The Great Gatsby… The Great American Novel…
I’m not going to give you an explanation of the plot, because, you know, you should totally read it yourself (or look it up on Wikipedia, or wait until the movie is released, you lazy bastards). But I am going to say that I liked it and why I liked it.
First of all, it takes place in the Roaring Twenties in and around New York city. As a Belgian girl, New York sounds exotic and wild. As do the Roaring Twenties!
Second of all, it deals with RICH people and their SECRETS (old money versus new money and mysterious pasts, yay).
Third of all, the narrator, Nick Carraway, is a nice and humble person (although he isn’t perfect either), who guides you through the story. He knows Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and Myrtle – the other main characters – personally and thus often has inside information. The other characters trust him, which helps the reader to trust him as well.
Jay Gatsby, the protagonist, throws a hell of party which means that we get descriptions of the way the guests are dressed and a lot of scandalous gossip.
I thought one of its strengths AS WELL AS weaknesses was that it only counted 192 pages. Yes, its short, so it doesn’t get boring, but on the other hand, I would have wanted to know even more about the lives of these characters (does this make me greedy?). That Fitzgerald managed to put this intriguing story in so little words while maintaining a wonderful literate style is an accomplishment not many writers could mimic and it is only my curiosity that turns its brevity into a minus point. The shallowness of the characters was reflected in the shortness of their literary existence, so maybe it was also vain hope of mine that if the story would be a little longer, Daisy and Gatsby would turn into “real” people, fulfilling my personal hope for their love to be real (yes yes, I’m a hopeless romantic).
If the buzzwords: obsession, death, fashion, gossip, the American Dream, love, and scandal appeal to you, you should definitely read this book. If, on the other hand, you loathe shallow people living shallow – yet scandalous and tragic – lives, you should probably avoid it. I like reading about the rich and famous, and their pathetic problems so for me this was a winner (although I still yearn for happy endings, even for shallow people). The ambiguity of Nick’s character is something I’m still pondering on. He is such a nice and moralistic person, but on the other hand he wants to be part of the in crowd, gets dragged into its world, and is clumsy when it comes to love. Nonetheless, I liked him, and I liked his story.
I can’t wait for the movie to be released! It will star Carey Mulligan as Daisy, which is a perfect match I think! (although I feel more love for Carey than for Daisy). I also believe Leonardo is the perfect Gatsby (he will be smirking like crazy, I can feel it).
Now grab your copy of The Great Gatsby and start reading already. If you haven’t purchased one, I bought a great version by Penguin with cover art from Anders Nilsen which I recommend. Looks fab, reads at the speed of an express train, and absorbs you into the world of glamour and gossip in the America of the twenties.