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May Book Club
by Jane,posted May 1 2013 5:56AM
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
--reviewed by Jane
I must be honest, I read this classic MANY years ago. In fact, I was probably a teenager, back in the dark ages and I didn’t particularly care for it. In the interest of maturity and because another version of the movie is coming out soon starring Leo DiCaprio, I decided to give it another try.
I gotta say: I liked it. Perhaps it’s a book for mature audiences or perhaps it’s because I’m seeing some of my own struggles as a control freak, played out in Gatsby’s behavior.
The book is set in the 1920s, on Long Island and revolves around a wealthy crowd who hang out in the Hamptons one summer. The narrator of the story is Nick Carroway, a young man raised in an upper middle class family who came to New York to be a bond salesman, during the go-go years of the ‘20s.
He moves in next door to the fabulously wealthy and very mysterious Jay Gatsby who throws opulent, wild parties at his large, ostentatious mansion all summer.
Nick’s cousin Daisy lives across the bay, in the ‘old money’ enclave of East Egg, with her cheating husband Tom Buchanan. The old money types are happy to attend Gatsby’s fabulous parties, but look down their noses at his attempts to enter their club.
I don’t want to give any more details, since I might give too much away, but there are so many parallels between the shallow, wealthy characters in the book and the vapid, wealthy reality stars and celebrities of today. It shows that nothing much changes culturally over the years.
The writing is beautiful, but I’ll warn you that at first, it’s kind of jarring due to the era in which it’s written, but once you get into that first chapter and fall into the rhythm, it’s lovely.
Read the book BEFORE you see the movie. I’m happy to admit that my initial assessment of Fitzgerald’s American Classic was wrong. It’s one of those books that stuck with me and after I read it, I spent a week or so savoring it in my mind.