Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Paperback, 202 pages

Published 1992 by Abacus (First published 1925)

Shelves: 
1001-books, adult-fiction, better-than-expected, books-i-own, classics, historical, movies-or-tv, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, really-good
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach ...

Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby - young, handsome, fabulously rich - always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. 

Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.



After leaving school, I've always put off reading classics, most probably because of all of the essays I had to write about them in English classes. However, The Great Gatsby is a classic that I did want to read due to all of the good things I've heard about it, plus as it's relatively short, the idea of picking it up wasn't so daunting. Seeing as the the latest film adaptation of The Great Gatsby is now out in the cinemas and gaining a lot of attention, I thought it was time to finally get the book off the shelf and read it!

When I first picked the book up, I only had a (very) vague idea of what it was about - well, actually, I hardly knew anything about it at all. The copy I have doesn't have a very descriptive blurb, so I basically went into the book only knowing to expect lots of 1920's glitz and glamour. Whilst there is some, this is not all fancy parties and cocktails - it's multilayered. It is hard to describe the plot of this book because it does encompass so many different things, including some more complex themes which are apparent even if you're not deeply analysing the story. The Great Gatsby is a story of passion, of sadness, of envy, of loss, of greed, of wealth of all kinds, of the American dream, or the problems facing it. 

Though there is so much you could take from this novel, it never seems overwhelming. I certainly did get caught up in the 1920's, but in the best way - I found it very easy to get absorbed into the whole atmosphere of this book, it didn't take me all that long to start enjoying the story. It's very easy to follow yet it still has good complexity. The setting is very easy to imagine - from the extravagant parties at Gatsby's house, to the bleaker highways of everyday, post First World War America. 

I especially enjoyed meeting all of the characters in this novel - For me, it was Gatsby himself that was certainly the most interesting, though not the most likeable character throughout. Gatsby was probably one of the most intriguing characters that I have read about. There is a depth to him that seemed never ending, there always seemed to be something else to know, another layer to peel away to get to the true Gatsby. I loved reading about his relationship with Daisy, along with his relationship with every other character, seeing how he interacted with everyone really helped us to get a little insight into who Gatsby was, or at least how he wanted to portray himself. Like aforementioned, I did really like reading about the other characters too, and I especially had a fondness for our narrator, Nick, who was perhaps the only person I could connect with, or who I (and he) felt was honest in this book. Nick was a contrast to all of the other characters, he was... just Nick. He felt like he could be any one of us, at any time, which is something amazing to achieve.

Overall, I'm glad that I finally managed to pick this book up and give it a go. I would urge anyone to pick this up - young adults, adults, those who love classics, those who haven't had much experience with them - this is a book which has, and hopefully will continue to appeal to a wide audience. I have tried to be quite vague with my review, as I think that is a positive way to go into this book - don't expect anything, just pick it up, devour and enjoy.

5 comments:

  1. I read this book in high school for an English class, but I don't really remember it too well. Seeing as the movie is coming out soon, I thought about re-reading it soon! I hope I'll appreciate the story a little more now that I'm older and not forced to read it. Glad to see you enjoyed it! (:

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've heard lots of good things about this book! I think I should make some time for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never read the book, haven't even seen a copy up close. It's not like a thing here in my country. :( I guess that I could find a copy if I tried to but... dunno.

    Anyway, I', glad you enjoyed it :D

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