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Towers of Books Come Tumbling Down!

I love all kinds of books! For all my friends, I am known on GR as Alicja. I don't stick with a genre, that's boring. Instead you'll get reviews from the most random assortment of fiction and non-fiction works. It's probably due to my interests being as eclectic as my book tastes.


I'm a girlfriend-loving bisexual, science fiction geek, PC gamer, historical fiction devourer, hiker, atheist, history buff, opera lover, vegetarian, kayaker, metal and hard rock concert goer, science nerd, politics debater, world traveler, M/M romance fan, and I have the ability to transform from an adult-like hard-working professional into a screaming fangirl in five seconds flat.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: During the early 1920s, Nick moves to New York seeking to make big money on the booming Stock Market. He moves into a little shack next to a mansion owned by a mysterious man named Gatsby. Despite prohibition, Gatsby throws lavish parties filled with dancing and alcohol where everyone attends. After receiving an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties, Nick gets pulled into the secret lives of those around him, finding out secrets that could ruin lives.

Review: I picked this novel up again (first time I read it for class in high school) so I could re-read it before seeing the 2013 movie in theatres.

It is hard to review a novel known as an American literary classic. People have written Masters’ thesis and Doctorate dissertations on it. Nothing I could possibly say would contribute anything new. The novel is extremely well written, the language is beautiful, and the story unfolds slowly as Fitzgerald uses his characters to provide social commentary on the superficiality and triviality of the lives of the rich in the 1920s.

The story is told from the point of view of Nick, Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin. He’s not one of the rich but an outsider looking into their world. Gatsby at first appears shallow, living a life of parties, drinking, and greedy attainment of vast amounts of money. Then we find out he did it all that for love. Yet, a part of me felt like he was more in love with the idea of Daisy and a life they could have had together rather than actually in love with Daisy herself.

With the exception of Nick and Gatsby, I actually hated all of the other characters, whatever their economic circumstances (they were all selfish and superficial). However, all characters, even Gatsby and Nick, seemed to have the emotional maturity of teenagers. It was still a good book but I just couldn’t shake the thought that every reaction to the events and each other reflected the maturity of someone at 15 but seemed ridiculous at 30. At the end I still felt awful for Gatsby and hated them all (except Nick) even more.

Overall, the prose is astonishing, the plot simple enough (although poignant), and the characters generally emotionally impaired. I felt like the descriptions transformed me right back into the 1920s. It was a good novel, but reading it twice in a lifetime is more than enough.

Movie Note: I saw the 2013 production of The Great Gatsby movie and it was amazing. The visual style was edgy, taking the 1920s and mixing it up with modern aesthetic. The story stayed mostly true to the book, aside from some slight additions and omissions, and carried over to marvelously to the big screen. Actually, I liked the movie better than the book (*gasp*, I know, I never expect the movie to be better than the book).