of (its enviableness only further accentuated by our open disdain for it): a life of endless parties, delicious food, beautiful clothes, and Paris Hilton. Nick who’s paradoxically drawn to his cousin, Daisy’s, and her husband, Tom’s, lifestyle with gloating contempt echoes the contemporary American idolization of an elite lifestyle that none but a select few attain.

    We watch Daisy with her voice that “sounds of money” flit about with uncompromising shallowness and vivacious school-girl frivolity, and through her, see so many of the inconsequential remarks and actions others (as well as ourselves) have made for the sheer sake of “having a good time”. In spite of her frivolity and weak disposition, we become, like Gatsby, “overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.”

    Through Gatsby’s veneration of Daisy, we not only imagine what so many Americans desire (success), but also we see the goal and glittering fixation of all humanity: beauty. And like many Americans in the throes of Capitalism, Gatsby believes that money can buy beauty as well as love. Fitzgerald articulates this disillusion with haunting force, particularly voiced through Nick’s obsessive repulsion with the extravagant society his social status has allowed him and the sadness he finds while watching a “working man” attempt to enter it.

    One critique of

    , which could also be argued as a positive, is the limited scope of action and themes Fitzgerald chooses to encapsulate. We only see the wealthy elite (or people wanting to be the wealthy elite), and only Nick really has any depth of characterization. Unlike a tome, such as

    ,

    fails to have numerous interwoven plotlines within a grand historical context. Yes, the Jazz Age is the novel’s backdrop, but Fitzgerald fails to engage in any discussion beyond a summer among the wealthy youth partying into the wee hours of the night in the West Egg. Yet, the control with which Fitzgerald expresses his limited themes makes the novel’s lack of scope forgivable.

    is short and easily accessible, and I have no doubt these aspects of the novel do lend to its everlasting popularity. At the same time, it should never diminish its truly admirable ability to tease apart some of the most confounding qualities American culture values: money, beauty, youth, hard work, and the ever effusive, love.

  • Alex

    The Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English prose ever published, making it difficult to discuss the novel without the urge to stammer awestruck about its beauty. It would be evidence enough to argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald was superhuman, if it wasn't for the fact that we know he also wrote This Side of Paradise.

    But despite its magic, the rhetoric is just that, and it is a cruel facade. Be

    The Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English prose ever published, making it difficult to discuss the novel without the urge to stammer awestruck about its beauty. It would be evidence enough to argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald was superhuman, if it wasn't for the fact that we know he also wrote This Side of Paradise.

    But despite its magic, the rhetoric is just that, and it is a cruel facade. Behind the stunning glitter lies a story with all the discontent and intensity of the early Metallica albums. At its heart, The Great Gatsby throws the very nature of our desires into a harsh, shocking light. There may never be a character who so epitomizes tragically misplaced devotion as Jay Gatsby, and Daisy, his devotee, plays her part with perfect, innocent malevolence. Gatsby's competition, Tom Buchanan, stands aside watching, taunting and provoking with piercing vocal jabs and the constant boast of his enviable physique. The three jostle for position in an epic love triangle that lays waste to countless innocent victims, as well as both Eggs of Long Island. Every jab, hook, and uppercut is relayed by the instantly likable narrator Nick Carraway, seemingly the only voice of reason amongst all the chaos. But when those boats are finally borne back ceaselessly by the current, no one is left afloat. It is an ethical massacre, and Fitzgerald spares no lives; there is perhaps not a single character of any significance worthy even of a Sportsmanship Award from the Boys and Girls Club.

    In a word, The Great Gatsby is about deception; Fitzgerald tints our glasses rosy with gorgeous prose and a narrator you want so much to trust, but leaves the lenses just translucent enough for us to see that Gatsby is getting the same treatment. And if Gatsby represents the truth of the American Dream, it means trouble for us all. Consider it the most pleasant insult you'll ever receive.

  • Pollopicu

    This is my least-favorite classic of all time. Probably even my least favorite book, ever.

    I didn't have the faintest iota of interest in neither era nor lifestyle of the people in this novela. So why did I read it to begin with? well, because I wanted to give it a chance. I've been surprised by many books, many a times. Thought this could open a new literary door for me.

    Most of the novel was incomprehensibly lame. I was never fully introduced to the root of the affair that existed between Gatsb

    This is my least-favorite classic of all time. Probably even my least favorite book, ever.

