Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby_1925_jacketWhat it’s about:

After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbour and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits.

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Review:

I know my little review of this book is irrelevant in amongst a sea of reviews and to be honest I was considering not even writing one but reading this book was an achievement for me so I decided to write one anyway! As I’m used to modern and current writing, this narrative did throw me a bit at first. I found it a little hard to gather enough steam to not only get into the book but understand it and live it out in my own mind but having said that, once I got in to it, I whizzed through it without an awful lot of trouble at all. Once I passed the initial, ‘Oh my God I’m reading one of the most famous classics known to man’, I very much enjoyed the exceptional writing style and the storyline.

Having seen the film I already knew what this book was about and although you’re supposed to read the book before the film and all that, I’m actually really glad I did this the other way around. Being set in an era and place I’m completely unfamiliar with, If I hadn’t seen the film and experienced the costumes, music and settings, I’m not scared to admit that I would have been extremely lost. Jay Gatsby’s character really is one in a million. He’s dominating, enchanting and completely addictive to read about. I love the scene where Nick meets him for the first time and spends an entire paragraph describing his smile. He says, “he smiled understandingly -much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the world external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour.” The book delves deep into Gatsby’s mysterious persona and despite his flawless outward façade, he really isn’t as ‘great’ as he seems. Unlike the film where all my attention was on Gatsby (wonder why?) I was far more drawn to Nick in the book and I completely adored his innocent and naïve character and despite the story being told by him, this really does come across beautifully from the way he narrates the book.

It’s such a beautifully written book that manages to capture the essence of the story entirely. I particularly liked how Gatsby’s house and his infamous parties were described. It instantly transports you to this unfamiliar world and makes you want to be a part of the glamour and drama which is their lives. For a book like The Great Gatsby, it doesn’t have to be long, unnecessary and complicated for you to get out of it what the author intended, which is why my review is fairly short too. There’s no need for me to go on and on about how wonderful it is because it’s not going to do it justice. Those mere 140 pages had so much life and wisdom in them it’s easy to understand why this is one of the most well-known classics ever written.

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22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  1. Nice review. I also loved The Great Gatsby.
    On a historical note, the massive ash-field described (I think the optometrist sign is right outside of it) grew up to be Flushing Meadow-corona Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 Worlds Fairs.

  2. I’m reading this at the moment! I’ve never got round to reading it but after watching the recent movie I thought I really need to finally read it. I’ve got about forty pages left I think, but it’s been fantastic.

      • Good idea! I may well do that. I’ll need to watch the film again though, I saw it before I started this blog so have never reviewed it before.

        Did you like the film?

      • I watched the film for the second time the other day as well – right after I finished the book. I can’t get enough!

        I loved the film so much! Thought the casting was fantastic.

      • Yeah I love the film too. A lot of people didn’t but I really enjoyed it. Maybe BECAUSE I’d never read the book or seen the original Redford movie. Funnily enough, after about the first 15 minutes I thought I was going to hate it, but then it clicked.

      • I completely agree – I think I probably would have felt differently about the film if I’d have read the book first. Or then again maybe not because Leo’s in it and that’s all that matters…. 😀
        Like I said in the review, I would have been VERY lost reading this book without having seen the film first.

  3. Ohh I do love this book old sport. I’ve read it numerous times and studied it to the max because I wrote my dissertation on it *geek alert*. I’ve even got the framed Spineless Classics poster of it!

    I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed Gatsby! I haven’t watched the Leo film version yet but I do have the DVD. It’s Baz Luhrmann so if nothing else it should be bloody marvellous to look at.

  4. I absolutely love this book – was lucky enough to study it on my literature course at university and I found the references and hidden symbolism fascinating. I really recommend looking at the historical/social context and meanings behind the book – I think it adds a lot to the storyline and helps you see it as more of a metaphor than just the simplistic hopeless love story. So pleased you loved the book as well. xx

  5. Great review and I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I’m curious why you thought you would have been lost without seeing the movie. Also, now that you’ve read a modern classic do you think there is a difference between writing approaches then and in contemporary books? Or are they the same only different backgrounds?

    • Thank you 🙂

      And because the setting is unfamiliar to me and the way it’s written is obviously quite different from modern books I don’t think I would have known what he was on about tbh!

      I think there’s a different – you can definitely tell the difference between classics and contemporary for example if no one had ever read TGG before and was given that and a modern book to read I think they’d instantly be able to recognise the classic between them. In general I just think it was much more beautifully written than most books now – the descriptions in particular! x

  6. Pingback: Top 10 Books I’ve Read This Year (So Far) | Jenny in Neverland

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