SHARING A CHAIR | Book Club

- BOOK REVIEW | THE GREAT GATSBY -

by F.Scott fitzgerald

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Book Peak: The writing by Fitzgerald, which reads like prose. The descriptive nature of the storytelling helps to paint a vivid picture of the times and more importantly the characters.

Book Pit: It is difficult to relate to or sympathise with any of the characters, but this does seem intentional by the author to highlight their hollow lifestyles.

Favourite Quote: "I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.

Read if you liked: Any classic literature exploring the lives of those in high society. 

FULL REVIEW BELOW | NO SPOILERS 

 
 

To look at The Great Gatsby on surface level, one would conclude it was a love story. But this novel has so much more to say than just that of love lost and found. 

Set in the 1920's, a period in American history where the importation, production and transportation of alcoholic beverages was prohibited nationwide. The story is told by Nick Carraway, who introduces us to the lavish parties that take place at his neighbour, Gatsby's house every weekend.

Gatsby is elusive during his parties, inducing an atmosphere of mystery around who he is. None of his guests ever seem to completely know about who he is and how he came to be so wealthy. Gatsby holds a dark secret about his past and what lead to his wealth and popularity, a connection that will ultimately lead to the climax of the story. 

And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.

The Great Gatsby, in many ways, demonstrates the emptiness a life of luxury can bring. There is a running theme of 'time', with Gatsby seemingly fixated on finding a future, but only by means of changing the past. It's as though he is happily living in his past and wants to recreate it by denying the relationships and emotions of those around him that get in the way. 

The reader will become increasingly frustrated with the characters and their many flaws. Tom with his brutish nature, not loyal in his marriage but expecting more than he puts in himself and Daisy with her lust for the finer things in life over the invaluable qualities of character. Our attitude towards Gatsby will ebb and flow, at some points feeling sorry for him and his quest for the love of his life, then at others we find ourselves annoyed when he acts like a spoilt child - requesting that Daisy deny ever having any feelings towards her husband. 

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

By the end of the novel you are left feeling that there is a great injustice in the world. There are no heroes and the careless get to carry on being careless and selfish in their ways. 

The book tells the story of the dreamer, of those who wish for the perfect ending and will do anything to reach for the unreachable. One could deduce that this is a little depressing, as the ending does not culminate in the long told tale that if you chase your dreams you will reach them, instead it shows that if you channel all your efforts into those that are unworthy, it will only have disastrous effects. 

They were careless people, Tom and Daisyβ€”they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

This is a beautifully written tale of love and loneliness. The undulating prose of Fitzgerald makes the story come alive. I enjoyed every sentence and the fact that it is fairly short means that the quality leaves you satisfied and not overindulged. 

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5/5 Rating

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