Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review | The Great Gatsby

Ugh, who doesn't love a good renown story of requited love gone wrong? Okay, like a good portion of those who have read this F. Scott Fitzgerald work, I did not read this by choice. Rather, I read it my junior year of high school, not going in with any expectations whatsoever. I wanted to remain open minded because I had not been impressed by the majority of books I had read prior to The Great Gatsby. Let me say openly and thankfully, this book revived my will to read.

This story centers around a man named Nick Carraway, cousin of Daisy Buchanan, who moves to Long Island during the Jazz Age. He quickly becomes overwhelmed with curiosity towards his wealthy neighbor, Jay Gatsby, who is known for throwing lavish parties and living out the American Dream. Throughout the novel, it is revealed that there is more to Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan than what is seen on the surface. After wading through all of the secrets, drama, and scandal that is The Great Gatsby; readers, along with Nick, discover Gatsby's never ending love for a woman stuck between a rock and a hard place. In the end, life is not what it seems, even when it appears to be the American Dream. 

Overall, I was very pleased with The Great Gatsby. It held promise in my eyes with a title like that. Flipping through the first few pages, I gained the sense of a beautifully disastrous story lurking about. I was partially right. This book comes off as glamorous and highly conscientious of the worlds elite, mainly those found in New York. An interesting topic. Plus the length was short, sweet, and simple. I liked it already.

I had a hunch that Nick Carraway would be a stand up guy but fairly normal in comparison to the other leading characters such as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. I personally loved Gatsby. His grandeur way of living, although most of it was for the affection of Daisy, caught my affection as well. Lets' be real. Ya felt for the guy. Well, maybe not the beginning of the novel since that's where he appears the most reclusive, constantly seeking the approval of a woman stuck in her snobby ways with her other half, Tom Buchanan. What a guy. But of all the shady characters, my favorite had to be Jordan Baker. I like the back story behind her character that Fitzgerald explained once upon a conversation with Maxwell Perkins.

As much as I hated certain characters, I'm talking to you Myrtle, I admired the variety of Fitzgerald's fictional East and West Egg inhabitants. They grew on me. Now, I didn't particularly have cons when it came to this book. Instead I found that I was bored with the obvious symbolism. Actually, it bothered me quite a bit. The Dr. Eckleburg sign serving as a makeshift god looking down upon everyone, the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, the yellow car that screamed CAUTION, and so on and so forth. Truthfully, I blame school for that. I can't help but look for symbols or motifs and it was weird not being challenged in finding any since they were laid out like a road map.

The Great Gatsby was a quick read, timeless, and enjoyable the majority of the time although it doesn't end on such a high note. I appreciated the over anticipation of the American Dream throughout the book and how it ended worked for me. It was neither happy nor unbearable. It is not my favorite book and I've read other books more recently that surpass it but it will remain a classic in my mind! I recommend that everyone read this book at least once, or perhaps another one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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