    I didn't have the faintest iota of interest in neither era nor lifestyle of the people in this novela. So why did I read it to begin with? well, because I wanted to give it a chance. I've been surprised by many books, many a times. Thought this could open a new literary door for me.

    Most of the novel was incomprehensibly lame. I was never fully introduced to the root of the affair that existed between Gatsby and Daisy. So they were in love...yeah..I've been in love too, who cares?

    Several times I didn't even understand where characters were when they were speaking to each other. I also didn't understand the whole affair with Tom and Mrs. Wilson.. and something about her husband locking her up over the garage...? huh? then she gets run over by a car, then he sneaks in through the trees and shoots Gatsby? wha..? still..why am I suppose to care about all this?

    Shallow and meaningless characters. Again, who cares?

    I read this book twice. 2 times. I just didn't get it.

    I can't believe this book is revered with the rest of the great classics. Truly unbelievable. Fitzgerald certainly kissed the right asses with this one.

    What garbage.

    Daisy quote:

    ...sob..sob.. boo-hoo-hoo. oh Please someone shut her the fuck up.

  • Nataliya

    Oh Gatsby, you old sport, you poor semi-delusionally hopeful dreamer with '

    ', focusing your whole self and soul on that elusive money-colored green light - a dream that shatters just when you are *this* close to it.

    Just like the Great Houdini - the association the

    Oh Gatsby, you old sport, you poor semi-delusionally hopeful dreamer with '

    ', focusing your whole self and soul on that elusive money-colored green light - a dream that shatters just when you are *this* close to it.

    Just like the Great Houdini - the association the title of this book so easily invokes - you specialized in illusions and escape. Except even the power of most courageous dreamers can be quite helpless to allow us escape the world, our past, and ourselves, giving rise to one of the most famous closing lines of a novel.

    Dear Gatsby, not everything I liked back when I was fourteen has withstood the test of time¹ - but you clearly did, and as I get older, closer to your and Nick Carraway's age, your story gathers more dimensions and more tragedy, fleshing out so much more from what I thought of as a tragic love story when I was a child - turning into a great American tragedy.

    Your tragedy was that you equated your dream with money, and money with happiness and love. And honestly, given the messed up world we live in, you were not that far from getting everything you thought you wanted, including the kind of love that hinges on the green dollar signs.

    And you *almost* saw it, you poor bastard, but in the end you chose to let your delusion continue, you poor soul.

    Poor Gatsby! Yours is the story of a young man who suddenly rose to wealth and fame, running like a hamster on the wheel amassing wealth for the sake of love, for the sake of winning the heart of a Southern belle, the one whose

    - in a book written by a young man who suddenly rose to wealth and fame, desperately running on the hamster wheel of 'high life' to win the heart of his own Southern belle. Poor Gatsby, and poor F. Scott Fitzgerald - the guy who so brilliantly described it all, but who continued to live the life his character failed to see for what it was.

    is a story about the lavish excesses meant to serve every little whim of the rich and wannabe-rich in the splendid but unsatisfying in their shallow emptiness glitzy and gaudy post-war years, and the resulting suffocation under the uselessness and unexpected oppressiveness of elusive American dream in the time when money was plenty and the alluring seemingly dream life was just around the corner, just within reach.

    - while at the same time firmly hanging on to the idea of the dream, the ability to dream big, and the stubborn tenacity of the dreamer,

    .

    This is why

    is still so relevant in the world we live in - almost a hundred years after Fitzgerald wrote it in the Roaring Twenties - the present-day world that still worships money and views it as a substitute for the American dream, the world that hinges on materialism, the world that no longer frowns on the gaudiness and glitz of the nouveau riche.

    In this world Jay Gatsby, poor old sport, with his huge tasteless mansion and lavish tasteless parties and in-your-face tasteless car and tasteless pink suit would be, perhaps, quietly sniggered at - but would have fit in without the need for aristocratic breeding - who cares if he has the money and the ability to throw parties worthy of reality show fame???

    Because in the present world just the fact of having heaps of money makes you worthy - and therefore the people whose

    , who are

    , people who genuinely believe that money makes them worthy and invincible are all too common. Tom and Daisy Buchanan would be proud of them.

    This book somehow hit the right note back when I read it when I was fourteen, and hit even truer note now, deeply resonating with me a decade short of a hundred years since it was written. If you read it for school years ago, I ask you to pick it up and give its pages another look - and it may amaze you.


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