F. Scott Fitzgerald’s: The Great Gatsby

book-binding-mustreadIt has been several weeks since I have interviewed a classic and with the movie coming out on DVD in two days I figured now would be a good time to take a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is set in the summer of 1922, in the fictional town of West Egg, located on Long Island. The novel primarily follows Nick Carraway, a WWI veteran and bond salesman; Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin; and Jay Gatsby, a mysterious young millionaire whose love for the married Daisy fuels much of the book’s content. Of course, Gatsby, being a young millionaire in a fictitious story set in the twenties, has a darker past than many know. This book is famous for providing a sharp critique to the luxurious lifestyles and moral ambiguity of the twenties, something that I certainly appreciated throughout the novel. Fitzgerald drives the point home on numerous occasions, oftentimes making it difficult to decide if you like the characters or not. The writing is superb, the characterization is multi-layered involving intense revelations about some of the characters’ past deeds (or, perhaps more accurately, misdeeds) as well as allowing some of the characters to realistically grow over time, and the setting practically comes alive, placing you in the heart of the Roaring Twenties. There is one exception to Fitzgerald’s successful characterization, one that actually takes the book down a few pegs, in my opinion: some of the more “well-off” characters make decisions that are completely and utterly illogical. There were numerous points in the book where I was wondering just what a character was thinking, despite the fact that, due to narration, I should have a pretty good idea of how they think already. Given Gatsby’s life, I honestly feel like the book could have had a much more compelling (even if done without action) central conflict that would have made Fitzgerald’s critique even more poignant. Is it good? Certainly. Is it a classic that simply MUST be read? I have to lean more towards “no.” The message contained within the novel is a warning that readers of every generation should hear, I must concede. That being said, I have seen a similar message in, in my opinion, much better books. If you haven’t read it yet, you probably will want to pick up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, seeing as how so many people seem to rave about it. Personally, I just don’t see what all the hype was about.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor